Refinishing Hardwood FlooringTaking on the job of refinishing hardwood flooring can take time and hard work. But when done properly a good refinishing job can be well worth the effort saving you thousands of dollars.  Compared to ripping out the existing floor and installing a new one, refinishing an existing floor is much less expensive. You can hire someone to do it for you. Or it can be done by most home owners who are handy with tools. You should be comfortable doing this kind of work. You can save thousands of dollars when you do your own work around the home.

The ability of hardwood to be restored to its original beauty is one of its great properties  that should be taken advantage of.  If it is done properly, you will have a floor that looks just like new. You will want to be prepared before attacking this project. Here are a few tips regarding refinishing hardwood floors.

From beginning to end, refinishing hardwood floor can be broken down into many steps. They are usually spread out over a few days. The work depends on the working conditions and the size of the floor that you need to refinish.

Refinishing Hardwood Flooring – Is the Floor Suitable to be Refinished

First, you will want to make sure you are dealing with true hardwood. And not flooring made from engineered wood. Also, check that there is at least 1/8” of wood above the tongue. You can find out by removing a ventilation grate or threshold from a doorway and inspecting the boards. If this is an old floor which has been refinished many times it is possible that there may not be enough wood left to refinish. If this is not the case, refinishing the  hardwood floor here will not be possible. It will have to be left in place or removed. Sometimes a light sanding will do the job if you want to try it yourself. You might not get the brand new look, but it might be sufficient for your tastes.

Refinishing Hardwood Flooring – Tools You Will Need

The tools you will need for the job include a belt sanding machine, edge sander and floor buffer which you should rent or borrow before beginning. Prepare the room before refinishing the hardwood floor by removing everything inside including vents and grills. Remove all furniture and  then cover doorways and vents with plastic sheeting.The fine dust from the sanding activity is going to go everywhere. Plugging the vents etc is a must unless you want dust everywhere. Also if you have central air conditioning or central heating, make sure it is turned off. Otherwise you will have dust in every nook and cranny of your home. You will be cleaning for months.

Refinishing Hardwood Flooring – Sanding the Hardwood Floor

Begin sanding the floor along the wood grain in smooth even strokes. Beginning with the coarsest paper (36 grit) and moving to finer paper sequentially (36, 60, 80, 100).  Take your time and never sand across the grain. If you sand across the grain, you may leave scratches on the wood that cannot be removed. Repeat this with the edge sander until you are satisfied with the look.

Apply Stain

Applying stain and finish are the last steps in refinishing hardwood floor. Ensure the floor is clean and dry before applying your stain.  Use a tack cloth to wipe up all of the fine bits of dust that may be left on the floor. Apply the stain  in even strokes along the grain with a brush for darker color, or rags for a lighter look. Ensure you have proper ventilation to avoid damage to your lungs.

Allow the stain to dry before applying the well mixed polyurethane finish in the same technique with a brush or roller. The polyurethane finish will protect the floor from scuff marks and other marks from furniture. Apply as many coats as you think are necessary and then you are done.

Let it Dry Thoroughly

Wait until the floor has dried thoroughly. If the humidity is high you may need to wait a few more days or use a dehumidifier to help with the drying. When the stain or the polyurethane finish is still wet avoid causing any dust whatsoever  to be in the room. Leave the central furnace fan off and the windows closed until the polyurethane finish is thoroughly dried, then air out the room to get rid of any smell from the polyurethane finish.

When you are ready you can move your furniture back in. You may want to place an area rug on the floor to add decoration and contrast as well. For more tips about do it yourself projects refer to this page, click here.

Please feel free to leave comments about refinishing hardwood floors and your experiences.