how to sand and refinish hardwood floors: everything you should know

how to sand and refinish hardwood floors: everything you should know

You've moved into a first home and carpeting in every room. The house is from a time when hardwood floors were routinely installed. After pulling up the carpeting, you find that your home has hardwood flooring that looks good but needs cosmetic work.?

This summer, your goal is to refinish every standard room with hardwood floors and maybe the master bedroom. Since this is a task that you?ve never taken on before, understanding what goes into hardwood floor refinishing will take some effort. Here are some things to think about upfront and the steps it will take to restore those floors to their former glory.?

Getting started: deciding what you want to do with the floors

Before any attempts toward hardwood floor refinishing can occur, decide exactly what you have in mind for those floors. You?ve already found that they are in decent but not pristine condition. One thing that you do need to think about is the type of stain that will be used.?

From what you can tell, the original stain is an excellent choice for the home design and your furnishings. If that?s the case, take some pictures and make sure the proper shade is evident. That will make finding a stain that?s a perfect match easier.?

Maybe you want something lighter or darker than the original. If so, decide which way you want to go and how far. At the same time, identify the type of hardwood used for the flooring. That will go a long way toward matching the stain with your vision for the place.?

Understanding what sort of preparation is needed

More must be done before you get to the wood floor refinishing stage. One of the most important is making plans for sanding the floors. You need to go through the flooring sand stage because all the old stain has to go. You want raw wood that will be ideal for accepting the new stain and whatever sealing coat you apply after that. ?

Before sanding, you want to empty the room of all furnishings and then clean the floors as thoroughly as possible. Start with sweeping to eliminate any loose dirt or residue from the carpet padding. After that, mop the floor to get rid of as much dirt and grime as possible. Even if the floor was cleaned before the carpeting was laid, it?s easy for some residue to seep through the padding. But, with a bit of luck, it won?t be much.

Will the preparation include repairs?

One task that may or may not is needed as part of the preparation is to repair wood floors with some slight damage. This may involve sections that seem to have deteriorated slightly. If the floor is not completely level, you want to resolve that issue first. Having someone come in and sister one or more of the floor joists may be all that?s needed to ensure the floor is perfectly level again. At other times, the joist supports proper may need to be replaced.

At this juncture, you have a floor that?s clean, level, and ready for whatever you want to do with it. This is where the real fun begins.

Getting an idea of what kind of tools and equipment is required

There?s a fair amount of things you will need to take care of in what?s to come. Remember that there is still the sanding to do, plus you will need something to get rid of the dust that?s left after you complete this stage. It?s also intelligent to gather all of your hardwood floor refinishing supplies, tools, and equipment before you begin any changes to the floor itself.

What will you need? For most tasks of this type, depend on securing the following. You can start with the safety equipment:

  • Dust Mask
  • Respirator Mask
  • Safety Glasses
  • Knee Pads

Next, secure the resources needed for each step of the process:

  • Floor Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Shop Vacuum
  • Utility Knife
  • Hammer
  • Pry Bar
  • Tack Cloth
  • Angle Brushes
  • Roller Frame
  • Extension Pole for the Roller Frame
  • Roller (consider lambskin)
  • Staining Pad
  • Your Choice of Stain
  • Coating (Polyurethane is often a good choice)
  • A Good-Quality Hardwood Floor Cleaner

As you gather supplies, tools, and equipment, picking up some floor sanding tools will be a good idea also. Little things like knowing what grit of sandpaper to use and some tips on how to operate the sander. In like manner, you will want to get some ideas on evenly applying the stain, how long it will take to set, and even the proper way to utilize a hardwood floor finisher.

Outlining the actual steps to refinishing hardwood floors

While there may be some variance to the hardwood flooring finishing process based on the particulars of your floor, there are several steps that are likely to apply in any case. Reviewing them will provide more insight into how to refinish hardwood floors, and make it easier to see why specific steps must be done first. Since you?re already removed the carpeting and padding, cleaned the floor, and made any minor repairs that are necessary, you can pick up with the following:

1. Check one more time for any staples or nails that may be protruding anywhere along the surface of the floor. The hammer can be used to drive nails in if necessary. Alternatively, you can use the locking pliers to remove any staples.

2. Move on to the sanding. There?s a method that many professionals use. This involves beginning the sanding around the edges and corners. You don?t have to use the sander for this step. Put on those knee pads and other protective gear, then use 180 grit sandpaper to do this part manually. Make sure you get all of the existing stains as you go.

3. Now you?re ready to use the floor sander. Once again, begin along the edging where you?ve already removed the stain and begin to work your way toward the middle. You can also choose to start on one side and follow the wood grain. How you move will depend somewhat on the type of wood you have. Keep going until you?ve removed all the stains and see nothing but the bare wood.

4. Next, there?s more cleaning to do. All of the dust and residue left from the sanding must be removed. Using the shop vac will help get most of it. You can also use the tack cloth and get rid of more. Last, you do want to sweep and then mop the floor again. Your goal is to ensure there are no tiny particles to mar the look once the stain is applied.

5. Once you?re sure the floor is free of any residue, you can start applying the stain. You may want to begin around the edges, then use even strokes to go over the rest of the wood. Don?t get in a hurry, as that could cause you to miss spots or go too heavy in others. Follow the same pattern for applying the polyurethane coating.

6. Clean the floor one more time. Once the coating is set, use the mop to go over the floors. After that, begin moving the area rug and other furnishings back into the space.

Remember that sanding hardwood floors properly is just as important as all the other steps. Do get advice on how much wood is removed when sanding hardwood floors takes place, especially if you have suspicions that the floor was stained more than once. Even sanding sets the stage for being able to apply even coats and end up with a beautifully stained floor.

Accurately assessing your skill level

Now that you know something about how to do the job, is this something you want to tackle? Be honest when it comes to evaluating your skills. Knowing something about how to sand and refinish hardwood floors is one thing, but actually, sanding and refinishing hardwood floors is something else.

Remember that even if you know how to sand a floor, it takes a certain amount of muscle and expertise to manage the task of floor sanding. Along with that, there?s cleaning to do throughout the process. You also need patience when it comes to refinishing hardwood floors. Without it, you could end up having to stop, try to undo what?s been done, and start all over again.

And the amount of time it would take you to refinish the floor

Let?s say you?re confident in your ability to manage each step. That?s great, but can you devote the time to this task? It?s not something you can rush through. If you have a busy job, a family, and any type of community commitment, doing one floor per weekend may be more than you can manage.

Be honest, and don?t assume everything will work out somehow. Look closely at the free time you have, and it it?s possible to get things done in a timely manner. If not, you will want to consider an alternative to doing the work yourself.

Making the decision to hire a professional

What?s that alternative? It?s hiring a professional contractor to evaluate the floor, identify exactly what must be done, and then come up with a quote for your consideration. Assuming you authorize the work, the contractor will bring in a team and get to work on those old hardwood floors.

Does that mean your effort to learn how to refinish wood floors was in vain? Not at all! It means you will find it easier to understand the contractor's process and why each recommendation is being made. That goes a long way toward making the project more manageable for everyone.

There is no doubt that old wood floors that are seeing the light of day for the first time in decades can be treasures. When you choose to restore hardwood floors, you do more than bring back another element and texture to your space. It also helps to enhance the character of your home and makes it more into what you want it to be. Call a contractor today and get started. With professionals on the job, you may be surprised at how quickly things come together.