refinish hardwood floorsWhen you refinish hardwood floors, you’re merely taking advantage of one of the best aspects of these investments. Hardwood floors can last more than a lifetime. In fact, you may want to learn how to refinish a hardwood floor in a house where they were installed long before you were born. This is one of the most rewarding home improvement projects, especially when you have beautiful floors hiding under old, ugly carpet. You do have to pay attention to safety while you’re doing this, and you might get to use a new piece of equipment in the process, which can be fun.

How to Refinish

To refinish hardwood floors you’ll need to get the scratches and other damage out of the surface. You do this by sanding it down; preferably you’ll rent a floor sander (usually a drum sander) so that the job is consistent. You’ll also need several different grits of sandpaper. You can ask the store that you rent the equipment from about the best grit sandpaper to use. Generally, you’ll want four grits, from very rough to very fine. Move the sander with the grain of the wood. There is a specific type of floor sander made to refinish along the edges and in the corners of the room, and it’s a good idea to rent one of these as well.

refinish hardwood

You’ll want to get the surface as smooth as possible before you start refinishing. Be willing to invest the time in this. If you happen to make a dent or a scratch in the wood, simply sand it out to restore the surface. Refinishing hardwood floors works best if you’re clean about it. When you change the sandpaper on your floor sander, also vacuum up the sawdust left over. You’ll have to do this before you start the last two processes required to refinish, anyway, so it’s easier if you keep the area as free from dust as possible. If you start out with newly installed unfinished hardwood floors, you may be able to skip this step.

Staining and Sealing Are Crucial

The stain and the sealant are the most hazardous parts when proceeding to refinish the flooring, due to the fumes. Make sure you ventilate the area properly. Use fans to keep the fumes moving out of the house. Before you begin the process, you may want to get a respirator to protect against the fumes. Because you’ll have your head low while you’re doing this, you’re more at risk of being affected by them. If you feel a headache, light-headed or nauseous, get out of the room and let it air out for a while. Apply the stain you use for your hardwood floor refinishing job along the grain, using a brush or cloth.

The last job required in hardwood floor refinishing is applying the sealant, polyurethane being the most common. This will require two coats. Apply the first coat with a brush or roller, let it dry for about three or four hours and then apply the final coat. This is the longest part of refinishing hardwood floors. Let this final coat dry for about three days before returning the room to normal use. With a good sealant applied and proper care, a wood floor can last for many years, even for generations. You may find the lasting beauty of your refinished hardwood flooring to be the most rewarding part of the job, should you decide to refinish hardwood floors yourself.

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