12 Oct 2017
DIY Refinish Hardwood Floors

If you have hardwood flooring in your home, it will likely need to be refinished or cleaned up a bit. The beauty with hardwood floors is not only do they last for a lifetime, but you can also refinish them and have a brand new looking floor! The process of restoring your hardwood floors is simple and will give your floors the original shine they had when they were first installed.


If you’re looking to restore your hardwood floors there are a few tools and materials that will be crucial to the job. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A dusk mask, paintbrush, putty knife, rags, knee pads, bucket, Painters tape, a roller tray, shop vacuum, flathead screwdriver, power floor buffer, box fan, safety glasses, work gloves, and hearing protection.
  • For materials, you are free to research varied brands and solutions and pick whichever you prefer. You’ll need: a sanding screen, synthetic steel wool pads, mineral spirits, liquid floor cleaner, and polyurethane floor finish.

Step One: Clean the Floors

Once you’ve gathered all the materials and tools you will need for the project, the very first step is very simple: clean the floor. Gather some friends to help you remove all the furniture from the wood floor that you need to resurface. Then spray the floor with the floor cleaner of your choice, and wipe it clean with a terry-cloth mop or equivalent. An important preparation note is to remember to shut the doors and windows where you are going to be working. You want to do your best at containing the wood dust from sanding.

Step Two: Prep the Floor

The second step to restoring your hardwood floors is to prep the perimeter of floor. Depending on the type of wood floor you have, the grit of sandpaper you choose may vary, however 180-grit works great. Take the sand paper and hand sand around the entire perimeter of the floor surface. Start at the baseboard and go with the grain, out about 4-6 inches. The purpose of hand sanding the perimeter is because the floor sander won’t reach all the way to the baseboards, so we want to make sure we get the perimeter by hand.

Step Three: Scruff Sand

The next step is the fun part, scuff-sanding the finish. Get the power floor buffer, attach the buffing pad to the bottom, put on your dust mask and safety googles. Move the buffer from side to side, with the grain, make sure you continue moving. Take a break about every 5 minutes or so to vacuum the buffer pad off and observe your work. With each stride back and fourth make sure to over lap about 6 inches, like when you overlap when mowing the lawn. You will be able to tell where you have sanded and not sanded because the old finish will turn to powder.

Step Four: Let the Dust Settle, then Clean

Now exit the room for approximately 10-15 minutes to let the dust settle from sanding the floor. Once it has settled use the shop vacuum to clean the floor, and then sweep using a felt-bottomed attachment. Make sure to go with the grain and clean the felt attachment often, after you’ve done the room with the grain, go against the grain to pick up any remaining dust. Lastly, dry-tack the floor with a microfiber cloth rubbed against the grain, you want to make sure the floor is completely clean.

Step Five: Pour and Brush the Finish

You now want to strain the finish into a plastic bucket, and put on a mask to cover your mouth and nose again so you don’t inhale the poly-finish. With a paintbrush brush along a small section of the perimeter, and move quickly because it dries within 10 minutes. Next pour out about a 1-inch wide portion of poly-finish, and roll it with the grain. Make sure you keep a wet edge on your roller, after going with the grain, go against it to fill in any gaps. After about 10 minutes, repeat brushing the perimeter and rolling out a small section again, until you finish the room.

Step Five: Wait 3 Hours, Then do a Second Coat

After you have completed rolling out the finish onto the entire area, wait at least 3 hours before doing a second coat, (if needed) and wait about a week to put furniture back on the flooring. You want to make sure it has had plenty of time to dry and set.

If you love doing-it-yourself, this guide on how to refinish your hardwood flooring will be incredibly helpful! However, if you come across issues or are in need of a professional, Valor Flooring can answer any of your questions and help refinish your hardwood floors. Contact us today to learn how we can help!