Refinish Hardwood Floors

If your wooden floors have been covered by your carpet for quite some time or it’s been a long time since you’ve had those wood floors installed, they probably don’t look so good anymore. Waxing or buffing can make your floors shine, but if you really want your floors to look great, refinishing is needed. Refinishing can be messy but it’s a rewarding job.

To refinish floors, you need the following: a drum, floor or orbital sander, floor edger, buffer, putty knife and scraper, shop vacuum, lamb’s wool and a natural bristle brush or foam applicators, and tack cloths. Always use safety goggles, ear protection and a dust mask because sanding floors can be noisy and dusty.

Start by taking out furniture and rugs from the room. Use a pair of pliers to easily remove leftover carpet staples or tacks. Then hammer away exposed nails that can break the sanding machine. To contain dust and keep it from spreading elsewhere, hang plastic over the doorways and place rags or towels under doors. Sweep the floor clean afterwards. A drum sander can be frightening at first since it is big and noisy. It works quickly but if you’re not careful it can put an ugly groove in the floor that’s difficult to remove. If you’re not comfortable with one, switch to a floor sander. The newer orbital sanders are easier to use.

Use heavy grit sandpaper (30 grit) that will fit the machine. Then, sand in the direction of the wood grain using straight, even strokes. Never sand across the grain. When you’re finished, replace the heavy-grit sandpaper with a lighter grain sandpaper (60 grit) to eliminate sand scratches and lines in the floor. Repeat these steps with 80 grit and then 100 grit sandpaper for smooth, even floors. Clean the floors between sanding using a vacuum.

Apply polyurethane with a brush or roller. Use smooth, even strokes. Wait for the floor to dry in about 3 hours before giving it a second coat. Allow the final coat to dry overnight and return furniture and rugs in three days.

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