I live in a fairly large (not vast) 3 bedroom Victorian flat with (?)pine tongue & groove floorboards. The boards in the hall are pretty knackered though I might be able to nick some from the kitchen (which will be tiled / covered). My boyfriend thinks we can sand and seal them ourselves fairly easily.... I'm not so sure - I've no wish to take on months of back-breaking work (we both work full-time, so it would take ages) but then again, I don't want to pay someone lots of money to do something if I'd be surprised at how easy it would be to do it ourselves.
As a regular floor sander and sealer I would have to say the quality of the job will depends upon how good you are at DIY and the quality of the tools you have at hand
Firstly, light weight hire sanders don't help, my Bona Belt sander is about twice the weight and power of those machines.
Secondly, I have learnt the hard way how mistakes are made, and now don't make them.
Finally I use a high quality water based floor lacquer which levels and de-foams better than anything via a DIY store.
To sum up, a job that I or many other floor sanders & sealers from around the country would make look fairly easy, is in reality not quite that easy.
Thanks for this. A man came about a quote yesterday - I think I'm reaching the conclusion that the state of the boards means that it would be very difficult to do myself. His initial quote was about Â£2K but he'll need to put the numbers together properly, so it may be more than this. However, he said he doesn't recommend filling the gaps between the boards as the filler tends to fall out in the time (I live in a tenament flat by quite a busy road, and he said that vibrations from the traffic and the flats above & below wouldn't help). Does this sound right to you? Filled boards look lovely - but if he's right, then I wouldn't want them filled, as they'd end up looking rubbish later.
i am a very competent diyer and have sanded a few floors using hire equipment. whilst i have been largely pleased with the results none has turned out perfectly. so if you haven't done it before then get someone in. its very easy to make it look awful and not so easy to make it look good.
as tall tone says, you learn from your mistakes the hard way with this type of diy project.
with regard to filling, depending on the size of the gaps, i used fillets in my hallway and it looks bloody nice. i simply bought a new floorboard of the same thickness (three quarter inch usually) then cut them down their length at varying widths and with a slight taper. a bit of pva glue, knock them in with a mallet and because they taper they wedge in nice and tight. then just sand flush with the rest of the floor. there is a bit of colour variation but the effect is superb.
it helps immensely if you have your own table saw for this. but if you haven't then buy some floorboards from your local timber merchant and if they are nice they might cut various widths of tapering fillets for you. its worth the effort and really the only way to fill gaps. i agree with your chap that using chemical fillers doesnt work on floors - it just breaks up and falls out. wooded fillets are the only way to go.
Thank you very, very, very much for this... I have concluded, I think, that the floorboards are too knackered to be able to do the repairs myself... But the info on filling is immensely helpful - and I wonder whether I might be able to get the man just to quote for the repairs. Thank you so much for your help