Refinishing a hardwood floor

You need time, patience and proper tools if you want to refinish your old hardwood floor. You won’t regret starting the project. The results can be amazing.


Sanding the floor

  1. Remove all the objects in the room: rugs and furniture.
  2. Check the floors for any nails or carpet staples. If you do find any, pull them out, or pound them bellow the surface. They can easily damage the sanding paper.
  3. Now, you should go to an equipment rental shop and rent a floor sander. These are heavy machines but you can get used to them. The secret is to get them moving at all times, if not you risk sanding a groove in the floor that will be impossible to remove.
  4. You can choose newer orbital sanders that are far more easy to use. Regardless of the machine you choose, ask for guidance and a demonstration before renting them.
  5. Buy a large supply of sandpaper. Be careful that the sandpaper fits your sanding machine.
  6. Start with the heaviest grit (36). Clip it into the sander.
  7. Run the sander in the same direction as the wood grain. Try not to sand across the grain.
  8. Keep the floor sander moving at all times it’s on. If you make any groove in the floor, even it out with some long strokes.
  9. Now it’s time to put a lighter sandpaper (60). Sand every scratch or line in the floor.
  10. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of all the floor dust after each sanding.
  11. Go on and put on a lighter sanding paper. The key is to move from 36 grinder grit, to 60, 80 and then 100.
  12. If your sanding machine can’t reach the edges, use an edging machine.
  13. To minimize the spread of dust, put wet bed sheets in the doors
  14. Always use a dust mask when using sanding machines and ensure adequate ventilation.

Staining the floor

  1. Decide whether or not to stain the floor.
  2. Remove any trace of floor dust after the last sanding.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove even the finest dust particles. The cleaner, the better.
  4. Before applying the first coat, see if the stain you bought matches the color you wanted.
  5. Apply the first coat of stain. Use a brush for darker coats, and rags for a more controlled application and a lighter color.
  6. Allow the first coat to dry and then apply another one if necessary.

Finishing the floor

  1. Before applying the finish, stir the container with polyurethane. Don’t shake it because it will create bubbles and will give a bad look.
  2. Apply the coat of polyurethane with large strokes. You can use any brush or roller.
  3. Allow the first coat to dry and then apply a second one if necessary.
  4. Wait at least 3 days before moving the furniture back into the room.
  5. Wax is another finishing option. Be careful to apply the wax in light coats until you reach the level of protection and the desired sheen.
  6. Make sure that the area is well ventilated, because most finish solutions are dangerous for your health.
  7. Don’t smoke in the room because the solution is flammable.

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