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How to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Hardwood Floor Refinishing NJ clears the area of furniture & makes sure windows are open for proper ventilation. Also, apply painter’s tape to doors & vents to keep dust from affecting other parts of the house.

After sanding, stain the hardwood floors. HGTV recommends working in 3- to 4-foot sections for even staining.


It can take a while to sand a wood floor, especially if it has been previously finished. This is one of the reasons why it is best to have a professional handle this work if possible. However, if you must do it yourself, it is important to take the time to do it correctly. This will help you achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish. Before you start sanding, it is important to thoroughly clean the floor. This includes sweeping it and vacuuming. It is also a good idea to mop it with water or a slightly damp microfiber rag. This will remove any dust or dirt that might mar the final coat of finish.

Start the sanding process by using coarse grit sandpaper. Start in the corner of the room and move slowly across the surface of the floor. Be sure to cover all areas of the floor, including baseboards and corners. Use a small hand sander to get into tight spaces like under radiators.

Next, sand with medium grit paper. This will smooth the rough patches and fill in any gouges that may have occurred during the sanding process. If you notice any large gouges, you should use wood putty to fill them in before sanding again. Once the floor is smooth, it is a good idea to vacuum and mop it again.

Once the floor is completely dry, you can sand it again with fine-grit paper. This will give the floor a smooth, even finish and prepare it for a stain or polyurethane.

It is a good idea to wear a mask and earplugs while sanding, as well as a respirator when applying a sealer or oil-based polyurethane. This is because these materials can generate a lot of harmful fumes.

If you are refinishing an engineered wood floor, make sure that the layer of real hardwood is thick enough to be sanded without hitting plywood underneath it. This is a common problem with engineered floors, and it can cause the finish to flake or peel in the future.

Staining can be one of the most rewarding aspects of a wood floor renovation, adding depth and beauty to the hardwood. But staining requires time, patience, and a thorough understanding of the process in order to achieve a professional-looking result. Before you start, remove any furniture and cover vents with painter’s tape to prevent stain from seeping into your HVAC system. It is also important to be prepared for the messiness of staining – make sure you have plenty of plastic sheets and a good supply of painter’s tape. And remember that it can take up to four days for the stain to dry/cure before you can walk on the floor or put your furniture back in the room.

There are two basic types of stain – dyes and pigments. Dye stain works a lot like paint, changing the color of the hardwood by absorbing into its pores. Pigmented stains, on the other hand, change the appearance of the grain by hiding it. It is very important to work with a reputable dealer or manufacturer to ensure that you have the right color of stain and that you understand how it will interact with your existing woodwork.

It is also important to pay close attention to the direction of the wood grain when applying the stain. Aside from avoiding cross-grain scratches, it is critical to avoid running the stain in the opposite direction of the grain, as this will cause unsightly “blotch marks” on the surface of your floor.

Once the stain is completely dry, it’s time for a polyurethane finish to protect your hard-earned investment. The process of applying a polyurethane can be relatively quick and simple, but the amount of time it takes to dry/cure will depend on the weather conditions in your area. High humidity, low temperatures, and using too much finish can all lengthen the drying time significantly.

Before applying a finish, vacuum the floor thoroughly and wipe it with a tack cloth. You must remove all dust, hair and other debris that could mar the final look of your hardwood floors. If your flooring is waxed, you must strip the wax or have it professionally stripped.

You can choose to apply a water-based polyurethane or lacquer. Water-based finishes dry quickly, but they may require more coats than oil-based finishes. It is a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for application. You will want to have the room well ventilated and use a respirator if the product you’re using emits fumes.

If you are refinishing your hardwood floors to replace them with a new floor covering, you’ll need to apply several coats of polyurethane or a traditional varnish. A traditional varnish dries much slower than a polyurethane, but it will produce less fumes. A traditional varnish also has a more dramatic effect on the wood and darkens it considerably.

After sanding, you can stain the hardwood floors to match your décor. Stain is available in many colors and can be applied to the whole floor or in small areas. Use a foam applicator pad and work in small sections at a time. If the stain has a tint to it, you should lightly rub the stained area with 120-grit sandpaper and then rinse it off to get rid of the color.

Before you apply the topcoat, you must allow the stain to dry. This usually takes about three hours, depending on the humidity and temperature of the room. You can then reattach the quarter-round molding and furniture, and you can enjoy your newly refinished hardwood floor. To ensure the proper sheen, it’s recommended that you apply two to three coats of the finish. You must allow the first coat to completely dry before applying the second and third. After applying the last coat, you should wait about a week before you can walk on the floor without shoes. If you’re unsure of how to refinish your hardwood floors, consult with a professional flooring contractor.

After a wood floor is refinished, proper care is essential. Regular vacuuming removes tiny abrasive particles that scratch the finish and should be done daily in high-traffic areas. Sweeping and dust mopping should also be done regularly to keep abrasive dirt and grime from scratching the floor surface and dulling the finish. Periodic cleaning is recommended with a cleaner made specifically for hardwood floors and preferably a combination cleaner/wax, such as the products manufactured by Minwax. The frequency of cleaning varies from one household to another and depends on the number of people in the home, whether children and pets are present and how much traffic the room receives.

Furniture legs should be placed on a set of felt pads to protect the wood from scratches and gouges when furniture is moved across the floor. Avoid using plastic casters that can leave abrasive scratch marks on the floor, and replace them with soft rubber or polyurethane casters. Don’t drag furniture across the floor; this can scratch, dent and compress the finish, and it can also cause moisture to seep into the cracks of the wood and swell, which can stain and warp the finish.

Spills should be cleaned up immediately to prevent stains and damage to the finish. Don’t use oil-based cleaners on prefinished or new wood; vinegar can damage the finish and create an oily film.

Deeper scratches, scuffs and other discolorations can be repaired with a touch-up kit for urethane finishes, available from any wood flooring retailer. The kit contains a small amount of the original stain color, which can be mixed with a urethane cleaner to restore the finish.

Wood is a photosensitive product that darkens or lightens over time. Proper species selection and finishing helps minimize this effect, but it is unavoidable to some extent. Regularly moving or rotating area rugs helps to spread the darker areas evenly throughout the room. Maintaining a stable humidity level is also helpful for maintaining a uniform color.