DIY Floor Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Your floors are an investment. 

Whether at your small business or in your home, your floors are the recipients of a great deal of wear and tear. After time, settling floors can be uneven, dull, or worn out and in need of replacement. That’s where DIY floor maintenance comes in.

If you’re looking to replace your existing flooring with hardwood it makes sense to swap out old, outdated, or worn-out flooring for a couple of reasons. First, from a financial standpoint, hardwood floors can add up to 2.5% to a home’s value, and installing these new floors can have a 70% to 80% return on investment Second, floor maintenance is essential to maintaining a safe, eye-catching space, whether you’re installing new hardwood floors, laying new tile, removing scuffs and scrapes, or just leveling out your existing floor. 

Here’s what you should know about the tools that will ensure your DIY floor-maintenance project goes off without a hitch.

Using a Scarifier to Level Your Floors

Your floor should be like James Bond: smooth at all times.

Scarifiers can be used to cut or scar the surface of your floor. Sometimes also called surface planers or milling machines, scarifiers cut into your floor’s surface with cutting tools that rotate around a drum. 

Because scarifiers’ cutting wheels rotate at high speeds, they can remove concrete and other flooring materials faster and more aggressively than grinders, chipping away at it and leaving a rough surface profile. Some scarifiers can remove a quarter of an inch of material in just one pass. 

You can use a scarifier for all kinds of floor maintenance purposes, including:

  • Removing coatings like curing compounds, grease, epoxy materials, and rubber
  • Milling floors
  • Preparing concrete floors for a strong bond with a new floor covering like tiles
  • Grooving paths to add grip and make them more slip-resistant
  • Removing trip hazards like a lip on a footpath or a high spot caused by a crack in your floor
  • Leveling concrete joints that are uneven
  • Smoothing rough spots

Plane scarifiers are perfect for those high spots and uneven areas that need to be brought in line with the rest of your floor’s surface. 

Scarifiers are even used in the maritime industry when ships come into port and need their decks descaled or rust removed from their hulls and grooves. While you likely aren’t looking to descale a shipping freighter (although, maybe you are; we don’t know what you get up to), you can rest easy knowing that renting a scarifier means getting access to a heavy-duty piece of equipment that can make the process of maintaining your floors much simpler.

Smoothing Your Floors with a Floor Grinder

When your floors need to be smoothed and polished, a floor grinder is the right first step.

Floor grinders can be used to remove thin layers from your floor’s surface before polishing. Grinders can also remove blemishes and other minor stains. It’s a great tool for leveling out slightly uneven surfaces, as well as cleaning and polishing. 

When your floors need attention, you can use the horizontal, rotating discs of a floor grinder to smooth rough surfaces and jagged edges. With a diamond bit disc, you can even ensure your floors reach a strong level of shine. Bling-bling!

Floor grinders are ideal for use on concrete floors to even and smooth the existing surface and to remove thin sets, sealers, paints, epoxies, and other applied treatments. When renting a floor grinder, it’s a good idea to take advantage of any available vacuum attachments, as using a floor grinder can get fairly dusty.

Comparing Floor Grinders and Scarifiers

How does a floor grinder differ from a scarifier? Floor grinders should be used to gradually smooth a thin level of the floor’s surface, achieving a more even finish. On the other hand, scarifiers are used to rough up your floors, remove a thicker layer of the floor’s surface — to level out an uneven floor, for example — and even prepare your current floor to install a new floor atop the existing one. 

Essentially, a floor grinder can help spruce up your current floor, while a scarifier is there to level and prepare your floor for the next steps in your floor maintenance plans. If your goal is to even out your existing floor instead of preparing to install a new one, it might be wise to begin with a scarifier and then finish up with a floor grinder for a smoother finish.

Making Use of a Self-Propelled Tile Stripper

Don’t work harder when you can work smarter.

When you’re planning to remove tile to install a new floor, a self-propelled tile stripper can make quick work of an otherwise taxing project. Tile strippers are a necessity when you are refinishing your floors and plan on replacing the current tile to switch to carpet or add hardwood. 

As long as you have no plans to keep the tile, a tile stripper is an efficient way to get underneath the existing tile, break it apart, and lift it from your floor substrate. Handheld tile strippers are available for smaller jobs like removing tile from a countertop, but for larger jobs involving a greater surface area, the best option is to use a self-propelled tile stripper that is designed to handle more square footage faster and easier.

Having the right tools to properly manage your work is the key to handling DIY projects. A self-propelled tile stripper is the right tool to handle flooring removal. This tool uses multi-access vibration to remove all kinds of flooring, including:

  • Hardwood
  • Vinyl
  • Tile
  • Mortared ceramic tile

Because it’s self-propelled, a tile stripper arms you for a tough fight against the most stubborn of flooring materials; it can turn a challenging, laborious demolition project that could take hours into a quick, simple task.

Regardless of your plans for your existing floors, Northside Tool Rental has the professional-grade equipment you need to tackle your flooring issues yourself, without hours of back-breaking work.

At Northside Tool Rental, our mission is to help those in the Atlanta area with their professional and residential projects. You shouldn’t have to pour money into expensive equipment or suffer without the tools you need for your flooring maintenance projects; we’ve got tools for every project at a price that makes sense for your budget. Whatever your next DIY plans have in store, we can make the process simpler. Check out our extensive list of equipment here!