Home » DIY Projects » Refinishing hardwood floors

Please note: I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases if you shop through links on this page. More info.

Refinishing hardwood floors

Refinishing hardwood floors PrettyPurpleDoor.com

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. 

 Refinishing hardwood floors PrettyPurpleDoor.com

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.

Here's some of the staining that sanded out very well
Here’s some of the staining that sanded out very 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).

black stain of doom
If i knew this was here I would have made the penny floor a foot longer. boo.

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.

After he sanded it, I thought... ok I can live with that...
After he sanded it, I thought… ok I can live with that…

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.

This is the stain after my pro sanded it, and then wet it down with a little bit of water. Not so subtle now, huh? Looks like this needs to be replaced.
This is the stain after my pro sanded it, and then wet it down with a little bit of water. Not so subtle now, huh? Looks like this needs to be replaced.

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.

This is the penny floor with finished moldings and replaced boards. Where is the stain? It's like it never existed.
This is the penny floor with refinished hardwood, moldings and replaced boards. Where is the stain? It’s like it never existed.

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!

Before and After Photos

refinishing hardwood floors: bedroom

refinishing hardwood floors: dining room

refinishing hardwood floors: living room

What Blooms with What?

Never know what to plant together? Find out with this FREE Plant Pairing Guide and become a pro at combining plants for the best garden design possible!

Powered by ConvertKit


  • Amy Fedele

    Amy is the founder of Pretty Purple Door and has been a garden designer since 2014 and graphic designer since 2005. She helps home gardeners design their own beautiful landscapes that are colorful in all four seasons, show off your personality and suit your lifestyle. Amy's work has been featured in publications like The Spruce, Family Handyman, Buzzfeed, Country Living Magazine and more. Read full bio.

Want to talk more about this article? Head over to Pretty Purple Door’s Facebook page to share your thoughts!

This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualiying purchases if you shop through links on this page (at no additional cost to you). View Site Policies.