Refinishing your own hardwood floors can save a significant amount of money. While there is always the risk that you could damage your floors, it’s possible to do a great job with the proper precaution and prior knowledge.
The beauty of hardwood floors is this: even with significant wear and tear, they’re possible to refinish instead of replace. It’s recommended to have someone with floor-refinishing experience at least guide you along the way, since refinishing hardwood floors isn’t exactly a simple DIY task. Mistakes can be very noticeable on wood floors and can even devalue a home if the damage is severe enough.
That being said, if you feel confident enough to pursue sanding your hardwood floors on your own, refer to the tips below. They should help with the process.
Buffing Your Floor
Floor refinishers usually use a buffing tool to restore the shine to your floor’s coat. Usually this job costs $1-2 per square foot. If you’d rather do it yourself, you should rent a buffer and purchase a gallon of polyurethane floor finish ($55-$65/gallon). For a 15×15 room, this should cost around $100.
Before buffing the floor, make sure any oil soap residue – if evident – is stripped off. If it’s not stripped off, the new finish will fail to adhere. It’s recommended to test your buffing skills on a small inconspicuous space, like your closet, to ensure your process works well.
Sanding and Refinishing Your Floor
A professional will charge $1.50 to $4.00 per square foot to sand your floors completely and apply a stain and a few coats of finish. To sand and refinish a 15×15-foot floor yourself, you’ll need the following sanding supplies:
- Drum sander
- Orbital sander
- Wood filler
- Polyurethane floor finish
Before purchasing your materials, hire an estimator to inspect your floor and ensure the thickness of your flooring allows for a complete sanding job. Sanding the wood is the messy and often difficult part, so wear proper eye protection, ear protection and a respirator. Also, seal doorways with plastic sheeting to prevent dust from spreading throughout the rest of the home.
Staining Your Floor
You’ll likely want a certain color or style for your new hardwood and newly sanded floor. The process of sanding requires several applications and sanding between coats. Among others, the various options to choose from include the following:
- Water-based finishes. Despite not being as tough as other finishes, water-based finishes have low odors and are eco-friendly.
- Acid-cure finishes. Acid-cure finishes require a lengthy process but provide a very tough coating.
- Polyurethane finishes. These are the safe-and-easy, no-frills industry standard.
Refinishing your hardwood floors, particularly the sanding component, is time consuming and requires materials that cost several hundred dollars. If you have the time and, preferably, know an expert who can guide you through the process in person, using the tips above can save you some money. The satisfaction and pride that comes with sanding your own home’s hardwood floors is worth the effort.
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