Refinishing hardwood floors is really hard if you're going to do it correctly. It's far more complicated than running a vacuum cleaner and just moving your furniture around. That's because refinishing wood floors creates an incredible amount of fine dust (see below) that gets into everything nearby.
The furniture has been moved, the plastic sheeting put up for protection, the floors have been sanded and now it's time to stain (not always needed) and apply multiple coats of polyurethane to the new floors. Pros have techniques to make sure there aren't any bubbles in the finish and what most do-it-yourself instructions won't explain are the different finishes you can get for your floor, similar to different paint finishes. You need to pick one for both the look you want to achieve as well as durability, as some finishes are harder than others.
For my customer getting their home ready to sell, the floors had to be stained to match the stairs and railings on the second floor which were stained, i.e. think through whether you really need to stain your floors when installing them for the first time. The photo below shows how much lighter the sanded wood is than the spindles on the stairs.
Below left you can see that when you're standing, many of the imperfections that caused these floors to require refinishing are barely noticeable. However, when you zoom down to floor level, it is very obvious that the floor's finish has been disturbed and the resulting black marks aren't very nice. This floor below was in much better condition than the one shown in the upper right corner. The octagonal design of this living room floor was worth saving but required extensive repairs to remove large, fist size black spots before the floor could be refinished.
Steps to Refinishing Wood Floors
- Step 1: Moving the furniture.
- Step 2: Wrapping fixtures, walls/doors and open doorways with plastic to avoid wood dust.
- Step 3: Skilled sanding to remove enough, but not too much of the wood.
- Step 4: Now it's time to apply multiple coats of polyurethane to the floors, and some floors require staining first (this photo article). xyz
- Step 5: Cleaning up and putting furniture back (we think you get this one without photos).