Revive your hardwood floors with our expert refinishing techniques

How To Refinish Hardwood Floors? A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever stepped into a home with beautifully refinished hardwood floors that left you in awe? The allure of well-maintained hardwood floors is undeniable & the benefits go beyond aesthetics. Whether you are renovating an old home or just looking to enhance your current abode, refinishing hardwood floors can bring new life into your space & add value to your home.

Start by assessing the condition of your floors. Minor scratches or a dull finish can be easily remedied with a simple buff & a fresh coat of varnish. Even if your floors require a complete makeover, look no further than Supreme Hardwood Floors. We are the premier wood flooring specialists in the area & strive for excellence. 

Read this ultimate guide on refinishing hardwood floors, where we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, so you can achieve that refreshing, timeless look you’ve always wanted.

What You’ll Need During Hardwood Floor Refinishing?

Top-rated dustless wood floor refinishing services in Austin

Equipment / Tools

  • Small Pry bar
  • Sanding pole
  • Hammer
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Protective eyewear & respirator mask
  • Drum or belt floor sander
  • Edger sander
  • Wood filler – either a complete trowel filler or a wood patch
  • Paint scraper
  • Spackle knife
  • Under-radiator sander
  • Shop vacuum
  • Smooth foam roller
  • Broom
  • Paint Brush & Roller


  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painter’s tape
  • Clean cloths
  • 40, 60, 80 & 120-grit sandpaper to fit each sander
  • 40- or 60-grit sanding belts for upright sander
  • 40- or 60-grit sanding pads for the edge sander
  • Wood putty
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloths
  • Oil-based stain
  • Wood stain
  • Topcoat finish (sealer, polyurethane, or varnish)
  • #2 Fine steel wool pads
  • Stain applicator pads (optional)
  • Rags

Step-By-Step Refinishing Hardwood Floors

1. Prep The Room:

Remove all sorts of furniture, window treatments & rugs. Ensure vents & electrical boxes are covered with painter’s tape to prevent dust from entering ducts & affecting electrical work. If you are refinishing only one room, seal doors with plastic sheeting. Use a pry bar to carefully detach the base molding. You can remove the small quarter-round piece while keeping the remaining baseboards intact.

  • Pro Tip: Make your life easier by using a pencil to number the molding pieces as you remove them. This way, you can put them back in their rightful places later.

Use needle-nosed pliers to extract nails or staples & securely fasten loose boards in place.

2. Patch & Repair:

Inspect the floor for significant holes or cracks & address them by using wood filler & a spackle knife. For extensively damaged floors, it is recommended to utilize a trowel filler, a thinner wood filler that can cover larger areas effectively. 

Apply this using a large putty knife. However, use a wood patch filler for individual spots if your floors have minor damage. Allow the filler to dry completely. 

Clean the floor thoroughly with a damp cloth to remove debris & dust. Ensure it is scorched before proceeding to sand.

3. Sand The Floor:

To continue refinishing your wood surface, begin with coarse grit sandpaper. This will effectively remove the old finish & any imperfections. Remember to sand in the direction of the wood grain for optimal results.

As you progress, gradually switch to finer grits of sandpaper. This step-by-step approach will help you achieve a smooth surface. Clean the dust between each sanding stage for a pristine finish.

We recommend reading our article: ‘Sanding Hardwood Floors: Do It Yourself or Consult a Professional?

4. Buff The Floor:

Polishing the floor will eliminate minor sanding marks & ensure a smooth finish. While some prefer renting an industrial floor buffer for this task, using a pole sander is an excellent alternative. 

Although using a pole sander may take a bit more time, it is easier to handle than a buffer & more cost-effective. Using a 120-grit sanding screen, gently buff the floor along each board, moving back & forth with the natural grain.

5. Prep For Sealer Or Stain:

Before proceeding, make sure your floor & room are spotless. Even a hint of sand, hair, or debris can ruin the final outcome. Wipe the walls to prevent dust from falling on the floor while the finish dries. Start by cleaning the floor with a shop vacuum & brush head, then use a sticky tack cloth to remove any remaining particles. 

For even stain penetration, use “water popping.” Mix one part denatured alcohol with two parts water. Spray the floor thoroughly using a pump sprayer, ensuring complete coverage. Then, use a rag or mop to evenly spread the solution across the floor. 

This process raises the wood grains, improving stain absorption. Allow the floor to dry for at least 30 minutes.

6. Apply Stain (Optional):

The bare floor is now prepared for either staining or sealing. If you wish to change the wood’s color, apply a coat of oil-based stain in your preferred shade. Ensure proper ventilation in your workspace & wear a respirator mask, as staining & finishing products emit harmful vapors. 

To apply the stain, use a lambswool applicator or staining sponge. Since you have already removed the molding in the initial step, there’s no need to worry about cutting in around the floor’s edges. Dip your sponge or rag into the stain, wring out any excess liquid & work in 3- to 4-foot sections, following the grain’s direction. 

Avoid allowing the stain to accumulate on the floor & promptly wipe away any excess before moving on to the next area. Pay extra attention to blending the lines where each section meets, using your sponge to achieve a seamless transition. 

Once the entire floor is stained, allow it to dry completely, usually for at least 24 hours. Depending on the desired color, you may need to apply a second coat following the same process.

