How To Refinish a Wood Floor Without Sanding (under 1 hour)

how to refinish a wood floor without sanding

Many people would like to revive and give a fresh new look to their floor without actually sanding the floor. This is ideal for floors that are not significantly damaged. This means there are no deep scratches or dents, things that can only be removed by taking off a millimeter or 2 from the surface of the wood. Everyone wants to know how to refinish a wood floor without sanding.

To refinish a floor without sanding, you need a floor that’s already in quite a good condition. Thoroughly clean the floor with a pH-neutral cleaner and lightly rub it down to provide a key for the next coat. Use a finish compatible with the existing finish.

You may otherwise be on a budget and just want to spruce up your floor. If either of these is true then read on!

1. Clean your floor.

You need to either use a pH neutral floor cleaner or just warm water! Personally I would opt for the warm water and get on my hands and knees and scrub. Be sure to not drench the floor, it’s important that you only use a damp mop or rag so as to not cause any water damage.

2. Identify whether your floor has been finished with an oil or a lacquer based product.

It’s not easy to distinguish between an oiled floor or a lacquered floor for the non-professional. Ideally, you would know from when the floor was fitted. Here are some differences that can help you tell the difference. Oiled or Hardwax Oiled floors tend to wear faster on the surface. They also tend to be slightly more of an orange color and slightly darker. Oiled floors also stain very easily, if you spill a drink on it, it usually leaves a mark.

Lacquered floors tend to be lighter in terms of color. The surface doesn’t wear quite so quickly and easily. The surface is usually shinier. More here.

If the floor you have has an oil-based finish, I recommend using a ‘Hardwax Oil.’

If your floor is lacquer based, I recommend using a Polyurethane lacquer (not acrylic or part acrylic).

To find out what lacquers and hardwax oils I use (as well as recommendations for US readers) click here.

3. Lightly abrade (sand) the surface of your floor.

Do this with a buffing machine using a 120-grit mesh (or a few 120-grit disks under the pad) or with just a 120-grit bit of sandpaper by hand. You don’t need a buffing machine, I often use 120 paper by hand myself (when buffing before the final coat on a floor that has been stained, for example).

Rub the floor down with the wood grain (as seen in the video above). Make sure you do this methodically to not leave any areas unabraded. Please don’t put too much pressure on the sandpaper, you’re just keying the surface, not trying to remove material. The purpose of this is to key the surface to allow the new coat to bond to the floor and prevent the new coat from peeling off.

4. Vacuum the floor.

Again make sure you do this slowly and methodically, going around the edge of the floor with the pipe of the hoover to ensure the floor is free of dust.

5. Lacquer or oil the floor.

You can learn how to lacquer or oil a floor here. If you are lacquering, you should use a medium pile roller for correct coverage, whereas if you are oiling, I recommend using a short pile roller.

That’s it! Be sure to check the instructions on the product for drying times before walking on the floor or replacing furniture.

This is a great, cheap, and easy solution for people that want to know how to refinish a wood floor without sanding. It returns that new appearance to the floor.

If you have done this, please let me know how you got on, or if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

Telling the difference between lacquer and oil.


I get countless emails and comments on my youtube videos from people wanting to know the difference between a floor that has been oiled and a floor that has been lacquered.

Firstly I would like to clear up on definitions. Americans can call alcohol or other acid/solvent-based products ‘oil-based,’ whereas in the UK, we call it solvent-based.

When I say oil, I mean hardwax oil which contains no polyurethane or acrylic. Examples are Osmo Hardwax Oil, Treatex Hardwax Oil, and Blanchon Hardwax Oil. Many wood floors are finished with hardwax oil.

This is an oiled floor that has darkened, though this is darker than usual, its just to illustrate.
This is an oiled oak floor that has harkened, though this is darker than usual, its just to illustrate.

So let’s say you want to refinish your floor using the method outlined in How To Refinish a Wood Floor Without Sanding. Ideally, you really want to identify whether or not the floor has been finished with a wax/oil-based product or a polyurethane/acrylic-based product.

This is an oak floor with a factory lacquer finish, this is lighter than usual, but again it's just to illustrate
This is an oak floor with a factory lacquer finish, this is lighter than usual, but again it’s just to illustrate

If the floor is anything other than pine, beech, maple, oak, or any other light wood, my color descriptions aren’t going to mean much.

