We begin this 1 of 3 series of refinishing hardwood floors with the tools you will need and how to prep your floors.
The most common reason for refinishing hardwood floors is to rejuvenate worn and damaged floors, or to give change in a home from carpet. The steps for finishing or refinishing hardwood floors are almost the same; except that refinishing requires heavy sanding (floors with lead base paint should be stripped instead of sanded).
The standard ¾-inch flooring can be can be sanded and refinished as many times as you need. If your floor is thinner than the standard, try to sand as little as possible. We will list below all the tools needed for refinish your floors. This project can be quite time consuming and messy. If you lack the patience and care, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. If you decide on doing this yourself, be sure to wear a dust mask and earplugs while you sand. Make sure no one walks on freshly sanded floors. The pores of the wood are exposed and will soil easily.
Remember that the first coat of the new finish should be applied the same day as you’ve sanded. This will prevent air moisture from raising the grain and dirt from damaging the floor.
Tools and Supplies: Most of the equipment you’ll need can be rented from places like Home Depot or Lowes. 1. Floor Sander- This is a basic drum sander designed specifically for stripping old finishes off wooden floors. It produces a sanded surface that is ready for sealing and finishing. Drunk sanders come in various models; find one that has a tilt up lever that makes it possible to raise the drum off the floor without having to actually lift the machine. Also make sure the machine has a dust bag (it won’t completely eliminate the dust but it will limit it).
2. Edger and Hand Scraper- The edger is a disc sander used to areas that cannot be reached with the drum like wall edges. The hand scraper is to get to the corners and other really tight areas. 3. Buffer- A single large revolving pad that is needed to buff with steel wool after the stain and other sealers have been applied.
4. Sandpaper- You will different types of sandpaper, each with a different grit for sanding (the smaller the number, the coarser the grit). For and average size room 14x15, you’ll need two sheets of each grit for ALL sanders (paper, edger, scraper, drum). You will need a very coarse grit, which is 20 to 30. This will remove old finishes or to smooth out where the floor is rough. For new floors you’ll start with a 36-40 grit, 50-60 medium grit for the second sanding, and 80-100 grit for the final sanding.
Prepping the Floor: Tools: Hammer, butt chisel, nail set. 1) Remove the trim- Empty the entire room including drapes. Remove all floor grates, doorstops, and any other fixtures. Seal doors, other rooms, vents, etc… with masking tape and plastic to contain dust. Take up the shoe molding along the baseboards with the hammer and butt chisel (use a wood block to protect the baseboard). Make sure to number each molding with chalk so you know exactly where to put it back.
2) Inspect and repair the floor- Before refinishing your floor, all problems should be corrected. Loose boards need to be nailed down, and damaged boards or squares will need to be replaced. The floor should be inspected for any structural problems and squeaks. Set protruding nails down with the nail set. Last but not least, sweep or vacuum floor thoroughly.