Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

 – Hardwood floors serve their primary purpose in any home by simply being there. While this flooring type is durable, it is also susceptible to traffic and other wear and tear which, over time, may mean time for a refinish. A hardwood floor refinishing project is doable for anyone with a little research, preparation, money, time and technique.


Begin by assessing the condition of your hardwood floor. Look at the type of finish as well as determining the thickness and age of the hardwood floor boards. If it is an older hardwood floor and has already been sanded, then the way that you refinish will vary a little bit from a hardwood floor that has never been finished. Watching YouTube videos, asking questions at your local hardware store and reading on-line articles are a good place to start.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors


Spend time preparing to refinish the floor rather than jumping right in. The last thing that you want to do is be rushed and trying to do the whole project in a day (or even a weekend). It also involves doing a little homework too! But with a little research, some time and hard work, you can have beautiful looking hardwood floors. Whether you plan on doing it yourself or hiring a professional, refinishing hardwood floors can be done on a budget and also add value back into your home.

While newer hardwood floors are thinner, older hardwood floors are sometimes several inches thick (yes, they don’t make things the way they used to). If a hardwood floor is less than 1/4 inch thick, then it may not be able to be sanded and refinished. In order to measure the thickness, you can look around the floor vents or around the edges of the room. If your floor falls under the category of being too thin, then you should consult a professional or replace the flooring altogether.


If you do some of the prep work, it will help the project’s budget as well as saving the pro some time. The overall condition of the hardwood floor and the square footage that you are refinishing are the key factors in determining the cost to making this home improvement job a reality. Obviously, it will be less expensive if you plan to do it yourself whereas a professional may charge up to $3 to $4 per square foot for a complete refinishing job.


If you are looking into refinishing your hardwood floor as a Do It Yourself (DIY) project, you need to do your homework and allow time. It’s typically not just a matter of it being a weekend project and then done as it is a whole process (think moving furniture, sanding, cleaning/prepping, staining and treating). You may encounter little bubbles, uneven staining and other common issues so look online for tips and take them to heart rather than learning everything on the flying and having regrets. Once you have completed the hardwood floor refinishing, you must allow ample drying time before moving furniture in and traffic in the area. A minimum of a 24-hour drying time is recommended for the area to cure.  Some finishes take three days and some oil-based poly can take about a week to cure.


In order to prep the floor, make sure that there are no nails sticking out, anything stuck to the floor or any missing boards. If there are any dents or scratches, then look into applying wood putty.  If any stains are seen, then additional sanding may be necessary.

Next, determine what type of refinishing treatment is needed. Drop a spoonful of water onto the floor and observe to see if the floor either soaks it in or if the water beads up on top of the floor.  You may have more work to do depending upon what happens.

Although each of us has our favorites when it comes to finishes, when you are refinishing a hardwood floor you are limited a little bit more than just installing a completely new one. You will need to find a finish that matches the wood and also decipher which type of finish removal is appropriate based on the hardwood floor type. There are a lot of options out on the market today ranging from a varnish (colored or clear), linseed, stain, tung oil covered with wax or a polyurethane coating.

Some hardwood floor refinishing can be pretty daunting if you don’t have the experience and equipment to complete it. While in most cases your can rent a drum sander, orbital sander or a buffer, it can still be a big process. A refinished wood floor is within reach with a little planning and preparation.

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Rick Toney

View posts by Rick Toney
Rick Toney Is A Seasoned Real Estate Professional With Over 25 Years Of Real Estate Experience, Writes A Weekly Real Estate Blog And Is A Principal of Blue Moon Realty Group And Mesa Realty Advisors. Blue Moon Realty Group Is A Residential Redevelopment Company Specializing In The Purchase And Renovation Of Older And Physically Distressed Homes (Flip This House Boston). Mesa Realty Advisors Is An Affordable Housing Developer Specializing In The Redevelopment Of Existing Low-Income Housing Properties. Rick Is A Certified Public Accountant (CPA - Retired) In The State Of California, A Certified Property Manager (CPM - Retired) And A Real Estate Broker In The States Of California (Retired) And Massachusetts.

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