Here at Avi’s Hardwood Floors we take things seriously when it comes to dust containment while refinishing your wood floors. Anybody can tell at least one story about one bad sanding job that covered the entire home with dust. Although dust containment systems and sanders with built in vacuums are more common these days, many contractors still use old and dated machines. Throughout the years we have seen many jobs that went south because of dust issues; from dust on entire walls to debris in the finish coat all the way to dust in bedrooms that were not taped off.
How do we create wood dust and why does it get everywhere?
We use several kinds of sanding machines:
- Belt sanders – the abrasive is a belt which spins around a drum in one direction
- Single disc sanders – the abrasive is round and spins in one direction
- Multi disc sanders – three discs which spin in multiple directions
- Orbital sanders – single disc random orbit type
The one thing that is common to all these machines is this: they all create very fine dust quickly. Unless there is a vacuum there to contain the dust, it will get in the air immediately. The motor parts and fans inside the sanders help blow the dust off the floor and up into the air. Once in the air, the dust will travel several feet and often far enough into other rooms. It takes several hours for fine wood dust to settle on flat surfaces like shelves and floor coverings.
A big part of our business is fixing other people’s sanding jobs. We have seen dust on walls, in bedrooms all over the home owners stereo and tv. We have seen dust completely covering a furnace air return and piles of it inside floor heat registers. Dust must be contained for a good sanding job.
Why Should You Be Concerned about Wood Dust?
- Wood dust is not something our bodies can process. Wood dust is one of the more common causes of health problems especially lung related conditions.
- Wood dust can irritate our bodies in many ways, for example breathing exotic wood dust can cause nose bleeds which we have seen happen on a job site. Dust rubbing on your body can cause skin rashes and other health conditions.
- Wood dust is very hard to clean. We have heard stories about people cleaning their homes months after a sanding job was completed because dust was still settling in parts of the home. Wood dust is fine and light so once airborne it can travel all around your home.
- A job site that is dirty will only yield a dirty floor finish. How can anyone provide a clean coat of finish when the air is full of dust? One of the most common finish complaints by home owners is debris in the final coat of finish on their wood floors.
How We Contain Wood Dust
At Avi’s Hardwood Floors we use several ways to control the cleanliness of your home while we sand and finish your wood floors.
We start with a clean site. Normally we would vacuum the floors and spend time taping off areas of the home where we don’t work. If we work in kitchen area we tape off all cabinets and if you have a big tv and wall mount speakers we will tape them off as well.
We use state of the art sanding machines – these machines are expensive industrial type sanders that are specifically designed for wood sanding. These sanders are the only ones in the world tested for wood dust emissions and are the most efficient in dust containment. Sounds like magic, right? Not really. We have seen other contractors claim to be dust free when in fact all they have is an old sander with a cheap utility vacuum attached to it. A vacuum sucks in the air and blows out air. If the vacuum is not designed to capture and contain the fine particles of dust then that dust will end up back in the air.
Some of our sanders have built in dust containment systems. All we have to do is empty the bags outside when they are full. Some of our other sanders are part of a dust free sanding system so all the vacuums are interchangeable and all the filters are HEPA filters. HEPA is the most efficient filter (and most expensive) in collecting fine dust.
Of course, there is always a few dust particles that get away and end up on the baseboards or in the corners. The last step of refinishing your floors is vacuuming every inch of the floors, window cells and other areas. We thoroughly check the site for any dust and wipe off any surfaces like counter tops.
The results yield a clean home with a newly refinished floor and a clean top coat of finish with no debris or dust stuck in it. At Avi’s Hardwood Floors we have done hundreds of jobs for families that had members of the family with allergies or other health conditions. We even did a few jobs for some with severe dust allergies. Those home owners had such strong reactions to dust they had specialty air cleaning systems installed in their home. Hiring us was the sure thing to do and we never disappointed anyone with our promise for a clean sanding job.
One client insisted we taped off their entire living room before we started work. We did. He came to check up on us a few hours into the refinishing process and said: “wow, there really isn’t any dust!” we just smiled and kept on sanding.