Floor Protection Hardwood floors. It costs $2 to $3 per square foot to sand and refinish floors, so protecting them during construction is a wise investment. My crew and I start by thoroughly vacuuming floors to remove existing grit, then we lay down a layer of 6-mil polyethylene plastic, overlapping the edges 6 in. and taping the seams continuously with duct tape. After that, we tape the plastic to the baseboards or walls. Masking tape will do, but "blue tape," designed to be removed without taking up paint or leaving adhesive residue, is a better choice (you'll find it where paint is sold). On top of this layer of plastic, we place a single layer of 1/2-in. foam-board insulation, which costs around $7 for a 4 X 8-ft. panel. Protective panel materials, like 3/8-in. plywood or 1/2-in. paper-based pressboard (Homosote), also work well. To seal the panels, we cover them with another layer of 6-mil poly, overlapping and taping the seams and edges. We also place crosshatches of masking tape in traffic lanes to reduce slippage. Carpeting. It's tempting to use just a layer of kraft paper, but this won't protect against spills. Plus, the leg of a stepladder can easily tear kraft paper. So, instead, we put down two layers of 6-mil poly, treating the seams and edges as described above. We always cover these with a layer of kraft paper for added strength, paying careful attention to the seams and edges. We also cut five 4 X 4-ft. poly patches and set them aside. If a ladder or sharp tool punctures the protective layers, these are handy to tape down as patches. For the path to the work area from the garage or door that leads outdoors, we usually lay down runners. Rubber-backed 4 X 20-ft. runners are ideal. Rolls of heavy-duty, adhesive-backed protective plastic also work well (100 sq. ft. costs $20), but since the material can be slippery on stairs we also use the tape crosshatches here.
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