Refinishing Hardwood Floors - How To

Refinishing hardwood floors isn't hard to do, just time consuming.

Regardless of what type of wood, they can all be refinished.

Some are more difficult to sand than others, but it can all be done, using the same floor refinishing method.

If, you can commit some time, you can have a beautiful looking floor, that you can enjoy and save money at the same time.

So put your work wear on, and let's get started.

Warning - If you have a bad back or cardio issues, avoid sanding wood floors. You will injure yourself.

wood floor You've completed your new wood floor installation. Now, it's time to finish it.

Have you decided how you want your woodflooring to look like?

If, you haven't done so yet, visit the interior design idea page and our gallery for some ideas, then come back when your ready.

Whether, it's a natural wood floor look, or a stain look, you'll be able find one that suits you.

Refinishing Oak Wood Flooring

We're gonna focus on sanding Oak wood flooring.

This hardwood floor is common through out most homes in the U.S. And it's one of the easiest type of wood flooring to work with.

Refinishing hardwood floors consist of preparing the wood flooring, by sanding, then applying the wood floor finishes.

That's all, not much to it. So don't be overwhelmed.

This step by step guide will help get the job done.

Tool List

Flooring Tools needed:all tools can be rented

Drum or Belt Floor sander - Use to sand the body of the floor - refinishing hardwood floors.

Home centers offer 110v machine, which plugs into a wall outlet. It's not as powerful as a professional machine but will do the job, just requires extra time.

The floor sander can cause overloads on your breakers and fuses, use a 20 amp outlet, commonly located in kitchens and baths.

Industrial tool rental suppliers carry 220v machine, which are normally , wired directly to your electrical panel, with alligator clips. If, you're not sure about how to use alligator clips. Ask, if, they have twist and lock adapters for electrical dryers or ranges. These adapters will save you time, safe to use, and you'll avoid serious injury.

Edger - Floor edger are used for sanding along walls and small areas, where the drum sander can do. Such as Hallways, closets, stair treads and landings.

Under radiator sander - some home center may carry this. When, refinishing hardwood floors, use this tool to sand underneath cabinet toe kicks, low shelves, under baseboard heaters, radiators, and any hard to reach areas.

Hand scraper and file These tools have to be purchased, they're nice to have in the tool box. You'll need this tool, to clean up corners and any areas where the edger can not get to.

Floor buffer Use this tool with a 120 grit screen after sanding is complete, and in between coats, when refinishing hardwood floors. This machine will blend in the edger and the drum sander together, to prevent a picture frame effect. Use it to remove brush marks, bubbles and raised wood grains.

Vacuum After sanding wood floors, Clean, clean, clean, before finishing your hardwood floors

Microfiber tack mop This will make your finish smooth by removing fine dust particles that are not visible to the naked eye, when done properly. You can use this as a dry tack or wet tack.

Abrasives Use 60, 80, and 100 grit for drum, edger, and radiator sanders.

If your refinishing hardwood floors, that are older. You should use 36, 60, 80, 100 grit abrasive. If, they're really stubborn finishes, start with 15 or 20 grit sandpaper.

Use a new 120 grit screen, with a white cleaning pad for buffer after the wood floor sanding is complete. Then use the worn down screen for in-between coats. I recommend using a new piece of 150 grit screen prior to your final coat - Oil base polyurethane only.

100,and 220 grit for orbital sander.

Round orbital sander This tool is not necessary. You can always hand screen or buff, the edges, but if you don't like to work hard like me. Use the Orbital sander. Do not use a oscillating sander (square vibrating type), when, refinishing hardwood floors. They'll do more damage than good, sanding your wood floors

Mineral spirit For cleaning and tacking

Applicators Use a 4 inch bristle brush for coating along edges, a light lambs wool mop applicator for the body of the floor.

When, refinishing hardwood floors, it's important to purchase the right type of applicator, for the use with the proper wood floor finishes.

Avoid using a multi finish brush.

Ex. all-paints brush, which is used for latex and oil.

The wrong, type of brush, will prevent the wood floor finishes from leveling properly, resulting in brush marks.

Use the correct applicator, when refinishing hardwood floors, for the proper wood floor finishes.

Finish Stains, sealers, and polyurethane (latex or oil base) are the most common for wood floor finishes. There are other finishes like tung oil, floor wax, moisture cure, and Swedish finish (acid cure - illegal in some U.S. states).

Plastic and masking tape Use a low tack tape for those delicate surfaces. Seal off any areas that your not working in.

Consider a stick-on zipper, for those frequent traveled areas, to get in and out.


Before we begin the process of refinishing hardwood floors. Let's start with sealing off our work area with plastic and tape.

Set all our nails and apply wood putty in any necessary areas, like over nail holes and unwanted gaps.

You'll be repeating this process as the project progresses. It's okay if you missed some spots.

Some of the wood putty will be removed by the sanding, so I wouldn't worry to much, either.

although, the more you do now, it will save you time later. Just something to consider.

Click on a page to learn how to perform each operation.

Sanding The Body - How to use a Drum Sander

Sanding The Edges - how to use a floor edger

Sanding Under Radiators, Cabinets And Hard To Reach Areas

Hand scraping Corners And Edges

Fine Tuning The Edges And Corners

Buffing And Screening - how to use a buffer

Vacuum And Tack - how to clean

Now, we're ready to apply the wood floor finishes.

Applying Wood Floor Finishes

Learn sanding tricks and tips on refinishing hardwood floors on certain types of wood flooring like:

Antique Flooring

Reclaimed Heart pine Flooring

White Pine Flooring

Maple Hardwood, Birch, and Beech Hardwood Flooring

Brazilian Cherry, Santos Mahogany, Teak, And Ipe Wood Flooring

White Oak and Red Oak Hardwood Flooring

Repairing Common Wood Floor Sanding Issues

Too much work for you. Massachusetts residents looking for a flooring company. Contact us, for your project.

G and S woodfloors Lynn,Massachusetts

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