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A Guide To Transforming Old Wooden Flooring

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Tatty old wooden floorboards can be transformed into a thing of beauty by carrying out a simple project over a couple of days.  You'll need a few basic building materials and tools that you can obtain from a good DIY store or local supplier, together with some basic DIY experience.

Here's how to transform your old, wooden floor.

What you'll need

  • power saw
  • drill and wood screws
  • nail punch
  • tape
  • hammer
  • wood filler and filler knife
  • floor sander and edge sander (available from tool hire shops)
  • chisel
  • white spirit
  • face mask
  • finishing oil

How to do it

  1. Start with a completely empty room, and open all the windows to keep the area well-ventilated.  Close internal doors and seal them with tape to keep dust from pervading the whole house while you work.  
  2. Prise-up any damaged boards by inserting a wide-bladed chisel between them.  Replace any broken boards as necessary.  Screw down any loose boards into the battens beneath.  Fill-in any knots or areas of minor damage with wood filler.  
  3. Check the floor carefully for any raised nails.  Use a nail punch to re-set any nails that sit proud so that they are flush with the flooring again.  
  4. Now you can move on to sand the floor.  Before you start, put on your face mask so that you don't inhale the fine dust that this process generates.  Begin sanding with the coarse grade sanding sheets to get rid of any rough patches and smooth out your repairs. Move the sander back and forth across the floor in a diagonal pattern to make sure that you cover the whole surface evenly.  Be sure to overlap each pass so that ruts don't form in the floorboards.  
  5. Change the sanding sheets to fine grade ones and repeat the process so that you end up with a nice, smooth floor.  
  6. Use the edge sander to work around the perimeter of the room, using the sandpaper grades as you did for the main area.  
  7. When you've finished sanding, you'll need to vacuum the whole room to get rid of any dust.  Finally, use white spirit on an old cloth to wipe over the floor.  This will lift off any remaining fine dust and will also shift any grease and dirt.  
  8. Now you can finish off the job by applying a suitable finishing product to the floor.  Use a roller to achieve an even coverage, allowing the first coat to soak into the floor, and then applying a second coat.  Allow the product to soak in overnight.

Your wooden floorboards are now ready to be painted or varnished.