But generally, oiled floors tend to go a lot darker and orangey. Even when they are first finished, they are darker and more orange than lacquered floorsh.

Oil-based finishes tend to matt down a lot more in high-traffic areas, whereas lacquered floors have individual scratches. So in a doorway for example, on an oiled floor, there appears to be no ‘sheen’ or reflective surface; it’s all matted down from wear and tear.

And last of all, oiled floors tend to feel a little more rubbery or waxy. This is subtle. This distinction, along with the other descriptions, is pretty subjective and may mean nothing without seeing many different floors. I’m just doing the best I can to answer a common question.

If, for any reason, you cannot identify what is on your floor, it is possible to go ahead with polyurethane; it’s not ideal. I have seen oiled floors that have been lacquered and generally, it’s not too much of a problem. Just make sure you key it thoroughly with the 120grit, so you don’t get delamination.


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  1. Ben, we just ripped out our kitchen along with the lino that had been laid many years ago. Underneath are hardwood floors that match the rest of the house. But the conundrum is how do you sand the boards for the kitchen then ‘blend’ them in with the adjoining boards with regard to colour and finish? We seriously can’t do the entire house but that is what would need to be done if we can’t blend. We don’t mind doing a light sand/abrade and re coat (lacquer) over the main area nearest to the kitchen but how to you stop – it continues down the hallway to the other rooms. TIA.

  2. A bedroom in my house has hardwood flooring that has turned black in places…maybe from water damage. Is there any way to fix this without replacing the hardwood altogether?

    1. possibly, sand the surface off and see if it disappears. Also, if you get a professional in, you may be able to just replace that section before sanding and refinishing the whole floor.

  3. Hi Ben,

    Firstly I’d like to sincerely thank you for the advice on this website and within your blogs.

    I was literally just at the checkout page on HSS and researching what pads I would need when I came across the HSS hire machines blog and the recommendations to use machines such as Bona in the subsequent comments. I found a tool hire supplying Bona about 1-1.5 hours away (Plantool Hire – highly highly recommend them!). As such the travel appears to have been worth it’s weight in gold.

    Although sanding 1 bedroom, a bathroom, a double landing and a hallway was quite a graft we believe it was made much easier with the recommended equipment and at a very good price, especially reading the difficulties people have had with HSS equipment and other lower spec machine hires. I essentially paid £130 for a week hire for Bona Scorpion and Edger Combi, with a load of consumables included. We are very happy with the results.

    Now, the question I have is with next stage – the oil/lacquer treatment.

    I was originally just thinking a clear Danish Oil but now this seems folly.

    We have some very old Victorian pine floor boards in one room. The landing is old Victorian pine mixed with some newer pine floor boards that have clearly been replaced at some point (bathroom also newer pine).

    We would like to keep north old and new wood, reasonably light, matt (not varnished/shiny) and avoid the orange pine effect. We want to bring out the markings and imperfections; and don’t mind some colour penetrating it. What would you recommend?

    The hallways is a softwood, darker/more red-brown in appearance. Not sure what it is. We want to keep this as light as possible (or lighten it if possible due to limited light in this room). Again, we want this matt, hard wearing and water resistant for heavy footfall and excitable dogs tearing up and down at walk/visitor time. What would you recommend?

    Thanks again – and once more, great info on this site!

  4. Hi Ben,

    I found your buff n coat technique today because the guy we hired for our parquet floor renovation really did a bad job. The sanding is ok from our perspectives but oiling is terrible -everywhere it is uneven and we can see towel traces.
    What would you recommend in our case to rescue our floor? Is your buff n coat technique gonna help? Or we only need another layer of oiling on top of it even without buffing?

    Thanks a lot in advance,

    1. Hi Cher, its very difficult to say without being there or seeing any pictures. However, oil is very forgiving. You can touch it up or add more coats without much issue. If it was a colored oil he applied, thats a bit of an issue, you may need to give it a light sand to remove the brush or towel marks, then re-apply that color. You would need to sand it fairly evenly over the whole floor, id suggest 120 or 150.

      Colored oils are very difficult to apply without application marks, its unlikely you’re going to be able to apply it more evenly than him.

