Refinishing Hardwood Floors

If your solid hardwood floor has lost its luster, refinishing will bring back its natural beauty.

When a thorough cleaning no longer restores the shine, it may be time to think about refinishing your hardwood floor. Other signs that you may need to refinish include: deep scratches that cut through to the floor’s protective coating, stubborn stains, warping or areas where the protective coating is worn away, exposing wood fibers.

A tongue-and-groove solid hardwood floor that is 3/4" thick can undergo refinishing about 10 times during its useful life. Engineered hardwood flooring, with its multi-ply construction, can also be refinished, but not as many times. The frequency of refinishing hardwood floors depends on the daily wear and tear on the floor, as well as the hardness rating of the species. Also keep in mind that Armstrong prefinished floors won’t need to refinished as often as hardwood floors that were originally finished on site.

Refinishing hardwood floors is a dirty and time-consuming process, which typically takes at least three days. While you can do the work yourself, consider hiring a professional refinisher. But whether you do it yourself or hire someone else, first contact your local flooring retailer for more information about refinishing.

Methods of refinishing hardwood floors
Traditional refinishing – This method of refinishing hardwood floors involves, first, drum sanding your floor to remove surface coatings, deep scratches and stains, and to level uneven areas. When done correctly, sanding will restore the species’ grain – one of the main features of a hardwood floor. An industrial grade vacuum is then used to collect dust and particles from the sanding process. After the floor has been smoothed and thoroughly vacuumed, a polyurethane sealer is applied or, depending on your preference, a stain and sealer.

You can choose either an oil-based sealer or a water-based sealer. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. It’s best to talk to your refinisher or local retailer before choosing.

The entire process of refinishing hardwood floors by traditional methods takes place over a series of days to allow for curing and drying times. It may take up to a week before you can walk on the refinished floor.

Sandless refinishing – Sandless, or dustless, refinishing is a relatively new alternative to the traditional method. This process involves scuffing the floor lightly with a sanding machine, then applying an etching chemical to the surface. After that, any minor damage to the hardwood floor is repaired before a new top coat is applied.

There are pros and cons to this method. Sandless refinishing takes about a day and is less expensive. On the other hand, no method is 100% dustless, and you’ll still find a small amount of dust settling in your home. Refinishing hardwood floors by this method is not recommended for very damaged floors.

To avoid the expense and trouble of refinishing hardwood floors as long as possible, maintain your floors as recommended. For very active households, Armstrong makes Performance Plus solid hardwood infused with liquid acrylic. This state-of-the-art flooring is so durable, you won’t have to worry about scratches, dents and scuffs from heavy traffic. That means much fewer refinishings in your future.