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DIY Hardwood Floor Refinishing Made Easy

by Sara Cook

If you have hardwood floors in your home, it's important to take good care of them in order to maintain a beautiful look that's free of scratches and stains. Regular refinishing is required to keep them looking new and shiny. Rather than hiring a professional to refinish your hardwood floors, you can do it on your own, and it can usually be done in just a few days. Follow these easy steps to refinish your hardwood floors in no time.


Before you begin the process of refinishing, you'll need to remove everything out of the room. Mop and vacuum up any dust and debris on the floors. The first step of refinishing involves sanding the floors down, but it's important that they have not already been sanded too many times or else you may end up with dips and uneven flooring. You can tell if your wooden floors have been sanded too often if there are exposed nails or staples starting to show. Seal off doorways to prevent the dust from sanding getting into other rooms before you begin.

Sanding The Floors

Once the room is cleared, you can begin gently sanding the floors. An orbital sander is less rough on flooring and best for homeowners to use and can be rented or purchased from many hardware stores. Use a rough 20-30 grit sandpaper and begin to sand starting from one corner of the room, working your way out. After you've sanded the entire floor, repeat the process one more time using a lighter 100 grit sandpaper to help smooth the floor's surface. You may need to use a hand sander to help get into the smaller corner areas. Vacuum up the dust from sanding when you're finished.

Staining The Floors

Choose a wood stain that matches the floor's current color, or you can choose a new color if you're trying to achieve a completely different look. It's recommended that you start with a lighter color first to avoid going too dark, since you can always re-stain over the light color if you decide to go a bit darker. Make sure you wear rubber gloves to prevent the stain from getting on your hands, and a face mask so you won't breathe in chemicals. Use a good quality brush and apply one even coat over the entire floor, working from the inside outward.

Apply Polyurethane

After staining the floors, let them dry overnight and then apply a polyurethane coating over them to keep them shiny and protected. Be aware that this material catches hair and debris easily, so wear your hair back and put on a protective suit or wear clothing that doesn't produce a lot of lint. Apply the polyurethane using a three-inch wide brush, trying your best to prevent any bubbles from forming. This coating should take at least two full days to dry, so wait until it's completely cured to your hardwood floors before moving your furniture back in.

If you feel you cannot do this on your own, it is best to contact floor refinishing professionals, like those at Cooper Floors.