  5. Hi Ben
    We have new oak floors with an oiled finish. They are in good condition but I don’t like the colour- too orange. Could I change the colour by reapplying oil?
    Many thanks

  6. I like how you mentioned that it is important to consider knowing the type of your floor. My uncle mentioned to me last night that he is planning to have their hardwood resurfaced because of dirt and scratches and asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I’ll be sure to tell him that it will be much better if they consult a trusted hardwood floor resurfacing service as they can answer all his inquiries.

  7. I find it funny how the title of this article is “How To Refinish a Wood Floor Without Sanding” and step 3 is “Lightly abrade (sand) the surface of your floor.”

  8. Hi Ben, you are breath of fresh air, I have watched numerous you tube videos and as you already know there are lots out there, yours are by far the best easy to follow and informative.
    I have just laid a hardwood timber floor 45sqm ( mixed timber species black butt and spotted gum) looks fantastic. After spending 6 days on my knees ( it was worth it). I was thinking about just getting a buffer sander as the timber is new and start at 50 grit, 80 then 120. As far as the finishing was going to use tung oil to finish, I want a natural look, but as the spotted gum is quite dark chocolate colours ididnt want them to look cloudy. I also looked at the loba impact oil. There are so many others. I want low sheen to matt finish natural look
    . I AM CONFUSED. I don’t know what finish to use please help

  9. I would like to refinish my floors but don’t want to sand. Here’s the problem – the floors have a decorative nail pattern and the nail heads, which are large and look hand forged, stick up above the finished floor. (the heads are rounded so you don’t trip on them but they are very visual). Professional re-finishers have told us they want to pound the nails down so the head if flush to the wood. This will change the appearance. If we use the screen and finish method do you think we can use a buffer or will the nail heads interfere with the screen? I’m also not sure if the finish is oil or lacquer.

  10. Hi Ben, Thanks for all your advice! We just moved into a house where the floors were sloppily refinished at only the perimeter of each room, leaving a dull, but lightly finished (probably original) somewhat rectangular space where there were once area rugs. Assuming refinish is an oil-based polyurethane lacquer- it’s got a thicker, high-gloss look and rubbery feel as well as deeper amber color compared to original. Floors in great condition otherwise. We didn’t anticipate this cost and like the look of the original which appear to be natural color. Do you think we can avoid sanding? Any recommendations?
    Thanks in advance,

  11. What would cause newly finished floors (old flooring found under carpet) to wear off in traffic spots in a year or two? Is that normal?

  12. Just had our old pine floors professionally sanded stained and lacquered and they have come up darker than we would like and quite orange (it looks different than the test patch we saw). Would it be possible to use the technique you suggest and then add a lighter stain or would we need to do it all again?

    The company said we would need to do it all again – sand it right back but we are not in a position to pay for that.

    Any suggestions for how we can tone them down without doing it all again much appreciated.

    1. If you want to change colour, you need to resand, unfortunately. But you could tone it down by using something like Loba Invisible, Bona Naturale, Pallmann Pure or Blanchon Bare Timber.

  13. Hi Ben, I have a floor that has always been covered in carpet so all of the floorboards are in really good condition and was dressed before it was laid down. I am just wanting to know if I would be better off using a buffer/orbital sanding machine as opposed to the drum sander?


  14. Hi, well we moved into an apartment and the parquet had had a light screening done, which highlighted all of the disgusting dark areas and accentuated the deep gouges. Not happy with the result, my husband decided to apply a dark tint poly coat over it. I didn’t know whether to cry or punch him, It looks awful, We now have to restore this floor to it’s original condition, Can a belt sander take this dark tinted poly off of this floor?

  15. I have a semi hardwood floor about 12yrs old marked quite badly by daughters and high heels. Etc….it has lost its shine a bit aswel… id like a highgloss look finish without the heel dents… advice on resanding a semi hardwood please . I also wondered if it is possible to sand it…is it possible to change the colour also from walnut to a grey after sanding or will it still look walnuty?

    1. it will retain some walnutty colours if you use a translucent colour, but you can ‘grey it up’ quite a lot. It does need to be sanded though

  16. Hi Ben – just lifted carpet in my old house to find quite dark floorboards – they don’t look as is they have Eva been treated – just dusty and a few paint splashed in them. Do you think a by hand sand and wax would be appropriate ?

