Sanding and Refinishing Hardwood Floors

We know you love your hardwood floors. But, sometimes after years of abuse or a desired style change, you need to sand and refinish your flooring. A good technique to see if your floors need to be refinished is to sprinkle a few drops of water on the floorboards.  If they sink in immediately, then it might be time to refinish.

Things you’ll need:

  • Detail Sander
  • Ear, Eye, & Nose Protection
  • Hammer
  • Masking Tape
  • Plastic Covering
  • Power Sander
  • Pry Bar
  • Respirator
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or Sealer

Prepare the Room:

First things first, you will need to clear the room and protect any surfaces that are not being worked on. This would include light fixtures, permanent wall or floor fixtures, or a transition to a carpeted area. These can be covered with the plastic sheeting.  Remove any curtains, wall hangings, and furniture from the room – not only will items left in the room be subjected to damage from the stain and dust, they could ruin fresh stain or be a hazard to you.

Gently remove all molding with the hammer and pry bar; it will be replaced after the sanding and staining.  By removing it, you ensure your sanding and stain goes all the way to the wall, creating a seamless finish after the molding is replaced.

Put tape over every opening.  This would include outlets, switches, and vents.  The room should be closed off from the rest of the house to prevent the dust from traveling. 

Finally, thoroughly clean the floor of any debris and dust. 


Sanding will help to remove old stain, level the floorboards, and expose the wood grain. Before you begin sanding, make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear.  This includes eye goggles, ear protection, and a facemask or respirator. 

Rent a power sander from your local hardware store.  These can be difficult to use but will remove a good amount of surface in a short period of time.  Start off in an area that you know will be covered by a piece of furniture, so if you make a mistake, it can be easily concealed.  Keep the drum moving at all times, and sand the majority of the room beginning with a 20 to 60 grit. Systematically and evenly sand the floors, overlapping about two inches with each pass. You won’t be able to work into small areas or around the perimeter of the room; this is where the detail sander and sandpaper comes into play. Use the same grit sandpaper as used for the drum sander.

Once you’ve finished sanding with your first grit, vacuum the room and repeat the process with smaller grit.  The smaller the grit, the larger the number.  You may need to reduce the grit and sand a couple of times before you get your desired results.  Finish the sanding process with a 120 grit. 

After you’ve sanded with the 120 grit, vacuum the floor and wipe clean with a dry rag.  You are now ready to begin staining your floor.


Staining the floor might be the easiest portion of the process.  Many stains have their own directions for staining, which is tailored to achieve the proper appearance or color.  Some stains require more than one coat and others require a sanding between coats.  Either way, by following the directions on the product, you will be able to get the look you are going for.  Make sure the room has plenty of ventilation before you paint on the stain.

Once the stain is dry, you can replace the molding and furniture.  For best results, buff your new flooring to a beautiful shine.  Enjoy your newly refinished hardwood floors!

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