The refinishing of hardwood floors is a terrific way to make a space feel brand new, whether you’re renovating an old house or simply searching for a new approach to freshen up your current residence.
Examine the extent of the damage to your floors. Depending on whether you have tiny dents and dings or a poor finish, you may be able to simply buff the surface and apply a fresh coat of varnish.
However, even if your floors require a complete overhaul, refinishing hardwood floors is a manageable and enjoyable do-it-yourself project that may save you a significant amount of money.
To refinish floors, a professional will often charge somewhere between $3 and $4 per square foot. Depending on the size of the house (2,000 square feet), this might result in a charge of up to $8,000.
In as little as four days, for a total cost of under $700, it is possible to build a whole 2,000-square-foot home.
Are you prepared to take on the project?
These steps will guide you through the process of refinishing hardwood floors to achieve a professional-quality finish.
THERE’S A CHANCE THAT YOUR FLOOR IS NOT REAL HARDWOOD, BUT AN IMPOSTER.
Finding out what sort of hardwood flooring you have is the first step in properly restoring your hardwood floors.
This may seem obvious, but there are many different types of flooring that seem like hardwood but are actually made up of other materials in part or whole, and each one necessitates a different refinishing procedure.
The first hardwood mimic is laminate, which comes in a variety of colors.
Planks of Laminate Flooring Natural wood-look flooring is constructed of synthetic materials that are laminated and embossed with a grain pattern to give it the appearance and texture of real wood.
It’s usually rather simple to tell if your flooring is made of laminate because it just feels like a hard plastic when you walk on it.
It is practically impossible to refinish laminate, however, there are several methods of recoating that use chemical abrasives that can be used to get the desired result.
These procedures, on the other hand, are a long shot, and the flooring professionals at The Good Guys do not advocate them.
Engineered wood floors are another option for solid hardwood flooring.
They are constructed of a thin layer (or veneer) of hardwood that is glued to a layer of a less expensive material, usually plywood.
It is probably possible to refinish this flooring once or twice, but you must make sure that the layer of actual hardwood is thick enough to sand down without reaching the plywood subflooring underneath.
It is common practice to use roughly 1/8″ of veneer when refinishing engineered hardwoods.
You may be able to get away with a somewhat thinner veneer, but you run the danger of accidentally sanding through the veneer and exposing plywood, which would be an irreversible mistake that would force you to either live with an unsightly exposed region on your floor or replace it entirely.
Finally, because solid hardwood floors are constructed from a single piece of wood, they make the finest candidates for refinishing projects.
Even with this material, though, you must make certain that there is enough of the plank left to securely sand a small portion of the surface away.
You normally want at least 3/4″ of the surface left to attempt a full resurfacing in this situation.
If your floor has a finish, this can also have an impact on how well it will hold up to subsequent refinishing.
It would be more difficult to restore a solid hardwood floor with a machine- or hand-scraped finish since the wear layer would have been removed in greater quantities.
Wood floors with a smooth finish can be refinished up to five or even six times, though the daily activity and wear and tear on hardwood flooring in most homes would prevent this level of upkeep from being required in most cases.”
DETERMINING WHETHER YOUR HARDWOOD FLOOR CAN WITHSTAND RESTORATION
Generally speaking, a typical solid hardwood floor can be refinished four or five times before it needs to be replaced, so if you are familiar with the history of your floor, you may not need to measure its remaining thickness.
Because cheaper options will have a minimal veneer that will not even withstand one refinishing round, engineered hardwood floors can be more difficult to determine their thickness.
If you have a receipt, a box, or the model number of the flooring that was installed, you may be able to find out how thick the floors were, to begin with.
Even if they had 1/8″ of veneer when they were first installed, they can normally be resurfaced up to two more times, while 3/16″ options can be resurfaced three or even four more times before replacing them becomes the more cost-effective alternative.
Because engineered wood floors have thinner wear layers than solid wood floors, it is not recommended to machine- or hand-scraped the finish while refinishing them.
Three Low-Cost Options for Refinishing OR Restoring Hardwood Floors
The wood flooring industry in the United States was valued at $4.6 billion in 2019, and it was predicted to rise by 1.5 percent in the following years.
The increased desire for aesthetically beautiful and long-lasting flooring materials such as hardwood was the driving force behind this increase in demand.
Despite the fact that they can withstand dust, dents, and scratches, hardwood floors eventually lose their luster if they are not properly maintained.
When it comes to giving their old hardwood floors a fresh look, most homeowners believe that sanding, staining, and resealing them is the only option.
However, the amount of wood dust produced by these undertakings is significant.
The majority of scratches are on the surface of the vehicle and can be readily repaired within a single day of the refinishing operation.
First and first, it’s critical to understand the type of hardwood flooring you’re dealing with before you begin working on them.
Wood will respond differently to different solutions, therefore it’s critical to use the proper chemical combination when treating it.
To be certain that the solutions will adhere to a certain surface, you can always do an experiment on a tiny section of the floor.
Materials + Instruments
- floor sander using a drum or belt (rent from a home improvement store)
- sander with an edger (rent a home improvement store)
- pry bar of a small size
- pliers with a needle-nosed tip
- painter’s tape is a type of masking tape.
- sheets made of plastic
- wood patch or full trowel filler (depending on the application)
- A spackle knife is a type of knife that is used to spackle a surface.
- Protective eyewear and a respirator mask are recommended.
