Home Improvement

Floor Refinishing Basics

Refinishing is the process of adding a new coat of finish to your hardwood floors. You’ll need to remove all furniture, and cover any fixtures or appliances with painters tape to protect them from sanding dust.

Sanding removes scratches, nicks, discoloration and other imperfections from floorboards. Stain is then applied followed by a topcoat. Contact Floor Refinishing Westchester NY now!

Before applying any new finish, it’s important to sand the floor. This can be done with a hand-held or orbital sander or by renting a power sander. Either way, it is best to wear a dust mask and a HEPA-level N95 respirator during the entire sanding process because wood shavings can get into your sinuses and cause irritation.

It’s also a good idea to use a dustless sanding system, which can save you time and money. Typically, these machines are equipped with filters to help reduce the amount of dust that is created. However, if you’re a beginner, it is recommended that you practice on some old boards to make sure you have the hang of it before using a machine on your floors.

After the sanding is completed, it’s recommended that you vacuum and clean the floor thoroughly. If your floor has any damaged areas that require repairs, this is the ideal opportunity to do it. For example, if the damage has gone through the veneer and reached the wood itself, this would be the perfect time to patch and stain.

If the damage is minimal, you may not need to sand the floor. Instead, a screen and recoat may be necessary. This is a process that involves roughing up your wood floor with a coarse sanding screen and then applying a new protective covering. This is much less expensive and faster than a full refinish.

A recoat is ideal for minor damage, as it will prevent further damage to the hardwood floors and will give them a fresh new look. However, if the damage is extensive or if the boards are showing signs of warping, a complete refinish is required.

Once the floor has been sanded, it’s best to let it dry completely before replacing any furniture. You should also apply plastic tarps over any doors or vents to keep the dust from spreading to other parts of your home. It’s also a good idea to remove the base shoe molding along the walls, as this will allow you to easily reach the wall with your sanding equipment.


Staining is the next step in floor refinishing. This is where you can give your floors a new color, and some homeowners choose to stain their floors a dark shade. You can also use stain to hide any marks or scratches in your wood floors. If you plan on staining your wood floors, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for proper preparation. In many cases, the stain must be sanded to bare wood prior to applying.

To sand the floors, you will need to use special specialized equipment to sand away the existing finish. Once the floor is sanded, it will need to be cleaned again to remove any remaining dust.

Before you can apply any stain, it is recommended that you test the color on a small area of your wood flooring. This is a good way to see what the final color will look like and whether it matches your current decor.

During the actual staining process, you will need to work in two-foot sections at a time to maintain a “wet edge.” It is important to follow the grain of the wood when applying the stain, and you may want to use a paintbrush to cut in around the baseboards. Once the stain is applied, let it dry according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you aren’t happy with the results, you can always apply a second coat of stain to your wood floors.

After the stain has dried, you will need to seal your hardwood floors to protect them from damage. You can use either an oil-based or water-based polyurethane. If you decide to use a water-based polyurethane, it is recommended that you choose a low-VOC formula.

Once the polyurethane is applied, it will need to dry for about 24 hours before you can walk on your hardwood floors again. During this time, you should avoid using any cleaning products that may damage the floor. It is also important to keep pets and children off the hardwood floors while they are drying. If they are walked on, it can cause the polyurethane to flake and peel.


A good floor sealant creates a barrier between the wood and moisture, protecting it from warping, buckling, or discoloration. It also helps the floors to resist staining and scratching. Floor sealants can be applied as a DIY project or by professionals. Professionals have specialized equipment like drum sanders to prep the floors and experience in determining how many coats are needed for the best results.

Before applying a sealant, it’s necessary to make sure the floors have had all stains, scratches, and other visible damage removed. Depending on the extent of the damage, this may require sanding. While it’s possible to use hand sanders, a large rotary sander is more efficient and gives better results. It’s also important to vacuum and wipe the floors to remove all dust and debris before applying a sealant.

Once the floors are completely sanded and have been vacuumed and wiped, they’re ready for the first coat of sealant. A polyurethane sealant is usually the best option for hardwood floors. It’s available in a variety of sheen levels and provides an attractive and durable finish. However, it’s important to use a water-based sealant as oil-based ones can yellow with age and can also distort the color of any future staining.

The first coat of sealant should be applied using a roller, following the grain of the wood as it goes on. It’s important to allow the first coat to dry for at least six hours. After the first coating, it’s a good idea to lightly sand the surface again with a fine grade of sandpaper. A #220 sandpaper will work well for this. Once again, it’s important to wear breathing protection for this step as the polyurethane dust can be harmful.

After a second coat of sealant has been applied, the floors should be allowed to dry again for at least eight hours. Once the sealant is completely dry, it’s a good idea to wait until the following day before walking on the floors or replacing furniture.


Buffing is a vital step in the floor refinishing process, bridging the gap between coarse and fine sanding and the application of a new sealant or finish. This technique enhances the natural beauty of wood floors and provides a durable foundation for future protection. It’s important to understand the mechanics and techniques of buffing in order to properly execute this crucial step.

Before beginning the buffing process, it’s essential to ensure that all sanding steps have been completed and that the floor is fully dry. Failure to do so can lead to scratches and uneven finishes. Additionally, it’s critical to thoroughly clean the floor before buffing and to use a clean buffer pad. Finally, it’s important to maintain consistent pressure and to move the buffer slowly and evenly across the surface of the floor.

It’s also important to select the correct abrasive for each stage of buffing. Using a grit that is too coarse can leave behind scratches, while using a grit that is too fine may not be effective at all. Lastly, it’s essential to change the abrasive regularly as it wears down. Failure to do so can result in an uneven finish and prolong the buffing process.

Once the floor has been buffed, it’s important to allow it to completely dry before applying a new coat of polyurethane. This process can be expedited by using a multi-disc sander that has been equipped with a screen, which will only lightly abrade the top layer of polyurethane and not touch the actual wood.

In addition to sanding, it’s also important to maintain regular maintenance on your wood floors. This includes regularly sweeping and mopping, as well as periodic waxing. Buffing and waxing can extend the life of your wood floor significantly, and will help to prevent the need for refinishing in the future.

Wood floors that are not urethane finished should be waxed twice per year. Before applying wax, the floor should be swept and mopped with an appropriate cleaner and then allowed to dry. Then, the floor should be buffed by hand or with a machine and then a light coat of wax applied according to product instructions.