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How to Refinish Your Hardwood Floor

Sander Refinishing Hardwood Floor

A beautiful hardwood floor brings any room to life. Whether you are refinishing a dull looking floor or discovered a gem in the rough hiding under an old carpet, refinishing a hardwood floor is a rewarding task. With a bit of knowledge and the right tools, you'll have your old floor looking like new in no time.

Prepare your floor

Remove any furniture from the room before beginning work. If there is any remaining carpeting, remove that too. Inspect the floor. Remove any staples, and hammer down any protruding nails. You also need to clean the floor. You don't have to go overboard, but make sure to clean up any old carpet backing, grime and other stuck on materials.

Remove tack stripping and trim

Hardwood floor refinishing empty roomIf you removed any carpet, there may be tack stripping left over. Don't leave it. Pry it up with a pry bar and toss it. Next, use your pry bar to carefully remove any trim to avoid damaging it. Set the trim aside.

Cover openings and fixtures

To prevent damage, use masking tape and plastic to cover all the light fixtures in the room. Seal electrical outlets, switches and other openings like central air vents with masking tape to prevent discoloration and to keep wood dust from spreading throughout your house.

Strip the old finish

Hardwood floor refinishing edge sanding with belt sanderWhile it is possible in some cases to use chemical strippers, the best approach is to use an electric drum sander. Chances are you don't own a drum sander, so you will need to rent one from a hardware store. Beginning with coarse grit sandpaper, start in the middle of the room, sand with the grain and work your way towards the edges of the room. Before sanding make sure you have proper protective gear. This includes a dust mask, protective eye wear and hearing protection.

Don't forget the edges

While the drum sander gets the majority of the work done, it can't reach the edges of a room. For this, you will need to sand the edges of the room by hand. Make sure to sand out at least six inches from the edges of the baseboards.

Repeat the sanding process

A few rounds of sanding are necessary to strip the old finish from most floors. Make sure to clean the floor after every sanding session. Repeat the sanding process as many times as necessary to strip the old finish. Use finer grit sandpaper each time.

Apply the stain

Hardwood floor refinsihing how to guideBeginning at the edges of the room, use an applicator pad or roller to apply the stain. Work backwards, and leave yourself an exit. Wait 10 to 15 minutes between coat applications, and apply stain to the desired color.

Apply a varnish or polyurethane coating

Once the stain has had time to dry, use a roller to apply a varnish or polyurethane coating to protect the floor. Use 220 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the floor between coatings, and allow several hours for the coating to dry. Apply as many layers as necessary to achieve the desired finish.


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Photo credit: Serendigity / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.