DIY wood floors — the basics

Filed Under: Do it yourself    by: ITC

If you are ripping out worn out carpeting and find hardwood flooring underneath your first impulse may be to lay new carpet over the wood since refinishing hardwood floors may seem like something that is out of your reach. Many homes have hardwood flooring because in the 60’s it was considered luxury for a room to be carpeted wall to wall, which of course has change quite a bit since then given most homes are now carpeted.

Despite this fact, tastes have changed once again over the last forty years and now hardwood floors are quite desirable and in fashion for quality homes. The good news is that almost anyone is capable of refinishing their own hardwood floors if they are willing to put some time and muscle into it.

Before you can started however, you may want to access the space you are trying to restore because past fifty square feet of wood and you may want to purchase or hire an orbital sander since the sanding process can get tedious. The sander itself is not as costly as you may think, since it only costs a bit over one hundred pounds at a hardware store and can be a great investment if you frequently start DIY projects in your home.

Before you can start sanding you will notice that a thick wax coating is revealed that is followed underneath by a coat of some type of varnish or polyurethane once the carpet is off. In order to get the wax off completely it is a good idea to hire a heavy duty wax stripper and then you can simply place acetone or a lacquer thinner onto the wood surface to start the next step.

At this point you should look over the wood to see if there are any old nails or carpet tacks sticking up and remove them. Nails can easily ruin a sanding pad, hurt your hand, or tear the sandpaper so you need to make sure that you take out everything and fill in the holes left behind with wood filler that is a close match to the color of the hardwood flooring.

Now you can grab you your sander or a piece of 200 grit sandpaper and start evening out the surface. Once the process is complete use a damp cloth to remove as much dust as possible from the wood and then let it dry. Repeat again and wipe this time with a tack rag which will pick up the finer particles of dust (you can pick up a tack rag from a local hardware store).

When the floor is clean, apply three fresh coats of polyurethane letting each layer dry completely and sanding in between layers to keep the surface flat. You will also need to wipe with a damp cloth and tack rag each time. At this point you can simply choose a finish and you will be all done with a great new wood floor.

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