Hardwood floors add value to your property and instantly revive a room’s décor. The classic polished look of hardwood floors is unbeatable. However, if they appear dull and lack in colour, then it is time to refinish hardwood floors. Whether you are renovating your old home, or just looking for ideas to bring some life into your room, refinishing hardwood floors is the smartest way of sprucing up the room’s décor and making any space feel brand new. In this blog, we will go in detail as to how to refinish hardwood floors. Let’s explore the process with this step-by-step guide.
Step-by-step Guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floors
If you are planning to hire a professional to do the job, then be prepared to invest a handsome amount of money as the professional will charge on a per square foot rate. In the end, the entire project could cost you more than you anticipated in the first place. But what if we tell you that you can refinish hardwood floors on your own, without much hassle? All you have to do is follow each step carefully as mentioned in this blog and you will have a brand new hardwood floor in no time. So, let’s take a look at the steps involved in the process of refinishing hardwood floors.
- Prep the room
- Patch and repair
- Sand the floor
- Buff the floor
- How to prep for a sealer
- Apply the stain
- Use a sealer
Let’s go through the process one step at a time.
Prep the room
It is important to prep the room. Remove all the furniture, rugs and carpets. Cover all the vents and electrical outlets with duct tape. Use plastic sheets to seal the doors. Use a pry bar to gently remove the base molding. Remember to use a pencil to number the molding pieces as you remove them so you can replace them correctly. Use pliers to remove any nails or staples present in the flooring. Nail down any boards that are loose.
Patch and repair
Assess the damage to the floor for larger holes or cracks. If there are any gaps, use a wooden putty with a knife. If your floors are heavily damaged, then use a trowel filler that spreads and covers large areas.
Apply this with a large putty knife. If your floors do not require much repair, then use a wood patch filler on respective spots that need to be filled up. It is important to let the filler dry up completely. Once done, wipe down the surface with a damp cloth so that it clears up all the debris and dust.
Sand the floor
Use a drum sander which you can easily rent from a home improvement store. Working with a drum sander can be a bit challenging, as it is difficult to control the equipment. Get a tutorial when you rent the equipment so that you know how to operate the drum sander. First practice it on a large plywood until you are comfortable to use it. With the motor running, start moving gradually forward. It is important to wear eye protection and a mask.
Start sanding using a rough, coarse 40-grit sandpaper. This is a coarse sandpaper and will remove all scratches and rough patches from the wood, but will leave a rough surface. Move with the grain of the wood in 3-4 foot sections.
Keep moving across the floor at a slow pace. You would need to change the sandpaper after every 20 square feet. This is a general rule, but you need to keep checking the sandpaper and change it when it looks worn out. Remember, to empty the dust bag on the sander regularly.
It will perform much better if you keep the sander less than half full. Keep sanding the floor with the 40-grit sandpaper, until you reach a uniform floor. Since, handling the sander is quite difficult, you will need an edge sander for the edges of the room.
Moreover, you will have to repeat the sanding process with a 60, 80 and then 120-grit sandpaper. When you use a fine-grit paper, it will give a fine finish to the room you want. After each round of using the sandpaper on the floor, wipe down the surface with a clean cloth and you will see a smoother surface.
Buff the floor
This is an important step to refinish hardwood floors. Some people rent an industrial buffer for this step, but a pole sander is also ideal for this situation. A pole sander covers less area and is therefore more time consuming and affordable. Use a 120-grit sanding screen to buff the surface.
How to prep for a sealer
At this point, you need to ensure that the floor surface is completely clean off any debris, dust particles or sand grains. Also, clean the walls of the room so that no dust or particles fall off when you start refinishing the hardwood floor. Use a vacuum with a brush head to clean the floor thoroughly and then use a cloth to remove any remaining particles.
To prep the surface before you apply the stain. Mix one part alcohol with two parts water. Spray the floor with the solution using a pump sprayer, covering the floor completely. Mop the floor to evenly distribute the solution onto the floor. This causes the wood grains to rise, which makes it easier for the hardwood floor to accept the stain. Leave it for half an hour so that the floor is completely dry.
Apply the stain
The floor is now ready for the stain and sealer. When you plan to refinish hardwood floors, decide first whether you would like to change the colour of the floor or not. Pick an oil-based stain of the colour of your choice. Wear a respiratory mask and make sure the room is well-ventilated since finishing products such as stain, emits harmful vapors. It is advised to use a rag cloth for staining the surface as it helps in applying a thin layer. Dip you rag in the stain and wring the extra paint. Then start applying it from the farthest end of the room. Pay extra attention when one section meets the next and use a sponge to blend the lines.
Once you have applied the stain on the entire floor, let it dry completely for 24 hours. Apply a second coat in the same manner to achieve the desired colour.
Use a sealer
After the stain is dry, finish the floor by sealing it properly. Sealing the floor protects it from damage and scratches. It also increases the lustre of the wood. Polyurethane sealer is the most popular hardwood sealer and is available as a water or oil-based product. Since polyurethane sealer sits on top of the wood and doesn’t soak in, it offers excellent protection from water and scratches. You can choose between matte or glossy finish.
Since the finishing product releases harmful vapors, you must wear a well-ventilated mask. Again wipe the surface to remove any dust and debris. Then using a roller pin apply the polyurethane sealant on the surface. Working from the farther end of the corner, start working in small portions. Remember you need to apply multiple coats of the sealant. Let it dry for 24 hours before walking on the floor and a good 72 hours before putting back the furniture in place.
Allowing plenty of drying time gives a durable and sturdy hardwood floor in the end.
We hope this detailed guide to refinishing hardwood floors will help you perform the task at home with professional expertise. In the meantime, you should also take benefit from these useful guides on:
- Hardwood flooring vs. softwood flooring
- Rates and types of wood flooring in Pakistan
- Modern flooring options and their rates
- Budget-friendly alternatives to wood flooring
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