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Floor Finishing, Refinishing, and Sanding

Sanding provides a method for smoothing an installed floor, compensating for unevenness of the subfloor. Additionally, sanding is used to renew the appearance of older floors.Sanding using successively finer grades of sandpaper is required to ensure even stain penetration when stains are used, as well as to eliminate visible scratches from coarser sandpaper grades used initially. Prior to modern polyurethanes, oils and waxes were used in addition to stains to provide finishes. Beeswax and linseed oil, for example, are both natural crosslinking polymers are hardened over time. Modern polyurethanes, and polyester resins, used occasionally, are superior in toughness and durability.

"I wanted to thank you for the job your company performed at the Keystone Center last weekend. The hardwood floors at the Center were extremely dirty, damaged and in a state of ugliness! Your service brought back the floors to their original condition. The hardwood floors are original and were first installed over 80 years ago. The floors look brand new. Your crew did a great job of working around our schedule and making certain that there was no disruption with our operation and patient service." – Kevin Williams, General Manager KeyStone Center, Universal Health Services, Inc. 
 
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Applying stains can be very easy or very difficult depending on the type of substrate, type of stain, and the ambient conditions. Fresh, "green" lumber accepts stain poorly, while aged wood absorbs stains relatively well. Porosity of wood can vary greatly, even within the same piece of wood. End grain and bias-cut grain are far more absorbent, thus will accept more pigment and will darken considerably in those areas. The hard ring may absorb differently from the soft ring. The characteristic medullary rays in oak will absorb much less and remain mostly blonde. Woods that have been heavily subjected to paint strippers or washed down with detergents or solvents will have an increased open grain and accept substantially more stain than normal. Woods from different species of trees can have huge variations in how well they take stain. Stains that are fast drying will be difficult to apply in hot weather or in direct sunlight. Stains that are slow-drying will be difficult to work with in damp and cold conditions due to a greatly lengthened evaporation and curing period. New lumber, such as pine, can have waxlike sealants put on at the mill that will prevent proper staining; stripping or sanding the surface may be required. White stains composed of metal oxides, namely titanium dioxide and zinc oxide do not penetrate well and remain on the surface. In such cases, wear easily reveals unstained wood. They are also fairly opaque.

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