Refinishing hardwood floors is an adventure that some avid do-it-your-self individuals will take up on their own. If your hardwood floors are in dire need of refinishing, get a few estimates from professionals. You may be surprised at the figures. You may want to sit down when they tell you it will cost you $1200 to have your living room redone. For many homeowners refinishing hardwood floors is a job they would prefer to have the pro perform. While you could carpet over your hardwood for less than refinishing hardwood floors, carpeting over beautiful hardwood floors seem, well, wrong?
Tips On Refinishing Hardwood Floors on Your Own
Contrary to what you may have heard about refinishing hardwood floors, the finish doesn’t take days and days to dry. It’s quite simple actually. Go to your favorite local home improvement store, Lowe’s, Menard’s, Home Depot or other. Rent a sander. You’ll need a drum sander, a belt sander or both. They will explain to you how to use the machine and tell you what kind of sand paper to purchase. They will also tell you what kind of stain and finish to get. Make sure you also pick up some dust masks because you will have saw dust everywhere.
The sanders used for refinishing hardwood floors are fairly easy to use. They’re a bit on the loud side. The key is to keep it moving at all times. Do not stop or you will get a divot in your wood. Think of it like a clothes iron. You need to keep it moving or you will burn your clothes. Same deal with the sander. It creates a lot of heat and you will burn or dent your floors if you hesitate in one place too long.
You will feel like a Zamboni driver smoothing out your surface. Word of caution, you do need to maintain control of the machine at all times. It is self propelled, like a lawn mower or a basset hound on a leash. When you power it up, hold on to the machine tightly. Don’t be afraid of it and after a few passes, you’ll start to even have fun.
Refinishing hardwood floors is like redoing your fingernails. First you need to remove the old finish, basecoat, color, and top coat. You may opt to forgo the color (stain) and just use the nature color of the wood. You will still need to apply a finish to it.
There are basically two types of floor finishes used when refinishing hardwood floors: one is oil-based and the other is water-based polyurethane. Oil-based is available in a satin, semi-gloss or gloss finish. Satin works well on floors because it hides small flaws and lets the natural beauty of the wood show without a bright shine. Oil-based also produces a warm amber look that gives you the traditional glow of wood floors. Water-based polyurethane dries clear and resists yellowing. Water-based also dries quicker.
Make sure you let each coat thoroughly dry before applying the next; same as you would nail polish. Give your floor at least 24-36 hours before moving furniture back on it. It will continue to harden in the first couple of weeks.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Instead of looking at refinishing hardwood floors as a humongous job, look at it as giving your room a manicure, one step at a time. You’ll also save money by doing it yourself.
If you believe that refinishing hardwood floors may be overwhelming for you or you just don’t have the time, you may want to hire a local floor refinishing contractor to handle the job for you.