How To Refinish Hardwood Floors
Learning how to refinish hardwood floors can greatly increase the value and beauty of your home. Most people hire a professional because it's hard work, but refinishing your floors yourself can give you a great amount of satisfaction. Doing the job yourself also allows you to do it your way.
To refinish hardwood floors, you will need:
- Plastic to cover doorways
- Wood filler & putty knife
- A dust mask
- Eye protection
- Ear protection
- A drum sander
- An edge sander
- A vacuum cleaner
- A buffer
- Wood stain
- Wood finish
- Natural bristle or foam paint brush
- Remove all the furniture and anything else and sweep the floor thoroughly. Fill any large cracks in the floor with the wood filler, using the putty knife to even it up. This must be done before the sanding, and it must have enough time to dry completely. Knowing how to refinish hardwood floors properly means paying attention to details so your project looks professionally done.
- Hang plastic over the doorways so that dust doesn't go all over the house. You can rent a drum sander if you don't have access to one. Be careful with this machine, as it can gouge the floor. To avoid this, don't ever let it sit and run in one spot for too long. Keep it moving, sanding in the direction of the wood grain. If the floor is badly warped, you will need to sand sideways first, and then in the direction of the grain. Use a rough grit, then a medium, and finally a fine grit to finish off. The drum sander won't be able to reach the very edge of the floor or the corners, so use the edge sander for those areas.
- Vacuum everything in the room. You'll need to do the ceiling and the walls as well as the floor. Learning how to refinish hardwood floors is a lot of work, but well worth the effort.
- You can rent a professional buffer. These things tend to have a mind of their own, so don't let it get away from you. Always go in the direction of the wood grain, using the finest abrasive screen supplied with the buffer.
- Make sure you have the windows open before staining and read the precautions on the label. You can use oil or water based stain, but most people prefer the look of oil based stain. Starting at the far end of the room in the corner, apply the stain with a rag, going in the direction of the grain. Allow this to dry overnight.
- Choose a water based urethane surface finish. Foam applicators work best to refinish hardwood floors. After the first coat, you may need to sand again and vacuum. Then apply the last coat.
When working to refinish hardwood floors, always supply proper ventilation. Never smoke around flammable liquids such as finish and stain.
New England Institute of Restoration & Cleaning