Should you sand your own floor or hire a professional? For anyone renovating or redecorating their home, deciding which tasks to take on themselves and which to hire a professional for can be difficult.
Cost is often the driving factor, but there are many other things to take into consideration; the level of skill required to carry out any given task, access to tools/materials, having the time to do it or simply whether or not you have the basic know-how. Floor sanding and restoration are no different.
TOP TIP: I have written a blog post detailing the costs of sanding and refinishing floors. It covers both DIY and professional refinishing. This time I went the extra mile: I have added a REFINISHING COSTS CALCULATOR, which will help assess the cost of your refinishing project. It considers the total area, the number of rooms, whether you want it stained, and the condition. Check out my refinishing costs page here.
I am here to empower you, encourage you, and give you the know-how to sand and restore your floor to its original splendor. However, you must take all things into account.
As a professional floor sander, the satisfaction I feel when putting down the final coat of lacquer hasn’t gotten old. I can assure you sanding your own floor will probably give you twice the satisfaction, as you can relive it every time your friends and family compliment your beautiful wood floor.
I take great pride in my work and customer satisfaction. Still, unfortunately, there are companies out there that are only interested in getting in, cutting corners, using cheap products, doing it as quickly as possible, and getting out.
I have had the displeasure of working with some of these companies.
Generally speaking, though, most will do a good job in a time-effective and cost-efficient way… Relatively speaking! Depending on the size of your floor, you will pay probably a quarter of the price of hiring a professional, and as the floor increases in size, the money you save increases.
With a bit of shopping around and comparing prices, you will find easy access to sanding tools and finishing materials. A word of warning: Try not to skimp on the tools you hire and lacquers or oils you may use!
I know budgets are important, but 5 minutes of using a cheap drum sander and you may give up and call a professional. And 2 years down the line when your finish is wearing out or delaminating, you’ll wish you spent that little extra.
It has taken years to become a competent, confident floor sander that can take on any floor and know precisely how to tackle it and deal with any problems that may arise. And this is what I wish to impart to you with this website. I will be as thorough as I can. There will be a page to help you with anything you may encounter. e.g.. how to sand pine floor boards, how to sand a basket formation mosaic parquet floor, and how to fill knots.
Any problem you may have, we will endeavor to help. If we don’t cover your particular problem, let us know!
Take it on!! You will have great pleasure in the process and the end result will make you happy every time you look at it. Also, there’s an invaluable comfort gained from having put your own hard work into your home, making it your own and being proud of it.
Why not post your project on HowToSandaFloor.com! Very soon you will be able to post your progress pictures, get help from the DIY flooring community and be an example to anyone considering renovating their own floor!
My floors were sanded by a friend, the corners still need to be done, I have plastic bags to protect the sanded unfinished area. I have oil base poly. I need to finish these floors but afraid to. please give me words of confidence, because this has been 4 months. Should I use can I shellac over the poly.
Great info!! What is the typical cost involved in hiring a professional?
$3+ dollars per foot or £30 per metre, depending on what finish you want
I am looking to refinish about 600ft of hardwoods, I have access to a silverline sl8, I practiced on a wooden table, any tips or advice?
Not about that specific tool. But I googled it, looks fairly standard. I hope it goes well!
I live on a small lake in a four season latitude. I have a t&g oak floor that has gapped out over it’s 15 year life. I am going to refinish the floor and am looking for advice whether or not to fill the gaps before top coating. If so, what is the recommended process to fill in the gaps?
do the gaps close up a lot in summer and open back up in the winter? If the change is significant it might not be worth it as the filler will come out. Also if floor is loose, or flexible or moves in anyway, the filler will come out. However if you were to do it, now is the time of year to do it, before it all expands
I’m thinking of doing my engineered wooden floor. Some parts have light scratches and the sun has taken the colour out of parts also. I was told I could sand it down up to 3 times when I purchased it. What is the best way to go about doing it? Coloured varnish? Do I just rub down lightly by hand? It’s light mahogany colour but where the sun has bleached it looks a lot lighter. Would I use a roller or brush? Any help would be appreciated
Ben, I’d like to try and refinish my hardwood floors myself. My biggest fear though is this happening to my floor after all my hard work. How will I determine weather to use lacquer or oil? Your scaring me even worse in this answer saying even if i know its a water based lacquer but use a different brand it may still cause delamination? I assumed if i sanded the floor and took off the old finish it wouldn’t affect my new finish.
Old oiled floors are generally quite a lot darker than old lacquered floors. Also lacquer tends to keep its shine a lot longer whereas oil wears on the surface and Matts down very quickly
I just wanted to say thank you! My husband and I just moved into a new house. Apparently, the people that lived here before tried to refinish the hardwoods floors themselves…did not end well.
Somehow there seems to be poly stripping off of the floor all on its own. I looked down at my hardwood floors a few days ago and saw what I thought was clear tape sticking up on the floor…only it wasn’t tape.
I am assuming it’s poly? How does that happen? It is happening all over our new house. Even on the baseboard trim. What did they do and How should I fix it? They also tried to stain the floor. In our dinning room, there are huge, I mean huge swirl marks! Some lighter, some darker. They did half the room and just stopped. Did I mention they also left a ton of dirt, dust and grim on the hardwoods while they coated them. YAY! ; )
I’m thinking we have a job to do. Can you help walk us through our refinishing job? I think we have maple hardwoods. They are very thin ( width wise) hard wood strips, my hubby calls them 1 x 1/2, I guess they no longer install our type of hardwoods. We live in the US, if that makes any difference.
Thank you for any help you may be able to offer.
Thanks for your comment! The reason why the lacquer is delaminating is because it has not bonded well to the previous finish. Theres a few different reasons this maybe happening, or a mixture of reasons. As I explain in my video “how to refinish a floor without sanding”, sometimes different finishing products just don’t bind well with each other. For example, waterbased polyurethane lacquer often delaminates from floors that were previously finished with hardwax oil (something I see a lot in the UK). If you lacquer a floor with waterbased lacquer brand #1 on a floor that was origionally finished with waterbased lacquer brand #2, then that can cause delamination, especially if they didn’t key the floor with 120 grit sandpaper.
Whatever the cause, it sounds like your floor is a bit of a mess, I would just sand it off and then refinish it as I pleased, and that’s what i think you should do. It would be great if you could send me an email with pictures, firstname.lastname@example.org