DIY – How to Refinish Hardwood Flooring

Posted by hoi January 21, 2013 0 Comment 3807 views

Hardwood floors are both beautiful and durable, and a floor that’s been properly maintained will last a long time. Unfortunately, hardwood floors do sometimes take a beating from regular use. Scratches, scuff marks, dents and rough patches are all signs of a floor that needs to be refinished. Whether your own floor has suffered from wear and tear or you’ve moved into a new home whose floors need a little TLC, it’s very simple to refinish a hardwood floor. Refinishing will smooth out the scratches and dents on the wood’s surface and help keep the floor looking like new.

Materials Needed:

– Buffer or sanding machine to sand down the surface of the floor (the picture above contains a sander like the one you will need)
– 180-grit sandpaper for hand-sanding the corners
– Vacuum to suck up dust
– Polyurethane finish
– Brush and roller to apply the finish


1.) The first step is to clean the floor thoroughly. You’ll want to be sure to remove any dirt or stains. This will also provide you with ample opportunity to examine the floor for deep blemishes or other flaws that a surface buffing would not address. After sweeping the floor, spray it with a mixture of one part vinegar to 10 parts water, then mop it up with a terrycloth mop.

2.) Once the floor is clean, you will begin sanding. You’ll need to hand-sand the corners of the room as well as any nooks or crannies that the buffer won’t fit into. Use a 180-grit sandpaper and sand with the grain until the floor appears dull and white dust appears. Be sure to wear a mask while sanding or using the buffer to avoid inhaling particles.

3.) After the edges of the room are sanded by hand, you can complete the job with a buffer. These can be rented from a home repair store. You’ll want to use the maroon-colored buffing pad. Move the buffer from side to side across the floor, going with the direction of the grain, and overlapping each sideways movement before moving on to the next area.

4.) As you buff the floor, the finish will appear as a fine white powder on the floor. This makes it easy to see where you’ve already used the buffer and which areas need to be completed. Stop every five to 10 minutes to vacuum dust off of the buffer pad for maximum efficiency. See the picture above of the sanding machine, this is the contrast look that a completely sanded floor will give you.

5.) After the room has been completely buffed, allow the dust to settle for 10 to 15 minutes. Once you return, fit a felt-bottomed attachment to your vacuum and vacuum up the dust on the floor. Move first in the direction of the wood slats, then across them to remove any dust that settled in the cracks. After that, you can run a microfiber cloth over the floor, moving with the grain, to help roughen the surface and encourage the finish to adhere properly.

6.) Once you’ve prepared the floor, it’s time to apply the finish. You will want to wear a respirator to ensure proper ventilation. Begin by applying four inches of varnish to the floor along the wall on the edge of the room furthest from the door. After completing a section, pour out additional varnish and apply it with a roller to that area. This will prevent the varnish from drying at the edge and creating an obvious seam.

7.) Work across the room, first applying varnish to the corners by hand, then to the rest of the floor with the roller. You will want to keep a wet edge at all times. Do not apply more varnish than you can roll out in 10 minutes. When you’ve finished, you should be at the door. Exit the room and allow it to dry for three hours.

8.) Once the room has air-dried for three hours, repeat steps six and seven to apply a second coat. Again, be careful to maintain a wet edge at all times to allow the varnish to blend seamlessly. Wait for approximately one week before replacing furniture in the room.

For best results, you will want to refinish your hardwood floor every two years. You may need to do it more often in rooms with a lot of traffic or floors that sustain a lot of wear. If your floor has any deep gouges that go into the surface of the wood itself, you may wish to seek professional assistance before attempting to refinish it yourself. Otherwise, refinishing your own hardwood floor is a simple task that will keep your floor looking like new.


Write Your Comment