Hardwood Refinishing: What Does It Entail?

Hardwood Refinishing: What Does It Entail?

Don’t you just love hardwood floors? There is something so warm and inviting about them. Hardwood was the standard for flooring in homes from a different era. Today, they are an optional upgrade—and an expensive one at that! So, it’s important to take good care of them.

Regardless of whether your home was built in 1920 or 2010, perhaps it’s time to tend to your hardwoods. A few years (or perhaps decades) of life and even the best quality wood floors could use a little facelift. Pets, kids, spills, stains, foot traffic, and general grime take a toll. Of course, you could hide your hardwoods under carpet or LVT but another option is to refinish them.

Refinishing hardwood floors isn’t quick and easy, but it’s possible to do it yourself. If you have the budget to hire a professional to redo your floors, that is obviously the easiest. Since not everyone can afford professional help, here are the basic steps of refinishing hardwood floors. You can decide if this is something you want to tackle yourself or leave for the pros.

Step One: Prep the Room

Before you start, empty the room of everything. This will enable you to see the whole floor and assess stains, wear, and damage. If you have floor moulding, remove that as well and keep track of where the pieces go by numbering them. It will make them easier to put back later.

Step Two: Fix the Issues

Find and repair nail pops by hammering them down. This is also a good time to fix any squeaky spots by adding small nails to secure the problem boards. Locate gouges in the floorboards and fill them with wood filler or putty, using a putty knife.

Step Three: Sand the Floor

Unless you are lucky enough to own one, you will need to rent a drum sander. They resemble industrial vacuums and will be used to sand the entire floor multiple times with various grits of sandpaper pads to remove surface dirt, imperfections, and old finish. Make sure to sweep and vacuum after sanding. Then sand again with a finer grit pad to ensure that the floors are smooth and ready for finishing.

Step Four: Sand Edges and Corners

Using a sanding edger—another specialized tool that can be rented—you can sand into closets, corners, and along walls where the drum sander can’t reach. Sweep again after sanding.

Step Five: Buff the Floor

For this step, you’ll need a floor buffer fit with a fine-grit screen pad—yet another tool you can rent. The floor buffer is the last step in floor preparation and is worth the trouble! It is used to remove anything left behind by the sanders and buff out fine lines.

Step Six: Remove all the Dust

Give your floors one last sweep and vacuum thoroughly. As a final step, consider a tack cloth, which is a sticky rag that will collect any dust that was missed by the vacuum.

Step Seven: Stain Your Floors

Finally! Working in small sections of about three feet squared, apply the stain of your choice in the direction of the wood grain using a foam applicator pad. Wipe away any excess stain with a clean rag as you go.

Hardwood Refinishing: What Does It Entail?

Step Eight: Varnish Your Floors

Once the stain is completely dry, use a lambswool applicator to apply an oil-based polyurethane in the gloss of your choice. Consider a light sanding (and another go-round with the tack cloth) when the floors are dry, then repeat the varnish process up to three times.

Step Nine: Replace the Mouldings

Then, stand back and admire your floors! If refinishing your floors sounds like an exciting way to spend a few weekends, it’s totally doable to DIY with the right rental tools and patience.

If the whole process makes you want to collapse from exhaustion, save your time and energy! Contact the helpful folks at Hamernick’s instead. They would be happy to help you out with more info about the process, options, and pricing.

"*" indicates required fields

Never miss a single blog, video, or exclusive flooring sale. Join our free newsletter and we’ll deliver all this—and more—to your inbox each month.
Step Into

The Inner Circle