You may be renovating an old house or just wanting to improve the aesthetics of your current apartment; refinishing hardwood floors can make a big difference.
Hardwood floors typically last for an extended period. Eventually, they will require refinishing due to everyday use. Although learning how to refinish hardwood floors can be a time-intensive process that involves multiple steps, it is a very manageable and rewarding do-it-yourself job that can save a lot of money.
Follow these steps before refinishing a wood floor.
- Prepare a Room for Refinishing:
To get started, clear the room of all furniture. Next, clean the room as much as possible to remove all dust, and tape painter’s tape to vents and electrical boxes to prevent dust from getting into the ductwork and electrical components. To limit air movement, close windows, turn off the ceiling fan or window air conditioner, and block any vents in the room. Next, give the room a top-to-bottom cleaning. Vacuum curtains and wipe down baseboards, windowsills, and any other horizontal surfaces with a damp rag. Finally, vacuum the floor, then clean it with a wet rag.
Look for larger cracks or holes in the floor and fill them using a spackle knife and wood filler. A trowel filler is the best choice to fix heavily damaged floors due to its thin consistency and ability to cover large areas. You can apply this with a large putty knife. For floors that have minor damage, use a wooden patch filler for individual spots. Allow the filler to dry completely. Remove all debris and dust from the floor using a damp rag. Let it dry thoroughly before sanding.
- Sand the Floor
Sanding eliminates scratches and stains from the hardwood floor but may not alleviate the deepest gouges or discolored patches of wood.
Sand the drum sander back and forth over lengths between 3 and 4 feet.
To remove scratches, overlap your strokes with at least 1/3 of the belt width.
Begin with 36 grit sandpaper, then move on to 60 grit, and finish with 100 grit. Make sure you don’t skip the steps from coarse to finer grades. Move slowly and steadily across the floor, as stopping will leave permanent marks on the floor. Overlap rows with one board. Sandpaper pieces will cover about 20 square feet each. Keep it in check and replace the sandpaper when it looks worn. Also, be sure to empty the dust bag frequently.
Each round of sanding will reveal a smoother surface with all repaired holes or cracks flush with the floor surface. Vacuum and sweep the flooring after each sanding session with different grades of grit.
Remember: Always wear a dust mask, safety goggles, and ear protection when using a drum sander.
- Remove All Dust
Make sure to clean windowsills, moldings, and any other surfaces where dust may accumulate. Vacuum and sweep the flooring thoroughly and remove the dust with a tack cloth. Dust and hair can leave imperfections in the floor finish.
- Apply the finish
Follow these steps when applying the finish.
To apply the finish, use a lamb wool applicator dipped in water, then apply smooth, even lines to prevent drips. You might consider applying four coats of oil-based finish or three coats of water-based finish. Once the floor is dry, lightly sand it using 220-grit paper or steel wool #000. Many finishes take 24 hours to dry. Apply the next coat after vacuuming up the dust. Once the finish is dry, reinstall the shoe guard molding.
To refinish hardwood floors properly, you should care when you sand them and apply the finish. Hardwood floors refinished adequately can add a new shine to your home. After 24 hours, you will be ready to move the furniture back. Give your floor two weeks to completely cure before putting down an area rug.