The 1970s brought with it the carpet craze and caused many people to run out and replace their old and worn hardwood floors by covering them up. At this time, laminate and similar flooring products were also very popular, once again leaving the dingy and worn hardwood floors to be covered up by a hot new style of flooring.
As such, many people might not realize it but many of the homes that were built before 1970 already have original hardwood floors hiding under the carpets. Tearing up carpets can reveal worn and tired floors, but they can be made brand new again by stripping hardwood floors and refinishing them.
The value of homes with REAL hardwood floors is very high. Many people enjoy the laminate products and easy-install hardwood flooring products that are available today, but they will never replace the look and feel of true hardwood floors that add that warmth and classic look to any home.
Related – Sanding Hardwood Floors
Whether you’re renovating your own home or simply looking for a way to add value to an investment, stripping the floors and refinishing them can be much more lucrative and aesthetically appealing than just slapping down carpet or other types of flooring over top.
As hardwood floors wear off with the passing of the age, you’ll notice they lose their shine, texture and the color intensity of their finishing coating. Fortunately, getting the old looks back to your hardwood floor can be done without having to replace the actual hardwood.
Simply stripping hardwood floors of their old coating and replacing it with a new one can do the trick and it’s one of the most common techniques used by today’s do it yourself installers.
It’s inevitable that, at some point, you will want to compare stripping vs sanding hardwood floors. Admittedly, sanding is a more complete process, it has beneficial effects that last longer and it’s definitely a better quality choice than stripping.
However, you will also have to consider the downsides: sanding is a lot more time consuming than stripping and it causes more mess in your house, which makes it more of a nuisance than anything else for many people.
In addition, sanding requires a lot of tools that can be hard to get or they could cost more than you would want to spend simply to give your hardwood floor a new shine.
Stripping, on the other hand, is quite cheap in comparison, you can finish stripping your hardwood floors in a matter of days and the cleanup process won’t be as tough either.
Related – Buffing Hardwood Floors
Types of stripping
There are two main types of stripping that you can do: chemical stripping and manual stripping. Using a sanding machine, manual stripping allows you to sand down the floors and get all of the old finishes off.
You will need to hand sand or use a small power sander to reach all of the nooks and crannies that the larger machine can’t reach, but it’s still a quick and harmless process. Just make sure that you sand evenly around the room so that you don’t get dips and gouges in your finished result.
If you choose to go with chemically stripping hardwood floors, you’ll need to ensure that you have proper ventilation and a good knowledge of how to use the chemicals to reduce dangers and risks to yourself.
Seeing as how these chemicals can eat years of finish off of a floor, it’s no surprise that they can do damage to your skin and body if you get them on you or breathe in the fumes excessively. No matter which method you choose to use, you need to be very careful and methodical about your approach, so that you get the best results and don’t cause any damage to the floors or yourself in the process.
Stuff You’ll Need for Stripping Hardwood Floors
- A thick, synthetic stripping pad
- A wide scraper
- Stripping solution
- A wide putty knife
- Clean absorbent rags
- A large wide paint brush
Related – Polishing Hardwood Floors
How to Strip Hardwood Floors
If this is the first time you’re stripping a hardwood floor, it’s best if you start out by testing on a smaller area, somewhere in a corner. Here’s how you should do it:
- Pour the stripping solution on the floor area and smudge it across it evenly with the brush.
- Wait for around 30 minutes (this is an approximate time that depends on the type of coating your floor has and on the type of stripping solution you use).
- Start scraping the finish coating – if you waited long enough, it should peel off with ease.
- Use a wet rag to scrub off any excess solution that you couldn’t get off.
- Wipe dry the area that you just stripped, so that the water doesn’t get sucked in the wood, causing it to expand.
Video Credit – This Old House