If a thorough cleaning isn’t enough to restore your hardwood floor’s shine, a hardwood floor refinishing may be in order. It’s a time-consuming, dirty job, but it will restore your floor’s natural shine and bring your flooring back to life.
Aside from a dull appearance, signs that it’s time to refinish your flooring include: deep cuts, set-in stains, warping and areas where the protective coating (or finishing) has worn away.
Solid hardwood floors can be refinished approximately 10 times before needing to be replaced. Engineered hardwood floors can be refinished too, but not as many times.
The entire refinishing process will take approximately three days to complete, so you may want to plan this project for a long weekend. Refinishing is a three-step process: preparation, sanding and staining. If this is your first time refinishing your floors, this handy guide will walk you through each step to make the job is as simple and stress-free as possible.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when doing hardwood floor refinishing:
- Your floors should be at least 3/4” thick. Sanding can remove quite a bit of surface, so floors that are thinner than 3/4” may not be suitable for refinishing.
- If your floors are thin but you still want to refinish them, you may need to call in a professional to do the job. Otherwise, you may wind up sanding down to the subfloor.
- Newer hardwood floors can be as thin as 1/4”, which makes them unsuitable for refinishing.
Step 1: Prepare the Floors
The first, and most tedious, step is to prepare the floors (and the rest of the room). It’s important to start with a clean surface before you begin sanding.
- Clear the room out. Remove all furniture, wall hangings, window treatments and anything else that may be stored in the room. Make sure that your closets are cleared out too if the wood flooring extends to these areas.
- Cover light fixtures. Plastic trash bags work well for this. Use masking tape to secure the covering.
- Shoe moulding should be removed. Baseboards do not have to be removed unless you want to replace them.
- Tape all openings in the room. This includes vent ducts, switches and outlets.
- Close off the room. A simple way to do this is to hang plastic sheeting over the door opening.
- Vacuum the floor thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris on the surface.
Step 2: Sanding
Once the room is properly sealed and prepared, you can start sanding. A good sanding will bring back the grain and level the floor. It will take a few passes to achieve a smooth finish, so be patient with this process.
It should go without saying that you’ll need a drum sander for this part of the process. You may also need an edge or hand sander for small areas of the floor that the drum sander can’t reach. Renting the equipment is a smart and convenient option.
Before you start sanding, make sure that the room is properly ventilated. Place a fan in one open window to blow and dust or debris outside, and leave another window open to let fresh air in. Be sure to wear the appropriate gear, including a respirator. Finally, fill any small holes or gaps in the flooring with a wood putty.
- Start with a heavy grit paper, like 60 grit. Begin in the center of the room, and sand with the grain. Go from one of end of the room to the other. To avoid missing spots, overlap each pass by a few inches. Repeat on the other side of the room until you’ve sanded the center portion of the floor.
- Once you’ve gone over the entire room with the drum sander, you can use the hand or edge sander to treat the areas the drum sander couldn’t reach. Be sure to use the same grit paper that you used with the drum sander.
- Vacuum the room.
- Repeat the entire process with a smaller grit paper. Smaller grits have larger numbers.
- To finish, sand the entire floor with 120 grit paper.
- Vacuum again, and clean up all dust and debris with a dry cloth. Be sure to wipe down the windows, walls and floors.
Step 3: Staining the Floors and Applying a Protective Finish
Now comes the fun part: staining. In most cases, stain can be applied with old cotton shirts. Apply the stain with the grain, allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes and wipe off with a clean cotton towel. Allow the stain to dry for at least 24 hours. Follow the product directions for best results. Some stains will require more than one coat and a sanding in between each coat, so be sure to read the directions thoroughly.
The final step is to apply a protective finishing coat to your flooring. Use large bristle brushes to apply the finish with the grain, and keep the room well ventilated. Drying time will vary depending on humidity and can take 24 hours or more to dry completely.
Need more information or want a quote on new hardwood floors in Houston or Katy, TX? Give us a call today for a free consultation! (832) 437-4495