What Goes Into Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add a warm, elegant look to any home. They can also stand up to decades of wear and tear.

Refinishing hardwood floors can eliminate scratches and scuffs. It won’t, however, get rid of urine stains or their odors or fix warped boards from prolonged water damage.

Refinishing is a labor-intensive process that can be done yourself or hired out to professionals. It requires special tools, knowledge and time.


Refinishing hardwood floors could be costly pr. It is a major undertaking that involves the sanding of floors, repair of any damage or wear, and application of color treatments. The cost will vary according to the kind of wood, its condition, and the amount of damage it has incurred over time. For example, exotic wood is typically more expensive than traditional oak. It will also be more difficult to refinish than standard oak.

Choosing the right contractor is also important to the final costs of refinishing your hardwood floors. It is recommended that you hire a professional with a solid track record in home flooring projects. Then, be sure to discuss the project with your contractor and ask for a quote.

During the process of refinishing, homeowners can expect to be out of the area being refinished for a little while. This is due to the lag time between each coat of finish. During this time, it is recommended to add felt tabs or pads to the bottom of furniture legs to prevent scratches and scuffing on the newly-finished floors. It is also a good idea to vacuum and wipe the surface of the floors regularly. This will keep dirt and dust from scratching the new finish and will help maintain the beautiful appearance of your hardwood floors.


The time it takes to finish your hardwood floors depends on the size of the room, the number and type of furniture pieces to be moved, and if any old carpet or other flooring is being removed. It also depends on the type of refinishing you choose.

Traditional sanding requires a drum sander and sandpaper of progressive grits to remove the existing coating and expose the bare wood. This process can create a lot of dust, which can cause health problems for some people with allergies or asthma. To minimize the amount of sanding dust created, some contractors offer a dustless refinishing option for an additional cost.

Staining adds a tint to your hardwood, and may be done over one day if the stain color is light, or two days for darker shades. Staining must dry completely before applying a polyurethane sealant that protects the floor from moisture and dirt.

Dirt and sand can scratch or damage hardwood floors, so sweep regularly and consider adding doormats at every entrance to keep the sand and dirt off the wood. Direct sunlight can also fade or discolor hardwood, so drapes or blinds can be used to block or diffuse the sun’s rays. Water damage can warp or crack hardwood, and can also cause mold to grow in the subflooring, which requires the replacement of all affected boards.

Worker Safety

While refinishing floors is a very labor intensive project, it can be done safely. Workers should wear dust masks and eye protection, especially if they will be doing any heavy lifting or using power tools. Any electrical outlets or other fixtures that are close to the floor should be covered with plastic tarps to protect them from sawdust and any other debris. Any furniture or wall decorations should be removed from the room to prevent them from being damaged during the sanding process. If you are refinishing your floors yourself, be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and carefully read the warnings.

When properly cared for, hardwood floors are very durable and will last a lifetime. They are easier to keep clean than carpet and do not require a lot of water to clean. They are also less likely to be damaged by scratches or dents than other types of flooring. If a scratch or dent does appear, touch-ups can usually be made with color marker.

If you are refinishing your floors, choose a stain that complements your home and lifestyle. Testing stains on your actual floors is a good idea to make sure you love the look. You can also ask your contractor what stains they have available on hand and see if any of those are ones you would like to test out.


Before beginning the refinishing process, it’s best to remove any base shoe moldings or rugs from the room. This will help the sander get closer to the walls, and it will minimize dust. Additionally, it’s a good idea to tape plastic sheeting over doorways and vent ducts to prevent the spread of sanding dust throughout the house.

It’s also a good idea to keep pets away from the work area, as the strong fumes from the polyurethane can irritate their lungs. It’s also a good idea to open windows and doors as much as possible to let in fresh air, and use an air purifier that is designed to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the environment.