How to Refinish Wooden Floors

Refinishing your wooden floor can seem like a pretty big job, but it’s something which needs to be done every couple of years to keep them looking their best. While you don’t always need to sand them right down to get them looking their best, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure they look as good as possible and last a long time.

Here we’ll look at the best way to refinish wooden floors.

Clean the Floor

Before you start, clear out all the furniture form the room and spray they wood with a hardwood cleaner. You can also use your own mix of one part vinegar to 10 parts water (another use for vinegar!). Wipe the floor down with a towel wrapped around a mop head or a terry cloth mop. Close the windows and doors to help keep the dust contained within the room you’re refinishing.

Prepare the Outskirts

Work your way around the outside of the floor with 180 grit sandpaper, hand sanding any corners and any place which will be difficult to reach with the buffer. Aim to cover around 6 inches from the baseboards, as this should give you plenty of margin when you start to use the buffer. Try to avoid using a sanding block as it will miss the uneven parts of the floor.

Scuff Sand

Attach a maroon buffing pad to the buffer and move the machine from side to side across the floor, following the direction of the grain. You should aim to overlap each completed section by about 6 inches as you move from side to side – you’ll be able to tell the completed sections as the old finish will turn to powder. Try to keep the buffer in motion at all times, but stop every few minutes to vacuum the pad and keep it clean.

Vacuum & Tack

When you’ve finished with the buffer, leave the room for around 20 minutes to give the dust a chance to settle. Sweep the floor with a felt-bottomed broom, working in line with the flooring. Once you’ve done that, sweep across the floor to catch any powder trapped between the boards. Run the vacuum across the floor to pick up the majority of the remaining dust. Finally, use a micro-fibre cloth to dry-tack the floor, working with the grain.

Start at the Edges

Take the finish and strain it through a cone filter into a plastic watering can, then transfer a small amount to a plastic container. Work your way around the baseboards, starting at the furthest point from your door, and brush a 3 inch strip around the edge of the room. If the edge of this strip starts to dry you’ll end up with lap marks, so try not to spend more than 10 minutes before moving on to the next step.

Roll Out the Poly

Take the watering can and pour out a line of finish around an inch wide (in line with the grain). Use only as much as you can spread in 10 minutes as it will start to dry and spoil the finish. Use a long-handled roller to roll the finish with the grain, then across it. Work as fast as possible to keep the edge wet, and continually overlap each edge. Once 10 minutes has passed, pour out more and spend another 10 minutes rolling, repeating until the entire floor is covered.

You should leave it around 3 hours before adding a second coat, and wait around a week before you put the furniture back in the room.