  17. Hello.
    We have just oiled our engineered wood flooring and it looks awful! It was laid a month ago and we were told to oil it to protect it. The oil has darkened the colour and made it look wet! There are also tide marks everywhere.

    Is this the usual effect when oiling a floor? Does it go matt in time? Are tide marks normal or is it our application? What can we do to get rid of them? We have only done one coat so far-would more coats reduce the tide marks?


    1. it may do. Its really difficult to tell without knowing the product or seeing the floor. If its dry and its still shiny, its staying that way. It might be worth lightly abrading the floor with a 150g by hand and then buying a matte finish version of the product and going over the top

  18. Recently I have been learning more about house upkeep and I wanted to learn more about taking care of timber flooring. One thing that stood out to me in this article is looking for the difference between an oiled floor or a lacquered floor. This is something that I have never considered and something I will have to look into.

  19. Hi Ben, Never mind the question I posted yesterday. I figured it out.
    I just decided to try stripping it with my housemate’s cheap hand sander and though I’m using hordes of paper, it works. Tedious, but cheap. I wrote local floor guys last night and their prices were pretty insane. Don’t know why it would have taken them more than an hour, yet they all want 265-480 euros. Madness. No offense if that’s what you charge, haha.
    I just did half the floor by hand in 3 hours and a euro worth of cheap sandpaper. 😉

  20. Hi, I just applied some osmo wood wax finish (I live where they make it!) in their relatively dark oak color to a new oak hardwood floor.
    Prior to waxing, I’d sanded a couple dirty spots out of the oak (from construction), then sparingly wiped up the dust with a damp sponge. I was shocked when I came back after letting it dry, to find two big ring stains where I’d set the bucket down. I had no idea oak could stain so horribly just from water! So, I sanded the rings out.
    Stupid me. When I finished the wax job and came back for a look, I got another shocker.
    The sanded spots were shining like a of ufos. Brighter and much more reflective than surrounding wood. I hadn’t noticed how much I’d lightened the oak by sanding it, in broad daylight, but the oil really highlighted my gaff.
    So, now I need to strip the stuff off and sand the whole floor again and do it right.
    Can you recommend a product to strip the wax off (nothing too nasty)? Or is sanding effective (I don’t want to rent a machine – just 13 m²).
    Could I sand it all off with a hand sander, or would the papers just clog up in seconds? I’ve had some success with simply scrubbing the sandpaper out with water and a bristly brush repeatedly when using it on old varnishy stuff. Dunno if that would work here.
    What a drag, such a small mistake can cost so much extra work!
    Thanks for any help!

  21. Hi. We recently just layed sections of old gym floor down the hall into the dinning room and they were all 4×8 sheets and of coarse one end was cut to fit but seams are becoming a issue . We were and may still strip as restain but as of now filling the bigger seams I’ve experienced that no matter what I tried putty, or filler isn’t matching .as matter of fact isn’t really taking the color just a wet look ( dark) but as it’s a honey maple color and still trying to remove scuffs and deep dirt I’m afraid that stripping and refinishing is gonna have to happen but not knowing what type of finish that’s on gym floors typically what’s the best way to approach this? thanks

    1. im a little confused. Were these sheets 8×4 foot? And if so is that not plywood? and by seams are you talking about the gaps or the difference in height between the boards? Gym floors are generally finished with polyurethane, it sounds like it needs sanding if anything. If its ply its not going to look great.

  22. Hi Ben

    from the video it looks like the hand sanding takes less time than the buffer sanding. It looks like you could hand sand the whole room in just few minutes. Were you hand sanding at the real speed ?

    1. either way will take a couple of minutes. If you dont have a buffer then rub it down by hand. I recommend 150 grit now. I prepared some floors for some french polishers in a 5 star hotel in london last week. They were rubbing the floors down by hand between coats. Its perfectly fine.

  23. I have a century old house with varathaned pine floors. I hate the orangey colour but don’t mind the dents and old wear look. I doubt if they can take another machine sanding. Can I sand them lightly and apply a finish with a bluish or greenish colour to tone down the bossy orange? If so what method for sanding and what product is recommended? If this idea wouldn’t work, is there something else I can do? Thank you.