- sandpaper in four different grades to accommodate each sander: 40, 60, 80, and 120 grit
- pole for sanding
- sanding screen with a 120-grit rating
- vacuum cleaner for shops
- tack cloth (plural)
- alcohol that has been denatured
- stain with an oil base (optional)
- Applicator pads for stain (optional)
- foam roller with a smooth surface
- Pads made with #2 fine steel wool
1. Using an Abrasion Kit Purchased from a Store
Online or at your local home improvement store, you may get chemical abrasion kits quickly and affordably.
Although each manufacturer may have a somewhat different name for their kit, all of them have the instruments necessary for a high-quality flooring finish.
This procedure makes use of a particular chemical that prepares the floor and etches away the old finish in order for the new finish to adhere to it.
After that, a new coat will be applied to the floor in order to restore its luster.
Each kit includes simple-to-read documentation to verify that you are doing everything correctly, but here is a fast step-by-step guide to assist you in completing the refinishing process as effectively as possible.
Remove any furniture, fixtures, and other items from the room that might come in the way of the job.
Scrub the floor with the liquid abrasive once it has been applied.
Alternatively, the abrasive pad can be attached to the handle of a broom, or it can be applied by hand.
Just make sure you’re wearing appropriate protective gear and clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty.
To clean the floor, use one gallon of water mixed with two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and a scrub brush.
As a precaution, make sure that the mop you are using is only slightly damp to avoid causing water damage to your flooring.
Apply more stain to the scratched area until it is consistent with the rest of the floor.
Using a rag, blot the surface to combine the colors. After the stain has dried completely, apply a thin coating of the finishing coat included in the box.
Apply a fresh coat of finish to the floor. Complete this step as quickly as possible because the solution dries quickly, making it harder to smooth out the finished product.
Wait until the finish to dry before moving on. It is customary to wait at least 24 hours before bringing the furniture items into the house to avoid ruining the newly applied finish.
2. Recoat with Polyurethane Solution (optional).
This procedure is similar to that of using an abrasion kit in that it entails roughing up the floors before putting a fresh finish to them.
Instead of utilizing an abrasive liquid, this method necessitates the rental of a buffer from a home improvement store close to where you are working.
Because buffing is akin to sanding, it is more difficult to clean up than chemical kits.
The dust produced by this process is significantly increased; thus, covering all fixtures and furniture pieces with fabric.
Buffing, on the other hand, just roughens up the surface in order to remove the current finish.
This makes it possible for the new finish to bond more effectively with the hardwood flooring. The following is the procedure for recoating the flooring using a polyurethane solution:
Planning the project before renting a buffer from your local home improvement store will ensure that you get the most value out of your investment.
It’s also a good idea to ask for instructions on how to utilize the instrument.
Move all of the furniture pieces to a different part of the house after you’ve cleaned the space.
Cleaning ensures that the floor is free of any dirt that could interfere with the finish’s ability to adhere to the surface properly.
While you’re cleaning your floors, make a note of any problem spots that have a stripped finish, dents, or deep scratches on them.
Mineral spirits should be used to problem areas after they have been cleaned to darken them.
To better match the grain of the hardwood, it is preferable to use two separate stain colors rather than one.
In order to avoid damage to the buffer, be sure that all nails are properly buried before starting work.
Because the buffer won’t reach the corners of the room or regions near the baseboard, it’s best to rough up these areas by hand rather than using a buffer.
After everything has been cleaned and the corners of the room have been roughened, place a sanding screen beneath the buffer. Finished!
If you are buffing, you will generate a great deal of dust, so be sure that the workspace is properly sealed. When working with the buffer, always remember to wear a dust mask.
Vacuum the room and wipe the floors when you’ve finished using the buffer.
The polyurethane finish should be applied to the floor. Utilize either an oil-based or a water-based urethane for this application.
3. Using a Revitalizer to revitalize your skin
If the floors just show minor symptoms of wear and tear, a revitalizer will be sufficient to restore them to their original appearance.
This is a solution that may be found in home improvement stores.
Beyond restoring the sheen to dull hardwood floors, it also fills in scratches and provides a glossy finish to the flooring, making them look new again.
In order to apply a revitalizer gloss at home, follow these steps:
Clean the floor with water and vinegar to ensure that there isn’t too much grime and dust left behind.
To avoid water damage to your wood floors, use only a moist mop when cleaning.
Following a thorough cleaning, the revitalizer will have an easier time seeping into the scratches and pores of the hardwood.
Following the directions on the package, apply the revitalizer gloss to your face and neck. Using a mop, spread the solution evenly across the surface.
Check to see that the finish has dried completely before re-arranging all of the furniture in the space.
Our Final Thoughts
Many professional floor refinishers employ equipment that includes heavy-duty dust removal attachments, which help to protect your home from becoming a smoky mess while they are working.
Professional screening costs between $1 and $3 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the job. A comprehensive sanding, staining, and refinishing job costs between $2 and $4 per square foot of surface.
Frequently Ask Questions
What is the best way to restore hardwood floors?
First and foremost, give your floor a thorough cleaning.
Following that, follow the directions on the revitalizer package to apply it.
Spread the revitalizer evenly on the floor with your mop.
Once the revitalizer has been applied evenly throughout the room, allow it to dry completely before moving furniture back into position or allowing foot circulation on the flooring.
What is the best way to refinish my hardwood floors without sanding them?
Wood floors that have not been sanded are the greatest candidates for refinishing with a procedure known as screen and recoat.
This involves scuffing up the finish with a floor buffer and putting a new coat of finish on the surface.
What is the best way to clean old, damaged wood floors?
A tiny amount of hardwood cleaner should be sprayed over the floor, followed by a dry terry cloth mop or dust mop to thoroughly clean the surface.
To clean a floor that has been stained or marked with scuff marks, use mineral spirits to remove the stains or marks and then mop the area thoroughly to remove any remaining residue.