Refinish Your Wood Floors
Uncover the beauty in old hardwood flooring with a little patience and some great professional advice.
Synopsis: The ingredients needed to refinish a hardwood floor are straightforward: just a single coat of stain over a carefully sanded surface, a coat of sealer to lock in the stain, and two coats of polyurethane to provide the wear layer. But the job also requires the right tools used in the right sequence, and it demands as much patience as it does skill. Author Brent Kelosky explains his process for refinishing a wood floor, including how to handle damaged areas.
Although my company does all types of flooring installations, our bread and butter has always been refinishing worn hardwood. Our goal is to uncover the beauty under the decrepit surface of the floor, which involves no small amount of labor. When we arrived on-site for the job shown here, the wall-to-wall carpeting had already been removed, revealing 750 sq. ft. of severely worn red-oak flooring that appeared original to this old Pennsylvania farmhouse. Although we got back down to bare wood quickly, that’s just the beginning of a job like this.
The job took a two-person crew just under five days to complete and cost about $4.50 per sq. ft. in labor and materials. Refinishing a hardwood floor is an admittedly disruptive process, but you realize it’s worth it when you first set eyes on the results.
The materials are straightforward — just a single coat of stain, a coat of sealer to lock in the stain, and two coats of polyurethane to provide the wear layer — but breathing new life into an old wood floor takes a lot of patience. It all starts with sanding.
Sanding will make or break your job
Without question, the critical difference between a professional-looking finished floor and a poor attempt is how much care is taken during the sanding stage. Although you’re only…