  24. Hello Ben,

    We recently installed a new kitchen, and a small part (2 foot, maybe) of our floor, which was previously hidden under the old kitchen and was never oiled in the first place, is now visible.
    I tried to oil it, in order to make it slightly more matching, and protect it from kitchen stuff. But somehow it turns out darker, a lot darker, and now looks like a stain! Doh.
    So, I’m lightly sanding, and oiling, and doing it again and again, but I have the feeling I’m going in circles.
    Any tips on getting it to look lighter? I’m not too concerned about the quality, as it is a small patch, at the edge of the kitchen floor. But taking away the attention it now gets, mainly from me! Haha, would be good!

  25. Hello there. We have just had most of our downstairs fitted with Wickes Engineered wood floor. We chose a Wickes product, Wickes Floor Wax – low sheen – ‘natural’, to protect the wood, and applied with a floor pad. However, this wax doesn’t seem to protect the floor very well at all. It scratches very easily and flakes off at points. If you touch the surface with anything sticky, like Sellotape, it lifts off the wax! One of our young daughters has just driven a ride-on toy along our hallway, leaving very visible scratches, but I think the scratches are just where the wax has been scratched off, rather than the wood being damaged. Can we re-seal the floor in something that will a) cover the scratches, and b) protect the floor better for family life!? If so, what product do you recommend? (without changing floor colour) and do we need to sand or just buff the current wax off? Thanku.

    1. wax/hardwax oil strikes again! they never protect wood floors! Personally I would sand it back, stain it the colour I want, then coat it with polyurethane. Sorry to hear about this mess.

  26. I have what is possibly a half oiled – but otherwise well finished floor in one room, but there is one dark stain – the old carpet was doubled and the underlay was cardboard and newspaper- I guess I need to sand it? Lots or a little -can I start sanding this from half way along the grit rating as all is well matched and even, or does the half oiled half not nature of the room mean I start from square one?? Also, the reason I was keen to do this floor was allergies and asthma -are some floor finishes better to keep these at bay? I have found this site useful but am now unsure which way to finish it off. I would like it to have a nice shine and to protect the wood while being good to just sweep or mop in the long run but I have a very small budget. The allergy thing is quite important too as I have possibly reacted to oil based paints before when I was doing up the rest of the place.

    1. Sand it all back and start again, you may be able to start with a higher grit, just test it. Use a waterbased lacquer if you are concerned with sensitivities.

  27. Hi. We have just sanded and varnished our pine floorboards with antique pine water based varnish. Our floor is now very orange. We are gutted. Can you suggest any colour’s of varnish that might reduce the ornateness’ without going very dark please. Thanks.

    1. light stains often go very orange on pine floors. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great advice for fixing this without resanding

  28. My floors have very heavy wear patterns. I’m selling and just want them to look a little better without investing too much. What do you recommend?

  29. Hi, so i recently bought a house that has finished hardwood that is a dark colour and a friend recommended me to lacquer my new hardwood floor to protect it from scratches and scuffs. I cleaned a portion of my floor and applied some to the corner of my floor and realized it seems to be dull and stopped. My question is, did I need to apply any lacquer to hardwood to begin with and can i remove the lacquer without damaging my floor and stain? thank you

    1. if they are new, you probably didnt need to do it. Im not sure what you mean by dull, can you elabourate on that? it could peel off, but im not sure how. Maybe use a scraper gently

  30. Hi,

    We just had our hardwood floor done 2 months ago and it looks awful. We first took the carpet off after maybe 20 years or so and there were some stains from the pets. We hired our local handy man to do the work. It should have taken him 1 day to sand our small living room but it took him 3 long days to sand it with a hand sander. He stained it but darker than our other wood flooring in the house and did a sheen coat. 2 months later it looks like we just took the carpet off. We sweep it, use wood cleaner but marks are still left and even white dog hair is still on it and it’s dull. We can’t afford to have someone redo it and my mom doesn’t want to offend the handy man when he comes to do work. Plus we have couches and a large heavy piano and armoire we can’t move again. What can we do that is cost efficient and easy for a DIY?

  31. hi, we have an old victorian floor in our new house that has been under carpet for a long time. we actually want to keep the old warts and all look of the floor (it has a dark stain all around the outside and a big gap in the middle where the rug used to be put) and all we want to do is add a protective layer on top. We don’t want to have to sand the floor at all if possible but keep it exactly as it is. I have been looking at osmo polyx oil as it seems to have a good reputation but I don’t know if the cost of it is worth it as it is not like we are going to be obsessing about damage as the floor is extremely marked already. We just want it to be more water proof to protect the wood. We need to get it done asap so quick drying is important., do you have any tips on the best way to do it?.. I am wondering if I can just use one coat of the osmo oil?… we have 55sqm of floor to cover..many thanks Nina

  32. hi if you remove the hardwax oil with the mech buffer is it possible to to re stain the floor to a slightly darker colour?

