A hardwood floor adds beauty and warmth to any home. The downside to hardwood flooring is that it will have to be refinished from time to time–how often will depend on how much foot traffic the floor receives and what type of finish was put on the floor originally. Floors sealed with polyurethane or another protective coating will need to be refinished less often than those that are simply wood.


Step 1

Rent a floor sander from a local equipment rental shop. A floor sander will make the job much easier than doing the entire floor by hand.

Step 2

Begin in the middle of the floor and sand in a circular pattern until the existing finish is removed from the hardwood floor. Get as close to the edges as possible with the floor sander.

Step 3

Use the hand sander to remove the finish from corners and against walls. Again, take the finish off the floor until you get down to bare wood.


Step 4

Use the shop vacuum to remove sawdust and other debris from the bare wood. Vacuum thoroughly as any remaining dust will become highly visible after applying the finish.

Step 5

Apply the new finish to the floor with a wide paint or foam brush. Use long even strokes going in the direction of the grain. Allow the stain or oil to remain on the floor for the recommended amount of time listed on the finished container.

Step 6

Remove excess stain or oil using a dry sponge mop to soak up the surplus finish. Work the mop in the same direction you applied the finish to the wood.

Step 7

Apply the first coat of polyurethane using a clean mop head after the finish has dried. Again, follow the direction of the grain. Wait the recommended amount of time and apply additional coats.

Step 8

Make sure the polyurethane is completely dry before walking on the floor or moving furniture back into position.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best time to refinish a hardwood floor is in the spring when the windows in the room can be opened for ventilation. Polyurethane and some stains should always be applied in a well-ventilated room.
  • When sanding the floor, the use of a dust mask is advised as the wood sawdust can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs. Dust masks are available at any hardware store.
  • Read and follow all instructions on the containers of stains, oils, and polyurethane.

Things Needed

  • Floor Sander
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Shop Vacuum
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Paint brushes or foam brushes
  • Sponge mop and extra heads

Photo Credits

  • Special Thanks to Ricardo Marquez for the lovely photo!