How To Refinish Hardwood Floors In A Day? (9-Step Guide)

How To Refinish Hardwood Floors In A Day? (9-Step Guide)

When you first planned on having hardwood floors, the thought seemed to be perfect, but now you are struggling to get back its shine and freshness. Right? No doubt, it is the most durable and stylish form of flooring. 

In short, you shouldn’t regret the decision of having a hardwood floor, its cleaning is necessary, 

We know you are doing that regularly, but what to do when the floor is looking all dull and boring? The answer is refinishing hardwood floors. 

There are a number of stains and scratches on the floor. Some are of pet’s urine, or it’s nails, few are of ketchup spots and the worst is the stuck chewing on the floor. No matter what you do, it will either get worse or lighten, but perfection will not be there. Refinishing hardwood floors does sound a load of work and we won’t deny it. All we can do is help out with the situation.

So here in this article, we will explain how to refinish hardwood floors. As half of the world is stuck in the lockdown right down, (maybe your country is also in this state), you will have to DIY. We can’t say it’s easy to do, but if you have worked with machinery or have taken a keen interest in knowing the refinishing process, then you might get it.

How to Refinish Hardwood Floors:

Refinishing wood floors requires patience, time, tools, materials, and a bit of money-spending. After reading this step by step guide, first, try on the dummy wood piece to know if you have got the hold of machinery used in the project.

How To Refinish Hardwood Floors


Let’s get started. Be Attentive!

Time Required: A day

Costing: It varies according to the rent of the floor sanders and other materials and tools used.

Materials Needed:

Wood Fillers

Painter’s tape

Polyurethane floor finish

Sanding paper (60, 70, 80, or 100 grit)

Synthetic steel wool pads

Finishing nails

Tools Required:

Drum sander


Floor Buffer

Respiratory masks



Pry bar

Putty Knife

Vacuum cleaner

Roller tray

Cleaning rags

Long-handled roller or Lamb’s wool roller

Before we start off, the process is length will take a day (or more, according to your speed). Hence, remove all the furniture from the room and cover the entrance of the room using plastic and painter’s tape.

Step 1: Remove shoe molding and cover the room

Remove shoe molding


What is the shoe molding? It is a quarter-round molding attached to the wall where it meets the floor. Removing it is necessary as there are chances of damaging while using sanding machines.

Remove it with a pry bar. This way, you won’t cause any harm to the material used as well as the floor. Lastly, keep them aside safely and label it so that you can re-fix it without much confusion. 

You can also use painter’s tape to secure it if you don’t want to remove the shoe molding.

There are chances of not having a shoe molding, if this is the case then this article will be an 8-step guide for you!

Step 2: Fix if there’s any problem on the floor

Now before we start off with the process of refinishing hardwood floors, you must check about the squeaking of the floor. The scorching sound of the wood floor is damn irritative. 

The squeaky noise of the floor is due to the loosening of wood panels on the floor. So check for any protruding panel from the level, if any fix it by hammering an 8d nail.

Also, look for the loosened nails using the putty knife. Slide it across every corner of the floor if it gets stuck on any nail hammer the nail and settle it down. If necessary, you might have to change it.

After that, use the wood fillers to pack the little holes on the floor. The purpose of this step is to have a perfect base to work with and these little things can harm the machine too.

Step 3: Use the drum sander to remove the scratches and stains

drum sander


It’s okay not having a drum sander, you can always rent it from the stores. If this is your first time doing the refinishing on your own, renting is the best option, or else you can invest in it.

Using drum sander is not a cup of tea for anyone except professionals. So always start with the dummy wood piece for the practice.

Move it back and forth on the floor (and in the direction of the grain), to remove the scratches — overlap about 1/3 the belt width for the precision.

During drum sanding, you will have to use the sandpapers, start from 30 or 40 grit sandpaper, then move towards the finer grade (60, 80, and 100). The progression should be in order to get the scratches out accurately.

This is the most crucial step while fixing up the wood floors. Find using the machine difficult? Not getting a hold of it? That’s totally fine. There’s another option too, but it will take a lot of time, energy, and sandpapers.

Mark the places where there are scratches, now take sandpaper and rub over it, repeat the process by increasing the grits of the paper.  

Step 4: Do sweeping and use a vacuum cleaner

vacuum cleaner


After you have done the drum sanding (or maybe hand sanding), it’s time to clean up the dust. First, do the sweeping even from corners and then use a vacuum cleaner to soak up the tiniest dust particle.

Step 5: Use an edger to work on small sections

how to refinish hardwood floors


Edges and small areas tend to be stubborn than any other section. Drum sander did its work correctly, but these not-so-noticeable areas save themselves from getting cleaned.

For that, the edger is the solution. Just like, drum sander edger can also be challenging to use, (first practice it on the dummy piece, as usual).

Use an edger on the corner or small sections to remove the remaining scratches starting with coarse paper and then moving towards the finer grade. You can skip this step if you have done the hand sanding. 

Step 6: Use the floor buffer for the even area

how to refinish hardwood floors


When decorating a cake, we always give a final touch after adding the cream. The purpose is to get the even surface to work on, right? The floor buffer does the same work.

The next step is using a floor buffer to remove the unevenness left behind by drum sander or edger. It will make broad arcs on the floor for the smoothness. 

The floor buffer comes with the fine grade of the screening pad to do the work. This step will add a quick charm to the floor, and you are ready to move towards the final step.

Step 7: Follow the fourth step

Step 4 is sweeping and vacuum cleaning, the motive behind it to make it dirt-free. The next step is giving the finishing to the floor, so make sure you get rid of even the tiniest debris on the floor, in-between the wood panels, sides, and every corner.

Do the thorough sweeping beforehand and then work with the vacuum cleaner for the accurate results.

Step 8: Apply stain and remove the excess

how to refinish hardwood floors


This is the step from where your floor will get the brand new look, so be careful and use the best products available. Get the wood paintbrush, stain, (put on) respiratory face mask, and start the work. 

Now while selecting the wood stain, there are several color options available, choose the one that will go best with your wooden flooring. 

This step also requires a process to follow, stain the floor in the direction of wood grain, work at a particular area at a time, and let the wood soak it. 

Wait for few minutes and remove the excess using a paper towel, cotton cloth, or synthetic steel wool pads. 

Step 9: Apply polyurethane floor finish

how to refinish hardwood floors


Pheww!!… Last step.

Here you are going to work with the floor finish to get the shiny and new-like look. Use polyurethane floor finish for the better results.

After the stain is dried and you have removed the excess, get a roller tray, fill floor finish in it, and then take a long-handled lamb wool roller to apply the first coat. As soon as it dries off, sand the floor with 220 grit sandpaper or steel wool and vacuum-up the dust.

A quick tip: There are two types of finishes available, water-based and oil-based. The first one dries quickly while the latter one takes time to dry. When using a water-based floor finish, you will have to struggle to get a smooth surface, while the other one will allow you enough time to get it.

Whichever finish you are using, see the user guidance to know about the number of coats to apply, it can vary from two to four. 

How To Refinish Hardwood Floors


Enjoy Family Time on Refinished Hardwood Floors:

This was the whole process to make your hardwood floor look newly installed. You have removed all the stains and scratches that were visible on the grounds. To avoid having them as a guest in the future, you can place a rug on the floor. 

Want to show your wood flooring? No worries, cover it around the dining space, or place the carpet under the coffee table. This way, the chances of anything getting anything spilled directly on the floor will reduce. Haven’t you heard the phrase, ‘Precaution is better than cure.’

For more information on maintaining your house to its best level, visit InnovativeDecorIdeas.

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