    1. You can’t remove hardwax oil with a mesh buffer, you need to use the proper tools and sand the floor. You could just buff it as i do in the video and maybe put a coloured hardwax oil over the top

  33. Hi, I have a wooden floor that is light oak and appears to be oiled. It is good condition, just the usual wear from foot traffic, no scratches. I’d like to just do the sanding by hand for cost/time reasons, but then want to Apple treatex colour tone oil to change the colour of the floor to a lighter shade, so it is not as similar in appearance to my oak furniture. Can I apply treatex colour tone oil to then after a coat of clear to seal after just a light sanding? Or do I need to fully sand the floor for this? Thanks, Dan.

    1. to be honest daniel, I would speak to the supplier and if they know nothing, contact treatex or google that particular product. I have used treatex before its good stuff, but i don’t know about their colouring products, if its just the hardwax oil with some colour in it then its probably fine to go over the top without fully sanding, but again, check with the source

  34. Hi Ben thanks for posting your video on how to spruce up a wooden floor without sanding. Does the buffing technique cause a lot of dust throughout the house?

    1. if you do it by hand like i demonstrate in the video, almost non at all, but you definitely have to hoover the floor. My buffer has a dust extractor so virtually no dust. But even if there was no dust extractor, it doesn’t create that much dust

  35. The hardwood floors at my place have a coat of paint around the borders. Would you recommend trying to take it of with just a buffer? or would it make more sense to sand down the whole floor and start from scratch? The paint takes about around 20% of the floor

    1. Just sand the whole lot, if you try to do just one area it won’t look very good, you can never refinish patches of the floor.

  36. Great site and videos.You’re making it look easy! I have alot of solid oak parquet I need to restore.I made the huge mistake of finishing mine with WATER-based Polyurethane. I want to get some nice heavy OIL-based poly on it this time. I want to do it without a full sanding but have a few spots that need sanded really good to bare wood. I’m pretty sure I can match the “golden oak” stain color. If I can match the stain I think it will go ok. I’m going to be doing something between a full sand & this video. Any tips on matching & blending in a stain before finishing? Thanks

    1. Do not try this, I can’t say it gravely enough. You cannot just sand a patch through to wood. you will never get it looking nice again until its completely resanded.

      What was wrong with the waterbased? Waterbased poly is good if you are using the right stuff. What is it that you are unhappy about with the poly?

      1. Totally agree. I just refinished my hardwood floor and failed miserably. places where edge sander was used , after applying first coat of oil with color, looked muuuch lighter (picture framing effect). That looked soooooo ugly. I decided to patch sand these places, did it already three times and can’t get same color and shine. Worst thing is that I already do not have time to resand entire floor due to family visit in our house. So, I will be living with that for some time. Next time, I will defenitely hire a professional.

        PS Wouldn’t recommend anybody to use rotary sander – it is quite complicated to operate if you use it for first time. Made lots of bad scratches on floor and nearly ruined some walls

  37. Hello.

    Can you tell me what is the main difference, between using a chemical stripper and a sanding machine, to clean a 100 years old pine floor that i have in my apartment?

    Last year my 15 year dog passed away and i decided that this summer i will have to clean the entire floor of the apartment. It is very dirty!
    I noticed that the old dark brown varnish?/oil? that protected the entire floor(i think the floor was stained) is almost gone, and now wath is left is the wood with dirtiness.

    1. A chemical stripper will only remove old varnish or oil. It won’t remove any wood. It means the floor won’t be flattened (which may be desirable if you want to keep it rustic) and no dents or scratches will be remove. Usually when using a stripper you are also using a scraper to remove the softened substance, the scraper takes off a very thin layer of wood that reveals unaged wood. But really its not ideal because it takes a very long time, its very hard and its pretty unsatisfactory!

  38. Any more idea on telling if a floor has been done with oil or lacquer? We are purchasing an old house and I want to redo the floors without sanding if possible and put hardwax oil on them but am worried about incompatibility between products.

