Can you sand and refinish hardwood floors yourself?

Of course you can. The only question, really, is how good that sanding and finishing is going to be. No one can do something for the first time and be as good as someone that has been doing it for 5-10-20 years. With that in mind, do as much research as you can.

 

 

Ben Osborne is the owner of HowToSandAFloor.com. He is a professional wood floor refinishing specialist with 15 years of experience. Ben is responsible for almost all the content on this website. He also owns a floor sanding and restoration company.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much. I have spent hours to do the research, watched the a lot of YouTube videos. Had I go to sand my bedroom floor and was disappointed with a result. First: the rental drum sander only did 1 inch line of sanding. I thought it should be full width of drum, but floor looks ok, flat and clean. But edge sander was very hard to use and I practically ruined my floor all perimeter of it. It is so wavy now. I am trying to fix it with small orbital sander but it very little change. Is any way I can fix my first DIY flooring project? I need to do the rest of the house and I wish I had a money to hire professional but I have choice between not to do anything or do it myself. The floor was ruined by previous owner.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge by posting such amazing videos for individuals to watch, it’s greatly appreciated!!
    😊♥️🇺🇸👍🏻

  3. My oak floor is is 120 years old and the house is designated historic. It measures 200 square feet and the planks are 1-1/2″ wide. It has large dark patches from water damage, some small gaps between some planks, and some planks with depressions down in the center lengthwise. Most of the wood is extremely dry and splinters easily.

    1. I don’t have access to a drum sander (no vehicle) so I am thinking of sanding it with the Festool Rotex 150, beginning with 40-grit paper and moving up to 220. Any advice about hand-sanding an old floor like this with its uneven surface?

    2. I want a dark stain but I’m concerned that a wood-flour filler is going to stain darker and show all of the gaps, deeper gouges and nail holes. Any advice on how to avoid this? Is there a dark stain that is more opaque (like a translucent paint) and hides imperfections?

    3. Is there a technique for applying oil to the floor that isn’t an oil-only finish? I want traditional stain and clear finish, but I would like to apply some boiled linseed, Danish or tung oil at some point in the process if advisable. Or would an oil-based sealant put enough oil back into the wood?

  4. Hi Ben I love your videos I have a problem that I don’t know how to fix my cats decided to use an area on the wood floor as their litter box the wood turn black I got that cleaned up with hydrogen peroxide but now I have a large round area of my wood floor that I need to refinish or may have to do the entire room any suggestions

    1. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to patch repair an area without it looking like just that, a patch repair. I would refinish the whole room. This is one of the pains of hardwood flooring.

  5. Doing your own hardwood floor refinishing as a weekend diy project.. definitely doable for some, but why not just hire a local flooring guy to do it professionally? after all they’ve already invested in the equipment, experience and tools to do the job, so really what you’re paying for when you hire someone is not losing hours of your own time attempting to do a job that would take much shorter should a pro do it 😉
    Good instructional video however!

    1. All the time I get comments from pro’s or the SEO team of pros, posting comments going “just hire a pro”.

      At this point its “basic” xD

  6. Really interesting content…
    What about filling gaps in the floor without sanding it first ? Don’t want loose option to sand the floor in the future (engineering floor 4mm) but to fill gaps i need some wood dust ?

    1. I would put masking tape (decorators tape) either side of the gap, right up to the edge. Then gun something in like Bona Gap Master, smooth it down with your finger, then pull up the tape. Works a treat 🙂 Gap Master comes in many different colors. If you have oak I would get the dark oak because its better to have the filler darker than the floor than lighter. If it’s a floating floor the filler may come out.

  7. Hi Ben,

    Love your videos I have just spent the weekends of 6 months laying a reclaimed herringbone oak parquet and now it’s time to sand it so I’ve been doing my research. I’m determined to make a good job of it myself despite a lot of flooring shops telling me horror stories and trying to convince me to pay them £3k to do it for me!

    As the floor was a previously refinished school sports hall I have some height differences having relaid it differently to the exact order it came up (up to 2mm in height). Bona seem to call this over/under wood.

    My question is, will a 40 grit belt on the first pass deal with this or do I need to start lower and add an extra pass into the sanding process?

    Thanks in advance
    Sarah

  8. Hello! I’d really appreciate some advice for refinishing a very old, white birch parquet floor. The original wood used was tongue&groove with the tongues cut. The home was built in 1890 and we uncovered the flooring and have been trying to refinish it ourselves. I’d love to email you pictures. The designs are unlike anything I’ve seen.

    1. If it has a special design, I would personally recommend hiring a pro. That floor is probably quite valuable and unique. You want to get it perfect! Just my opinion.

  9. Great site Ben and very informative videos! Thanks for all the work.

    Just bought a log home that was built just 4 years ago. Before I move in I was thinking of doing a “buff & Coat”. Looking at the floors I feel like they are reclaimed mixed hardwood. I might be able to find out forsure from the builder, but wondering if you have any considerations for “reclaimed” wood. Or is the process the same? Just worry about using some of these sanding techniques and removing some of the character of the reclaimed wood.

    Thanks

    1. The process is pretty much the same, the only thing that may change is the grit that you start on. If it’s in a bit of a rough condition then start with a 36 or 40.

  10. First of all your site is AWESOME! Already helped me not make some mistakes based on what I was planning to do. THANKS! My question is this, I’m getting ready to refinish hardwood floors in one room of my house but I’m going to have to break the work up over several days. Let’s be honest it’ll probably be more like weeks. Anyway, how do you recommend breaking it up? All one grit sand the whole floor first? Complete the sanding one section at a time? I know it’s not ideal but…

    1. I recommend doing all the rough grit sanding throughout, then all the rough grit edging, then all the medium grit sanding and so on.

  11. Question, I need to fill in some gaps with wood filler. Should I do this prior to sanding or after sanding but before lacquer?

    1. it needs to be done during the sanding. after you have started but before the final sanding so that you can sand the filler off the surface. Filling after the 80g and before the 100g is a good way to go, 120g tends to struggle to take the filler off

  12. Hey Ben,

    Thank you for the video. I completely agree with you – without the appropriate experience, DIY floor sanding and refinishing can ultimately cost several times more, since the price of a mistake is very high. This is exactly the case when it is better to pay for professional work and to be calm for the result.

    Best wishes,
    Ira Perez

  13. Hi

    You can try without any problems but in 90% of the cases, the results are not good. I make a pile of money repairing floors after being messed up by DIY experts. In some cases there is little i can do. If you own solid wood floors, you can take a chance. But if you own semi solid or engineered wood floors, you should trade carefully.

    ***hire centres usually hire poor quality floor sanders with uneven drums***

  14. I don’t think so, because it is quite a complex process, therefore I would recommend to call in an expert for the job.

  15. Hi Ben,

    We have solid oak wood flooring but it is looking a bit tired. It’s not in terrible condition but has a few surface scratches and has faded in one area. I’m thinking about starting the floor in the cloakroom as it’s a very small area and would be a good place to practice before tackling the landing, living room and dining room!

    I’ve watched your video on You Tube – How to Refinish a Wood Floor without Sanding.

    Do you think it would be enough to buff the floor and then varnish – I can send pictures if that helps.

    Any advice will be much appreciated.

  16. Hi Ben,
    Great information. I love your videos. For traffic HD–i see there is the semi gloss, matte and sateen.

    In the video where you did your own floors, what finish was that. I loved it and want to try traffic HD in a similar finish.
    Thanks

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