do it yourself saturdays: bringin’ back the shine


are your wood floors lookin’ a little lack-luster? cold weather, wet boots, and shoes with salt from winter sidewalks can take a toll on those wood floors and really dry them out. it’s cold outside, so you are probably inside anyway- now might be a great time to treat those floors to some tlc and get some extra coats of protection on them.

be warned that this can be a very time consuming project and unless you’ve done this before, it’s best to start with a small room to avoid mistakes that might be readily seen– aka don’t start in the foyer, hallway or living room.


tools of the trade:

  • rent [or buy if you wish] a drum or belt sander and an edging sander to get along the walls
  • buffer [to do the final smooth sanding]
  • sand paper for for your sander of choice and the edger [you will need 40, 60, 80, and 100 grit. you may want to start with 1 or 2 of each to save some trips to and from the hardware store– it all depends on the size and finish of the floor you are doing!]
  • 150 and 180 buffer screens
  • vacuum
  • sealer and finish
  • several brushes [ask the pros at your hardware store which brushes are best]
  • wood filler
  • and last but not least, a good dust mask

before you start, go to your local hardware or flooring store to get some insider tips. they are experts and can give you a few ideas to save you some time, energy, or money! also, it’s best to know what your flooring is so you can tell them. ┬ásome are harder wood– therefore harder to sand.

tricks of the trade:

  1. make sure the room is clear of EVERYTHING! that means window curtains as well.
  2. vacuum and clean the room to make sure it’s free of all debris.
  3. next, start sanding! start with the roughest grit- 40 grit- and do it with the main sander [not the edger]. make sure to sand with the grain! ***make sure to sand with the grain, and sand in a steady, smooth, movement.***
  4. use the edger along the baseboards. you also have the option of removing the baseboard and reinstalling it once the floor is completed- it’s up to you. all of the same rules apply when using this sander as well!
  5. repeat with the main sander and edger on the 60 grit.
  6. repeat, AGAIN, with the 80 grit for the sander and edger again.
  7. stop to make sure the nails in the flooring are set and secure at this point
  8. vacuum the floor really well.
  9. apply the wood filler to all spots that need it- divets, gaps, etc.- to make the floor more even. let the filler dry.
  10. time to sand again with the main sander and the edger with the 100 grit. this will even out the wood filling.
  11. vacuum again.
  12. buff with the 150 grit.
  13. vacuum
  14. buff with the 180 grit.
  15. vacuum really well, agian.
  16. apply the hardwood floor sealer and let it dry.
  17. apply your finish. put two coats and let dry per the finish instructions.
  18. enjoy your beautiful re-finished floors!

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