  39. Hi,
    Thanks for the information. My floors have a coat of clear oil based polyurethane. Do the same application instructio ns apply? The professional floor guy used a brush, my neighbor used a soft rag, is it best to use a brush, roller or a rag? Thanks.

    1. I think rag is dead last, i don’t even know how that would work, i have heard of people using brushes, but not really for polyurethane. The problem is a brush has a relatively small surface area in contact with the floor, so its sort of sweeping it across the floor. Poly should usually be put down at a rate of about 1 litre per 110 square feet per coat. So that’s fairly thick. That allows the poly to settle and flatten out before it dries. In my experience the roller is best for that. But hey, check the manufacturers specs, search for a demonstration on youtube of what they recommend by all means.

      1. Hi Ben,

        We have recently polyurethaned our floors and we aren’t happy with the result. I think this is because we hadn’t used enough polyurethane so parts of it look flat and dull even though we have done 3 coats. I see in the above comment that you recommend doing 1 litre per 110 square feet per coat. Do we need to resand it all back down and re varnish it so that it’s fairly thick or can we just go over the top of it do it as a fourth coat? Really hoping not to sand it back down again as we have already done this twice..

        Thank you, really need help!

  40. Interesting website! I used 3 coats of Blanchon Original Wood Environment to protect my new engineered oak floor 18 months ago, however it seems to have let dirt into the grain especially in the high traffic areas such as the hall and kitchen. It was applied using the manufacturers instructions but doesn’t seem to protect the floor that well. I’ve tried Blanchon cleaning products but none of them remove the in-grained dirt. I don’t really want to sand the entire floor again after only 18 months – is it worth trying the method you describe above or is the floor past that stage? Thanks.

  41. So for this technique, would it be impossible to use a nice lacquer on a previously oiled floor. I have an old property (which leads me to believe it was most likely done with an oil base a long time ago) that has seen a lot of wear and tear. I would prefer to use the buff and coat technique and finish with a lacquer coat, being that this area gets a considerable amount of foot traffic. Would this be a good idea, or is oil the only way to go for the finish coat?


    1. Generally speaking they are incompatible, it sounds to me the floor needs a good sanding down, but if you really don’t want to take that route, then buff it and put a coat of hardwax oil down, its not quite as hard wearing, but atleast you know its not going to cause problems.

      1. Hi Ben, hope I get a response given the age of of this thread. Above you stated “I have seen oiled floors that have been lacquered and generally its not too much of a problem. Just make sure you key it thoroughly with the 120grit so you don’t get delamination”

        Given this statement, why would Ezra’s idea cause any problem

        1. Im replying to this question without reading the previous, I think it was an instance where someone had applied lacquer to oil before coming here. It can work without failing but its bad practice, theres no guarantees and I don’t recommend it. Maybe I was being compulsively positive. If you have an oiled floor, just put hardwax oil over it and don’t risk it

  42. Great videos… Very helpful.

    I have parquet floors which have been diminished while we were doing additonal work a year ago. The floors were in pretty good conditon, however when we were working a lot of plaster dust fell on the floor and has removed the existing oil.

    Do you think your buff and coat technique applies to parquet flooring that has had surface damage?

    All the best.

    1. Yes! If your screening by hand with 120 grit paper, rubber the floor down in circular motion rather than linear

    1. I really have no idea about floor paints, just being totally honest, hope you find something good!

  43. When applying a second coat of lacquer, or oil should I just repeat the sanding at 120 grit or should I use a higher grit like 220?


  44. My wood floors are in the same condition and that looks really easy! I bet there’s a knack to it but I will give it a go, thank you

  45. Most hardwax oil’s are very similar (if not actually manufactured by the same company). Osmo, Treatex, Blancheon, these are all good brands. Google search for a floor sanding supplies place near you, ring them and ask them which is best.

    Hope that helps

  46. What hard wax oil would you recommend?

    My oak strip floor is hard wax oiled but I’m not sure which make to refinish it?

    Any help is much appreciated!


    1. We took up our carpet and realized we had a beautiful wooden floor underneath. Yet, in a few spots we had darkness like maybe some water damage. We have a budget. So we’re thinking about varnishing in a cherry wood color, varniishing to cover up a few dark spots Is this possible without sanding?

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