What are the steps to refinish a hardwood floor?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ April 24, 2013 ~ No Comments

I have an oak hardwood floor in very good condition under the carpet. I plan to refinish the floor myself; do you have any step by step suggestions to refinish it? Would it be necessary to buy an industrial sander? Thanks!

Pat T.

Jeffrey Anderson

Pat, you'll need to use an industrial sander to make your hardwood floor look its best, but they can be rented at most tool rental depots and at many home improvement stores.

The first step is to remove the old carpeting and any furniture in the room. Sanding a hardwood floor creates a lot of dust, so anything remaining in the room should be covered. This includes light fixtures, electrical outlets, and cabinets.

It takes a little practice to master a drum sander so always start in an out-of-the-way area. Let the machine do the work and keep it moving while the drum is rotating. A drum sander can ruin a hardwood floor very quickly if left in the same spot for too long. The type of sandpaper you begin with will depend on the condition of your floor. If it's in pretty good shape, a 60 grit would be a good initial sandpaper. Start with a 20 grit if the floor is very rough.

A small edge sander or hand sanding should work in the corners and at wall edges where the drum sander is too large to be effective. Use the same sandpaper grit in these areas as is on the drum sander at the time. After several passes with the 60 grit paper, gradually move up to finer grits until you are sanding with 120 grit paper.

How many passes you make at each paper level again depends on the condition of the floor. A shop vacuum should be used to remove all dust on the floor every time you move up to a finer sand paper.

When you've finished sanding, vacuum thoroughly and then fill any holes or dings in the floor with wood repair compound. There are many different types available at most home improvement stores; look for them on the aisle where floor stains are on display.

You should now be ready to stain or seal the hardwood floor. There are numerous floor stain options available; some require adding a sealant after the stain has dried and others have the sealant already in the stain. Follow the instructions on the can as to how long the stain or sealant must dry before moving to the next step or using the floor.

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