3 Things You Should Know Before Attempting To Refinish Your Hardwood Floors Yourself

6 April 2015
 Categories: , Articles


Refinishing a hardwood floor is not as simple as buffing it out and placing a new layer of varnish on it. In fact, there are usually five important steps involved with this type of project. If you fail to complete all the steps, or if you do not complete them properly, your hardwood floor might look horrible when you are finished with the job. You can save money doing the work yourself, but here are three things you should be aware of before you start.

Floor Must Be Inspected And Prepared

The first step in refinishing hardwood is inspecting it. As you inspect it, you will need to determine exactly how much of the wood is damaged. This can be hard to do and can be misleading if you do not know what to look for. Inspecting a wood floor is necessary because it will dictate what procedures are used to refinish it.

To properly inspect a floor, you will have to scrape off a small section of the topcoat on the wood. If your wood floor is shiny, the shine is from the topcoat material. As you look for damage in the floor, you might find that only the topcoat is worn out, or you could realize that the damage extends into the actual bare wood.

Replacing the topcoat is much easier than refinishing the floor if the bare wood is damaged. You should also realize that if you the bare wood is damaged and you only replace the topcoat, your floor will not be refinished properly.

Screening Might Be Sufficient

If the inspection reveals that you only need to replace the topcoat, you can do this with a process called screening. Screening is something that involves removing only the shiny top covering of your wood. This process is completed with a floor buffing tool, and it will not remove the varnish from the wood. After the floor is buffed, a layer of clear coat is applied to the floor.

Complete Refinishing Is The Other Option

When screening is not enough, the process of refinishing your hardwood floors will be harder, more time-consuming, and more costly. To do this, the floors will need to be completely sanded. This is normally completed with a large sanding tool, but it can take a long time to complete an entire floor.

When a floor is sanded, not only will the topcoat be removed, but the sander will also remove the varnish from the floor. Sanding involves removing the top layer of the wood floor, leaving the floor bare and raw.

After the sanding is complete, there are still several remaining steps that must be done, and these are:

  1. Fill in cracks – To ensure that the floor will be even and smooth, all cracks and holes in the floor must be filled in with wood putty. The putty must be dry before moving on to step two.
  2. Stain the floor – Because sanding removes the entire finish, you must stain the wood floor, and you will be able to choose any color stain you prefer. After the floor is stained, another layer of stain may be needed if the color is not dark enough or even. If another layer of stain is needed, the floor must be lightly sanded first.
  3. Finish the floor – Finishing the floor involves adding a layer of topcoat, which is normally polyurethane, but there are other options too.

If you want to make sure that your hardwood floor looks great after it is refinished, it might be worth the money to hire this out. You can call a flooring company that offers wood floor finishing services to learn more.