We routinely remove concrete hearths and infill with reclaimed wood. This is most prevalent in your average Victorian terrace where the rooms have been knocked through. There is no longer the need for two fireplaces and householder often try to maximise the space available. In most circumstances, we can achieve a good result by extending the existing joists and fitting reclaimed wood over the top.
If the stairs are in reasonably good condition, these can readily be sanded. On occasions, it is then a good feature to put a carpet runner down the middle, which gives a pleasing look. On occasions we have just sanded & treated the treads. The risers are then painted white, again providing a good look.
We use a solvent filler if gaps are being filled. We use this product primarily because it is the toughest on the market and the type most likely to remain in the gaps. There are water-based alternatives, although these are not as good. For the finishes we use water-based lacquers which are the industry standard. Hardeners can be added to these products for heavy traffick areas. Oil finishes are based on vegetable oils and waxes, and are consequently fairly odourless.
It is considerably easier to make a floor go darker than lighter. We use a selection of oil-based stains to achieve this – from Medium Oak to Jacobean Oak and Walnut. We find that if the stain is too light many floors will go orange, which in some people’s minds is unsightly. To achieve a lighter finish, we normally lime wash the floor. This is a mixture of water and paint applied, with three coats of lacquer on top.
There are a couple of options with Gap Filling.
For the smaller gaps, we use a mixture of the fine dust & a solvent based resin. This is mixed into a paste & trowelled into the gaps. This is more suitable for Parquet Floors & pine boards with narrow gaps. Unfortunately over time, some of this filler works its way out & may need replenishing with a coloured mastic.
With floor boards, we use Pine slivers, these are glued into the gaps, then sanded down to provide a smooth, level surface ready for coating.
Unfortunately, wood being Hygroscopic, floorboards expand & contract with varying levels of humidity. Gaps can still open & close throughout the seasons.
We recommend putting felt pads on chairs or furniture if they are likely to damage the floor. A good exterior door mat is always helpful, as is an internal one. Stiletto heels will readily mark any floor so these are to be avoided, if possible. It is also worth bearing in mind that floors will change colour if exposed to a large amount of UV light. Day- to-day cleaning and the odd maintenance product will prolong the good looks of your floor.
With our dust-free sanders there is very little dust to contend with (it is actually possible to operate them without the use of a dust mask). Unfortunately, cheap self-hire sanders with poor dust extraction have given sanding a bad name. Our modern machines, however, capture up to 98% of dust particles. The only exception to this is when sanding stairs, where it is a lot harder to contain the dust.
Generally speaking in order to complete the floor sanding process in a timely manner, it is preferable that the rooms are completely empty. Once we commence coating the floor, this allows for one complete treatment, without leaving any marks in the floor.
It is possible to floor sand a room with furniture but does take considerably longer.
Generally, provided the floors are well maintained, they should not need redoing for over 10 years. If you do however, wear outdoor shoes inside, have pets or young children, the chances are they might not last as long. If you have a gravel drive, grit can be picked up from shoes and brought inside; equally, dragging furniture across a floor will rapidly cause damage.