How do I properly refinish hardwood floors?

Refinishing hardwood floors is by no means an easy task. It is true that this home improvement job is one of the most common, but it is also the one which needs the most time, research, and knowledge, so much so that you would have to be very ambitious or very thrifty to attempt this on your own. You would have to go through several weeks to perform the different steps required: evaluate, prepare, sand, and seal. You would also have to be very meticulous in your work – a small mistake can become a big problem in the long run.

While it is possible to do this by your self, most people recommend getting help in some stages. First, you would have to assess if your planks are up to the job. This includes looking for stains, gouges, its thickness, and the type of seal used before. Make sure there are few holes or scratches, a uniform amount of seal across all boards, and each one must be at least 2 centimeters thick.

The next stage requires a good eye and meticulous work. You would have to thoroughly clean the surfaces of all your boards, fill up each and every scrape or hole, and, for best results, pull up thresholds and even baseboards. It is best if you can give all the rooms the same treatment so that the newly re-furnished room won’t be out of place.

The next step is perhaps the most demanding. You would have to rent a drum sander, a heavy, unfamiliar tool that is similar to a lawnmower. It is very loud and heavy, and you would have to push it over every floor surface of the room three times so that you can reveal a fresh layer of wood underneath.

Finally, you would have to stain and seal the refinished hardwood floor. Clean all surfaces from sawdust. Apply the stain. Then, apply polyurethane lightly so as to protect the floor from shoes and the damage done by sunlight. All in all, you may end up spending up to three weeks just finishing this whole project.

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One Response to “How do I properly refinish hardwood floors?”

  1. richard said:

    This is very dirty heavy work and as the author mentions takes a long time. If planning on doing it yourself i’d recommend getting a proper professional sanding machine instead of the less powerful machines from a tool rental place. These can sometimes be rented out by wood floor companies. This will cut down the time spent on the job. It’s also advisable to read up on the actual method of sanding e.g the direction of sanding; the grades of sandpaper etc. For coating we recommend 3 to 4 coats – we normally use Junckers lacquer. If you need more info please contact me on


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