Understanding Flooring Options

Outdated Hardwood Floors? How To Give Them New Life

by Vincent Hoffman

Hardwood floors are gorgeous and can be long-lasting if cared for properly. Even if your hardwoods aren't exactly the color or look you had imagined having in your home, you can refinish them with a new stain to match with your decorative taste and to give them new life. See below for instructions on how to refinish your hardwood floors:

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Floor sander
  • Course grit sandpaper
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Stain brush (bristle or foam)
  • Long-handled staining tool
  • Stain
  • Shop vacuum
  • Broom
  • Plastic
  • Painter's tape

Instructions:

  1. Start by removing everything from the floor you are planning on refinishing. You may want to take items off of the walls as well, as the room will be quite dusty after sanding.
  2. Next, take off the baseboards from around the room and set them aside to be used again later (or toss them if you plan on replacing them). To take them off, use a pry bar and hammer to gently remove them.
  3. Once the room is clear, seal off vents using plastic and painter's tape. Seal off the room openings with plastic and painter's tape as well, as the dust will be everywhere in your home if you don't do something to control it. Open up windows in the room to help ventilate it.
  4. Take the floor sander (which can be rented from your local tool rental shop), and the course grit sandpaper to sand down the floors. Be sure the machine is level when using it so it doesn't damage the floors, then sand down the old stain (or paint) from your floors. Use a respirator when doing any type of sanding, as well as protective eye-wear.
  5. Go over the entire floor using the coarse grit sandpaper, then use the shop vacuum to vacuum up the dust and to inspect the floors. If you spot any damage such as deep scratches, you can use wood filler to fill in the area, then allow it to dry before sanding it smooth.
  6. Next, take the fine grit sandpaper to go over your floors to help smooth them out and make them even all the way across.
  7. Take the shop vacuum to again vacuum up the dust in the room. If you have any areas close to the wall that you weren't able to reach with the floor sander, you may need to use a palm sander to sand these areas.
  8. Once you have the floors sanded smooth, you can use the stain to stain your floors. Go over the perimeter of the room with a stain brush, then apply the rest of the stain evenly across (working with the grain) to cover the rest of the floors.
  9. Allow the first coat to dry, then add a second or third if needed. Be sure the floors are completely dry before applying another coat. The more coats you apply the darker the stain.
  10. Once the floors are stained to your liking, you can add a clear polyurethane (optional) to the floors to help seal the stain and to protect your floors from damage. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to apply the polyurethane. 

Before adding your furniture back into the room, be sure you allow the floors to dry and set for at least 48 hours to prevent damaging your new floors. Add floor protectors to the bottom of your furniture to protect your floor from getting scratched if your furniture gets moved across it.

If you aren't up to this task of refinishing your floors, it's best to hire a professional. This can be a big job, as well as a dirty one. Leave it to the pros if you aren't sure. Contact a company like Costen Floors Inc for more information and assistance. 

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