Refinishing hardwood floors is a job I left to the pros. After doing the prep work of removing carpet and staples, my floors were sanded and refinished to perfection.
Prep before refinishing hardwood
If you haven’t read my post about removing the carpeting over hardwood floors, you should start there. In that post, it will give you the information you need to prep your space before you begin refinishing hardwood.
Refinishing Hardwood: Using a Professional
After the prep work, I hired a professional to refinish hardwoods. A lot of DIYers will tackle the whole project themselves. Honestly, I thought about it. I just had a lot of trim/molding work that needed to be done as well, and that finishing work is really important and I wanted it done by a professional. By doing all the prep myself, I saved a lot of money.
What to do about stains and discoloration
Depending on your “personality” — stains or marks in the hardwood can add some character. My house was built in 1957, and the original floors definitely have some wear to them. I kept 99% of the wear and tear and I’m so very glad that I did. The discoloration of the boards (especially) adds a great look because I left the wood natural. It also hides the dirt really well.
However, there was one spot that really did bother me, and it was right near my front entrance (right next to the penny floor when I pulled up my carpet).
I showed this to my pro and he brought over his sander just to show me how it would look if I didn’t replace the boards.
But it turns out, it really WON’T look like this. For any of you that are refinishing hardwoods yourself… I REPEAT… it WON’T look like this. What he recommended, and did for me, was wet the wood with some water. He said this would mimic what the polyurethane would do to the stain.
After seeing this I realized that these boards needed to be replaced. It was right in the entry. The good thing was that I removed some of the hardwood when I installed my penny floor, so he was able to use the exact wood from my house. If you have any extra hardwood I would recommend using it. Or, maybe take a piece from inside a closet or non conspicuous area rather than trying to match your hardwood up if you are trying to replace a piece or two in the middle of your living area.
The Next Steps to Refinishing Hardwoods
After my pro sanded the floors down, then replaced any of the boards that were not salvageable, he installed 1/4-round moldings along all of my baseboards. He also had to install a transition molding between my kitchen and living area because there’s about a 3/4″ difference in height now. Really not an ideal situation, but it seems like the previous owners just put down sheets of plywood in the kitchen to install new linoleum so it’s much higher.
He finished the floor with 3 coats of oil based polyurethane. I chose not to stain the floors and let the natural color shine through. Take a look at my before/after photos and let me know what you think. Remember even if you don’t want to tackle the whole project of refinishing hardwoods, you can still save a lot of money doing the prepwork yourself!