What Should I Know About Refinishing Hardwood Floors?

What should I know about refinishing hardwood floors? Paying people to do a bad job of sanding and refinishing hardwood floors. Your hardwood floor will need some refinishing at some point in its life. Our...

Your hardwood floor will need some refinishing at some point in its life. Our hardwood floor expert, Aaron Burleson, who has more than 11 years experience in the floor care industry, says when you must refinish your floors, research the professional company that will be conducting the process.

"What makes me upset is people allow some professionals to do inferior work, as far as the sanding and refinishing goes. When I go into a really nice home or an old historical type home, and I see sanding marks and thick areas of the polyurethane and stuff, it bugs me. Because at some point, somebody deemed that okay and paid for it," Burleson says.

If you decide to refinish your own hardwood floors, it will be a big project, Burleson says. However, you may find it quite rewarding as well. Badly scratched up floors can be fixed up in just a matter of days. Just follow these steps.

The first step in refinishing floors is to figure out what kind of flooring you have. Pull up a heating grate from the floor or look at an edge by removing a threshold from a doorway. If it's solid hardwood, you're good. But if less than 1/8" remains above the tongue, the floor is too thin to sand and will have to be left "as is" or replaced.

The rental shop will have either a drum-sanding machine or a belt-sanding machine. Choose a belt-sanding machine if you can; it's easier to control and won't chatter the surface of your floor the way a drum sander can. The belts are also easier to change.

You'll also need an edge sander to get into areas that the big machine can't reach, and you'll need a floor buffer for finishing. Before you leave the store, be sure to ask for tips on how to operate each machine. It may not be a bad idea to purchase a refinishing manual to help guide you along in the refinishing process.

Once you rent the machines, refinishing your floors involves sanding, buffing, and applying a finish to your floor. You will sand your floor approximately three times. Then, to smooth it out, you will buff your floor. After all this is complete you can then add the final finish to your floor. You will have to let the finish dry for a few days. Read what is recommended on the bottle. Do not add any rugs to the hardwood floor for at least a month.

Refinishing is a time consuming process, but it will keep your floor in tip-top shape. You don't have to do-it-yourself, but knowing the process will allow you to be a more informed consumer. In all, the refinishing process will take you around three days to complete - a short amount of time considering your hardwood floors will be brought back to life. Burleson says you shouldn't take any chances on your hardwood floors, because they are a big investment.

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