Many people think that refinishing hardwood floors is a heavy-duty task that requires professional care. However, it can certainly be a do it yourself kind of home improvement project. Overtime, the finish on a hardwood floor can begin to wear off. This leaves the wood exposed to any and all elements many of which can be damaging to the surface. That is why refinishing is such an indispensable part of maintaining the luster and lifespan of a hardwood floor.
So the question remains: how to refinish hardwood floor? The first step is to clear out the area that you want to refinish. Carefully examine the floor to make sure it is clean and bare. Any popped nail heads or staples need to be dealt with, either removed or put back in place. Many home improvement stores have equipment available to rent, including floor sanders. Renting a sander would be the best option.
Then comes the difficult manual labor aspect. It is particularly valuable to keep the sander moving at all times. If it is left in place for too long, it can sand the floor too much, making it too thin or even ruining the floor all together. They are heavy machines and should be used with considerable caution. Always be sure to receive instruction from a trained professional on how to use the machine before using it at home. Also, be sure to be stocked on sandpaper of various grit sizes.
Start by running the coarsest sandpaper over the entire area. Keep the strokes over the floor as even and steady as possible. Try not to vary the speed too much so that to floor sands evenly. Also, be sure to sand parallel to the grain of the wood, running perpendicular can cause damage to the floor. If there is a mistake while sanding, use long even strokes over the area to smooth it out and make it as even as possible.
Use a vacuum to clean the sanded wood when one round is complete. Next, switch to a finer grain of sand paper to smooth out any dents or deep scratches. Do this until all blemishes are corrected. It is recommended that one wear a mask throughout the sanding process to prevent respiratory irritation. Continue using a finer and finer grain of sandpaper over the floor until the floor feels smooth.
The next step, if desired is to stain the floor. Be sure that all saw dust is cleared away before proceeding. Staining is not necessary to protecting the wood, but is recommended for those who wish the floor to be a different color than the natural wood. If the natural wood color is acceptable, then the finish can be applied.
Polyurethane finish can be purchased at any home improvement store. Be sure to stir the finish, do not shake it. Shaking the can will create bubbles which will make the finish uneven and messy. Then apply the finish with a roller or brush along the grain of the wood using even strokes. Allow the finish to dry thoroughly before applying a second coat. Let the finish dry overnight, and set for a few days before replacing furniture in the room. With a little determination, every room can be refinished without hiring help.