You recently bought an older home, ripped up the carpeting, and found a reasonably decent wooden floor underneath. Chances are good that the floor will still need to be refinished, stained, and sealed. That's a fairly straightforward though time consuming process that starts with a power sander. But the resurfacing project becomes a bit more difficult if previous owners have used a number of screws or staples in the floor over the years.
Here are a few tips for how you can proceed with a hardwood floor refinishing project that throws some screws or staples into the way.
Choose What to Remove
You will want to remove any staples for a few reasons. First, the holes left behind by the staples are relatively small so removal won't leave any gaps that need filling. The sander can also get caught on staples easily and either damage the sander or pose a danger for the person working the sander.
Take out any tiny screws that won't leave substantial holes. But you might want to consider leaving larger screws in place. The large hole that's left behind can be patched but the patch will be noticeable. Large nails screws, especially if they're the older kind, can add a rustic touch to the refinishing project and help provide an authentic aged look.
If you are leaving the screws in the floor, use a piece of brightly colored tape to cover each screw in the floor. You don't want to accidentally go over the screws when you go to sand.
Patch Carefully but Not Perfectly
There are hardwood patch kits available at most hardware stores. But, as mentioned, the patch isn't going to be perfect looking. If you don't mind the imperfection and want to go this route, follow the package directions carefully to perform your patching.
An alternative is to use different colors of cork sized to plug the holes. You can stain over the cork once the floor is sanded and while it won't match the original floor, the mismatch will be so obvious that it will look intentional.
Make sure any patching you do is flat with the rest of the floor before you apply your sealant coat. You don't want to trip over a raised cork in the middle of the floor.
Seal Patches Especially Well
Follow the directions on your topcoat sealer when it comes time to finalize your floor refinishing project. But use an especially generous hand when going over your patches.
The cork or patching material isn't as naturally strong as the hardwood floor itself. So you want to provide extra protection from foot traffic, pet claws, and cleaning machinery so that you don't have a new hole to patch next year.
For professional results, contact a hardwood floor refinishing company like Alpine Wood Flooring Inc to do the job for you.