November 27, 2022

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Guide

Tips on Hardwood Floor Refinishing

hardwood floor refinishing

You might be tired of seeing your hardwood floors looking damaged and dull after years of regular wear and tear. So, you take action by wanting to begin a hardwood floor refinishing project. Take whatever steps necessary for making your hardwoods look brand new again. But if you have limited experience with home improvement projects, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed and as if you do not know what to do first. But there’s no need to feel lost! Here is a simple guide for refinishing hardwood floors and giving them that shiny and beautiful look back again. Follow these steps and guidelines, and you’ll have a picture-perfect hardwood floor before you know it!

How to Refinish Hardwood Floor

First things first, you would need some materials to make this possible. The materials you will need are wide brooms, heavy and light sandpaper, gloves, rollers with long handles, floor wax, brushes, wood stain, rags, floor sanders and edgers, shop vacuums, and dust masks.

There are three main processes involved in wood floor refinishing. These include sanding the floor, staining the floor, and finally finishing the floor. In the first process, you should remove first all of the furniture, rugs, mats, etc. from the room with floors that you plan to refinish. Then after doing this, you must check the floor and see if there are any nails or other sharp objects protruding from the surface. Remove them right away, for they destroy the sandpaper sheet when you start to sand them.


refinishing the floor stain

After taking this precaution, it’s time now to get a floor sander and sandpaper for the sanding to start. The sandpaper should fit the floor sander machine you purchased or rented to avoid malfunction of the equipment. Clip the heavy sandpaper into the sander. Run the sander over the floor in the direction of the wood grain.

Do this in straight and even strokes, and keep the machine in motion and never steady to even the wood floors. Remove the sandpaper and replace it with a lighter one in the sander. This is used to get the beautiful and smooth floor you want. To do this, you have to move up the grits sequentially from 36 to 60 to 80 to 100 times.


After sanding the floor, the next step in hardwood floor refinishing is the floor stain. Before staining the floor, you have to brush the floor clear of all the sawdust accumulated with a broom. Use the shop vacuum or tack rag in getting rid of the finer dust on the floor. Do not forget to ventilate the whole area as well.

Before applying the stain on the floor, you should do a test first. Stain a corner of the floor and see if the color is the one you want. After five minutes of waiting for the stain to dry, you are ready to proceed to apply it to the entire floor surface. Use a brush if you want heavy, dark coats on your floor, and use rags if would ultimately prefer a lighter coat. Apply the stain in long, even strokes and you should go with the grains of the wood as well.

After applying the first coat, allow it to dry completely. You can either apply a second coat to your floor or just cover the spots you missed the first time around. Then, wait for the stain to dry before applying the finishing touches.

Hardwood Floor Refinish

hardwood floor refinish

Finally, we come to the hardwood floor refinishing! First, you should stir the polyurethane finish and not mix it. Mixing causes air bubbles to show in the final finish. Apply the finish with a brush or roller by using smooth, even strokes. Allow the finish to dry for three hours or more. After drying, apply a second coat and allow this to dry for 24 hours and even up to 3 to 4 days before moving furniture back into the room. Thus, the process of refinishing a hardwood floor is complete.

Hardwood floor refinishing is an experience that is well rewarded. Because after the hard work you have put in doing all these steps, you get to have a beautiful floor that does not need any hiding anymore. You will truly be proud to show off these beautifully refinished hardwood floors to your guests and loved ones!

Refinishing Quick Guide

Anyone who has ever taken on a hardwood floor refinishing job can tell you that it is no easy task. There is a lot of time and sweat that must be devoted to the job! Because of the difficulty of this type of do-it-yourself project, most people prefer to pay a professional to do it for them. However, if you would like to give it a go and try to refinish your floor on your own, this article will serve as a quick guide to help you get started.

The Most Important Supplies

Orbital Sander

Unless you want to sand your entire floor by hand, you should rent an orbital sander. Buying a sander is also an option, but the need for good hardwood floor refinishing doesn’t come up often enough to buy the machine in my opinion.

Wax Stripper

Before you sand your hardwood floor, you need to strip the wax coating.

Lacquer Thinner

After stripping the wax, it is necessary to apply a quality lacquer thinner. This will strip the floor of its varnish or polyurethane coat.

Vacuum or Damp Cloth

After sanding your entire floor, you will be standing in a sea of dust! Use either a vacuum or a damp cloth to clean every bit and piece it up. Any remnants of the sanding could really leave a noticeable spot on your newly refinished floor.


This one is obvious but I thought I should include it just in case. You will need enough polyurethane to lay about three coats on your floor.

The Process (Just a quick look)

I couldn’t possibly explain the whole process of hardwood floor refinishing. There are entire books and videos dedicated to the topic. However, this part of my article will give you a quick look at the process so you know what you are getting yourself into before you purchase books or videos.

Clear the Floor

It is much easier to work in a completely cleared-out room. Remove all furniture and rugs from the floor that you will be refinishing ahead of time.

Strip the Floor

First, apply the wax stripper to remove the top coat of wax. Next, use the lacquer thinner to remove the final coats (usually varnish or polyurethane).

Sand The Floor

This is probably the most important part of refinishing hardwood floors. You want to be sure to do a good job when you get to the point! If you cheat your way through this step, you can pretty much guarantee a poor-quality finished floor when you are done.

Clean the Floor

hardwood floor cleaning

Some people like to clean the floor before stripping and sanding it, but what is the point? You are just wasting your time and energy! Instead, wait until you finish sanding the floor. There will be a lot of dust and debris all over the floor, so use a vacuum or a damp cloth to clean the whole floor. A vacuum can sometimes miss a spot or two, so be sure to double and triple-check for cleanliness.

Lay the Polyurethane Coat

You will need about three coats of polyurethane. Use a paintbrush or paint pad to lay one coat at a time. After each coat has been applied, allow enough time for it to completely dry.

Lay the Wax Coat

After three layers of polyurethane have been applied, it’s time to give your floor the wax treatment! Using a completely new paintbrush or paint pad, evenly coat your floor with your chosen type of wax. You have a few different types of wax to choose from. It all comes down to preference.

Let It Sit

You should let your newly refinished floor sit without anything on it for about 72 hours. This will allow the floor to completely dry. Moving furniture back onto the floor too early could prove to be one of the biggest mistakes of your life! Don’t ruin all of your hard work by being too anxious.

It’s No Easy Job But Someone Has To Do It

refinish hardwood floor diy

As you have just learned, hardwood floor refinishing is not an easy task! If you have a hardwood floor and it’s due to be refinished, you have two choices: Suck it up and do it yourself- or, pay someone else to do it. If you do it yourself, you will spend a lot of time and work. If you pay someone else, you will be spending a lot of money! Choose wisely young grasshopper…

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