7. Seal The Floor:

Now that your floor is stained, it’s time to seal it. This will protect the wood & keep your floors looking beautiful for years. Start by applying a coat of sealer using either a foam roller or a paintbrush. Brush in one direction with the grain, making sure to work smoothly & evenly across each section for an optimal finish. 

Once you’ve applied the sealer, allow it to dry for at least three hours before walking on it. For extra protection, a second coat of sealer is always recommended. Wait 24 hours after applying the first coating before finishing your flooring with another layer.

Benefits Of Hiring A Professional For Refinishing Hardwood Floors


Enhance the beauty of your hardwood floors with dustless refinishing

Refinishing hardwood floors is undoubtedly a rewarding DIY project, but it can be labor-intensive & time-consuming, with potential mistakes. Hiring a professional refinishing service like Supreme Hardwood Floors offers several advantages:

  1. Expertise: Our experienced technicians have the knowledge & skills to handle all aspects of refinishing, ensuring a flawless outcome.
  2. Quality Materials: We use high-quality stains, finishes & equipment, resulting in a longer-lasting & impressive finish.
  3. Time & Convenience: Letting the professionals take care of the refinishing process saves you time & effort, allowing you to focus on other priorities.
  4. Beautiful Results: A professional touch adds finesse, making your hardwood floors stand out with a stunning finish.


Refinishing hardwood floors is a transformative process that breathes life into your home, elevating its beauty & value. You can achieve remarkable results independently with the right tools & follow our step-by-step guide. However, for a hassle-free experience & exceptional results, entrust your flooring project to the experts at Supreme Hardwood Floors.

Whether you decide to embark on this journey independently or seek professional refinishing services, always remember the gratification from restoring the natural beauty of your hardwood floors. 

With Supreme Hardwood Floors, you can be assured of a supreme makeover that will leave your home shining elegantly for years. Visit us today.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Test the stain on a small inconspicuous area to ensure it matches your expectations before applying it to the floor.
  • Work in small sections when applying the paint or finish to maintain consistency.
  • Ensure good ventilation during the refinishing process by opening windows & using fans.
  • Avoid walking on the floors until the finish is thoroughly dried & cured to prevent blemishes.

Now, go ahead & confidently embark on your hardwood floor refinishing journey!

Frequently Asked Questions About Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Sanding and refinishing services for beautiful hardwood floors

These answers to common questions will help you plan your refinishing project.

1. How Can I Make My Wood Floors Look New Again?

Hardwood floor refinishing is the ultimate solution for restoring your floor’s pristine appearance. By removing the worn-out layer, refinishing revitalizes the natural beauty of your floor. 

The meticulous process of reapplying the finish, staining & sealing the wood brings its warmth & luster back to life, making it look as stunning as the day it was first installed.

2. Is It More Affordable To Sand & Refinish Hardwood Floors Or Replace Them?

Refinishing your hardwood floors is typically a more cost-effective option compared to replacing them. When you choose to replace the flooring, you’ll need to invest in new hardwood materials & cover the costs of installation & removal of the old hardwood. On the other hand, refinishing eliminates these additional expenses.

However, it’s essential to assess the condition of your floor. Replacing the flooring will be better if your hardwood is severely damaged, warped, or showing signs of cracking. 

Refinishing floors affected by water damage or rot may exacerbate the issues, making it more practical & safer to opt for hardwood replacement.

3. How Often Should Hardwood Floors Be Refinished?

Hardwood floors require refinishing every seven to 10 years. If you come across significant water damage, stains, scratches, dents, fading, or discoloration, it indicates the need for refinishing. For hardwood floors that are 3/4-inch thick, they can be refinished up to six times during their lifespan.

4. What Is The Most Popular Hardwood Floor Stain Color?

Light brown, gray & whitewashed are among the favored hardwood stain colors that lend a captivating charm to your flooring. Additionally, darker & more exquisite shades & beautiful two-tone combinations are gaining popularity recently.

5. Does Refinishing Floors Add Value?

Indeed, the process of refinishing your hardwood floors enhances the value of your home. When it comes time to resell your property, you can typically expect to recoup an investment of twice the amount you initially spent on refinishing your floors.

6. How Long Does A Refinished Wood Floor Last?

A refinished wood floor can endure for up to a decade with maintenance. However, if not well cared for, it is recommended to refinish a solid hardwood floor approximately every seven years.

7. When Can A Hardwood Floor Not Be Refinished?

If the floor has severe damage, such as warping, significant chips, termite infestation, or intense staining & nearly 50% of your floor is affected, refinishing will not yield substantial improvements. In such cases, it would be advisable to replace the affected boards altogether. 

Additionally, if you have already refinished your hardwood flooring approximately 10 times, it is recommended to refrain from refinishing it again.

However, you may not need to refinish your floors at all. You can perform a simple test by putting a few drops of water on your floor. If the water beads up, the floor needs cleaning & polishing. On the other hand, if the water soaks into the floor, it may indicate that refinishing is required.

8. What Is The Cheapest Way To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Several cost-effective methods exist to rejuvenate hardwood floors without a complete refinishing procedure. You can address minor scratches, enhance the floor’s appearance using hardwood floor polish & mop, or consider renting a floor polishing machine from a home improvement store. 

These approaches can help restore the beauty of your hardwood floors while maintaining their original charm.