DIY: Hardwood Floor Refinishing


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Refinishing hardwood floors takes some effort, but it is well worth it. Hardwood flooring increases the value of your property. It also provides a timeless appeal that complements any décor.

This project is a terrific way to make a space feel brand new, whether you are renovating an old house or just searching for a method to liven up your current residence. Examine the state of your floors. You might be able to buff and apply a new coat of varnish if you only have minor scratches and dings or a dull finish. Even if your floors are in desperate need of a makeover, refinishing hardwood floors is a simple and enjoyable do-it-yourself project that may save you a lot of money.

To begin, how much does it set you back to sand and refinish hardwood floors on your own? Expect to pay less than $500 per 275 square feet if you DIY your hardwood floors per square foot. The typical price range is from $1,000 to $2,400. Renting sanding equipment as well as purchasing sanding pads, wood stains, brushes, and finish are all included in the overall cost.

Is refinishing or replacing hardwood flooring less expensive?

Refinishing hardwood floors is almost always less expensive than replacing them. With the latter, you’d be paying not only for the new wood but also for the work involved in tearing out and hauling away the old.

1. Cleaning the Floor


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  • Take all of the furniture out of the room and saturate the floor in a hardwood flooring cleaner or a homemade solution of 10:1 water and white vinegar.
  • Use a terry-cloth mop or a towel wrapped around the head of a mop to gently wipe the floor.
  • Keep the room you’re sanding dust-free by closing the windows and doors.

2. Preparing the Room

  • Hand-sand the perimeter of the room and any crevices that the buffer can’t reach with 180-grit sandpaper.
  • Rub each board with the grain 4 to 6 inches away from the baseboard until a powder forms as the finish dulls.

3. Sanding the Floor Finish


Photo: The Family Handyman

  • Use a maroon buffing pad on the buffer and do not forget to wear a dust mask.
  • Move the buffer across the floor from side to side, with a 6-inch gap between each course following the grain’s path.
  • As you go, the old finish disintegrates into powder, making it easier to see where you have covered.
  • Always keep the buffer moving, but vacuum the pad every 5 minutes or so.

4. Vacuuming

  • Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the powder to settle in the room.
  • Replace the vacuum filter with a new and clean one. Using a felt-bottomed attachment, sweep the floor.
  • Sweep through the flooring strips to remove any powder that has harbored between the boards.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to dry-tack the floor with the grain.

5. Start with the Edges

  • Wear booties over your shoes and a respirator with organic vapor canisters over your nose and mouth.
  • Pour some strained finish into a small plastic container after straining the finish through a cone filter into a clean plastic watering can without a sprinkler head.
  • Paint a 3-inch-wide stripe alongside the baseboards closest to your exit door.
  • You will have lap marks if the edge of the stripe starts to dry. So after 10 minutes, stop and move on to the next level.

6. Roll-Out the Rest


Photo: LV Hardwood Flooring

  • Apply a 1-inch-wide stripe of finish to the grain. Pour out only as much as you can distribute in the span of 10 minutes.
  • Apply the finish grain-side down and then across. Use a long-handled roller with a 14-inch nap cover for this.
  • Work swiftly and overlap each pass to maintain a moist edge.
  • After some minutes, apply another coat of finish to the edge, then pour and roll for 10 minutes more. Repeat until the entire floor is coated.
  • Wait about 3 hours before repainting and a week before replacing furnishings.
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