Your 9 Step Guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floors

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How To Refinish Hardwood Floors Step by Step 

Hardwood floors usually last a lifetime in your home; they are an excellent investment that requires upkeep-just like anything else in your home. Over the years, it is entirely normal to notice some wear and tear on those oh so beautiful birchwood floors.

A few scratches and dents don’t mean you have to go out and purchase new hardwood floors! It’s likely that you just need to have your hardwood floors refinished.  

Are you curious about how the refinishing process goes?

Well, you have come to the right place, welcome to our step-by-step guide on how to refinish hardwood floors. 

Here are the steps that we are going to discuss:

  1. Remove the Shoe Base Molding
  2. Fixing Speaks and Creeks
  3. Sand the Floors
  4. Sweep and Vacuum Between Sands 
  5. Edges and Corners
  6. Screen Sand
  7. Dust Removal
  8. Staining Your Hardwood Floors
  9. Finishing your Hardwood Floors

Now, let’s talk about each step individually.

Step 1: Remove the Shoe Base Molding

Tools needed: pry bar, gloves, knee pads 

Shoe base molding is the quarter-round molding attached where the floor meets the wall. It is essential to remove it gently so that nothing breaks.

Begin by using a pry bar to pull it out and be sure to protect your baseboards with a piece of scrap wood. It is also a good idea to label each piece of wood as you go. The process will be much easier down the road when you are finished refining the wood.

If you don’t have base molding, skip to step number 2.

Step 2: Fixing the Squeaks and Creeks 

Tools needed: wood putty, 8d finishing nail, hammer, sliding blade 

Check the surface of your floor for any squeaks, creeks, or loose boards

Next, take your 8d finishing names and nail them into a floor joist. Hammer down any nails that are protruding. Then take your wood putty and fill in all holes by sliding the putty knife across the wood. 

Step 3: Sand the Floors 

Tools: drum sander

It’s a good idea to do a rough sand of your floors after the wood putty dries. A drum sander works best, and you may have to rent this piece of equipment if you don’t already have one. 

Make sure you replace the abrasive belt on the drum sander every 250 square feet.

You should begin by using a 36-40 grit sandpaper belt. Next slowing work your way to a 60 grit, then an 80 grit and lastly 100 grit sand. You must start with coarse sandpaper and move your way up to fine sandpaper for the best results. 

This process will help you eliminate scratches and stains. 

Step 4: Sweep and Vacuum Between Sands 

Tools: broom, dustpan, vacuum 

Sweeping and vacuuming between sands are vital. This step removes any dust or debris left over from the previous sand, which could scratch the results from your finer-grit paper. 

Step 5: Edges and Corners 

Tools: sanding edger

If you have never used a sanding edger before, it is a good idea to test out your skills on some scrap wood before beginning this step in the project. 

Begin by sanding all edges, closet floors, and hard to reach areas of your hardwood floors with the sanding edger. 

Make sure you use the same grade with the edger as you do while sanding your floors with the drum sander. 

Repeat the process by working your way up to the finer grain sandpaper, and be sure to sweep and vacuum between sands!

Step 6: Screen Sand

Tools: floor buffer fitted with a fine-grit screen pad

You may be thinking by now, this is a lot of sanding, but it is worth it. Keep going, and your floors will look like new by the time you’re finished. 

Going over your entire floor with a floor buffer will level out all minor unevenness leftover from the drum sander and edger. The floor buffer will also buff away all your unwanted scratches.

This machine really ties everything together, use it by making broad arcs across your floors to acquire a smooth surface. 

Step 7: Dust Removal

Tools: tack cloth, vacuum

Before we head to our next and final two steps, give your floors another solid sweep and vacuum. 

It is a good idea to go over your floors with a tack cloth as well; you want everything to be as dust-free as possible before applying stain and floor finish. 

Step 8: Staining Your Hardwood Floors

Tools: interior wood stain, foam applicator pad, rag

While refinishing your hardwood floors, you should work with one area of the room at a time. Try taking small sections of 3-4 square feet and move forward from there. 

It is important to always stain your floors in the direction of the wood grain. As you begin the process use a rag to wipe away any access stain as you go.

Step 9: Finishing your Hardwood Floors

Tools: wood finish, lambswool applicator

The last and final step is to go over your floors with a wood finish. Make sure you allow tie for the stain to dry before applying your wood finish.

There are a variety of wood finishes to choose from. We recommend using an oil-based polyurethane wood finish because it dries at a slower rate, which gives you more time to touch up or any mistakes. 

Apply your wood finish with a lambswool applicator

It’s a good idea to lightly sand your floors after the finish has dried, and repeat the process three times for best results. 

You can store the lambswool applicator in a tightly sealed plastic bag overnight and reuse it for your next coat!

Admire Your Hardwood Floors

The most important takeaway from this 9-step process is to take your time so that your hardwood floors remain beautiful for years to come. Once the work is done, relax, take a breather, get some fresh air, and love your newly finished floors.

If Finishing your hardwood floors seems like too big of a process for you, give District Floor Depot a call! Our professionals will be happy to come out and refinish your floors so that they are beautiful once more!

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