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How to make wood floors look new again with these simple tips

Updated on March 15, 2010

Refinishing wood floors is not as easy as some may want to believe.  The key is patience and making sure that you prepped the floors properly before refinishing them.  As along as you have prepped properly and are willing to be very patient, refinishing your floor should not be a problem.  If you want professional results, you should hire professional contractors to do the work for you though.

If you decided that you can refinish your wood floor on your own, in a do-it-yourself fashion, you will need a few tools synonymous with flooring and follow a few simple steps.

First Step- Rent a sander

The first thing that you will need is a sander.  You could go out and purchase one but the better option would be to rent one over a weekend from your local hardwood store or home improvement rental shop.  The other option which would take much more time is to hand sand the floors....something that is very time consuming and made for the type A personalities out there that want picture perfect floors.  Hand sanding a floor could take days, not a couple hours that you can invest with using a floor sander.

I suggest going with a drum sander over the disc sander because the drum sander sands more evenly and goes with the wood grain of the floor.  Once you get the sander home, you will want to test it out and get used to the "flow" of the machine before you begin sanding.  Pay real close attention to how it works and feels because once you begin sanding, you can't get the floor back if you sand it down too much.

Second Step:  The wood floors have to be clean....

The second step is to completely clean the floors.  What I like to do is to first do a run over the floor with a broom and then vacuum the floor and finally mopping it with a dry but damp mop using a cleaner specifically made for wood floors.

Third Step:  Sand the floors

One of the tougher things to do is to get the right amount of pressure evenly across the floors.  This requires a lot of patience and you will want to go very slowly at first until you get accustomed to the sander.

Go with the wood grain and use a power sander in the places around vents and corners that the sanding machine couldn't reach.

Once you have sanded the room, you will want to sweep up the dust and debris that the sander left and see if you are happy with the results.  If you aren't, you can do another sweep of the room with the sander and repeat as much as you want.  Just remember.  The more you sand the more floor you lose.

Fourth Step:  Clean the floors thoroughly before applying the stain

This is a crucial step and you will want to take as much time as you can to ensure that the wood floor is as clean as possible.  You don't want any dust on the floor before you begin staining.  Typically, I will sweep, mop, vacuum and repeat until I am satisfied.

The final step is actually applying the stain.  This is the easiest of the steps.  You will apply an even coat of the stain and then a clear protective coat over that.  Let it dry.  Once dry, you add another coat of stain to your floors if you want.  In fact, you can add as many as you want.  The one thing to consider is that the finish has to be dry before you reapply the finish.

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