Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors

by Carmen Corbin on February 23, 2012

If your hardwood floor is covered with scratches or the finish has become spotty and dull, you may be considering just pulling it up and replacing it.  But before you declare your floor hopeless and spend a lot of money on new hardwood installation, try refinishing it.  Although this type of home improvement project isn’t exactly at a DIY beginner’s level, the effort will be worth it in the end when your floor has been brought back to life.

Using guidelines from www.thisoldhouse.com, here are the basic steps to take for refinishing your hardwood floors:

Preparing the Floor

  1. Tape plastic over doorways to prevent dust from getting into adjoining rooms.
  2.  With a rented sanding machine, use a coarse grit sandpaper to sand the old finish off the floor and get down to the bare wood.  Be sure to wear goggles and a dust mask.  Vacuum up the debris, and then sand again with a finer grit sandpaper (don’t forget to vacuum again!).  Use a hand sander to get under kitchen cabinets and other hard to reach areas.
  3. Fill any large gaps or cracks with a sandable wood filler and lightly sand when dry.
  4. Wipe down entire floor with a cloth dipped in mineral spirits.  This will help remove the last remnants of sanding dust from the floor.

The Finishing Touches

  1. Apply a base coat sealer to the entire floor.  This should take around two hours to dry.
  2. Apply a water based polyurethane finish to the floor.  An oil based polyurethane is also okay to use, but it will take much longer to dry between coats (the water based product will take about two hours).  Apply two more coats of polyurethane, allowing it to dry each time before applying the next coat.

The entire project will take a couple of days from start to finish.  If you have trouble bending or kneeling, you probably should have your hardwood floors refinished by a professional.  When all is said and done, you’ll have many more years of enjoyment and use from your hardwood.  Hint:  If you have an older home, you might just want to take a peek under the carpeting in other rooms to see what might be hiding underneath!  You could have another diamond in the rough just waiting to shine.

For more information about hardwood floor refinishing, call or visit your local home improvement contractor or wood flooring professional.

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