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Whether your interior style is more traditional or modern, most homeowners can agree that hardwood floors offer timeless appeal and quality unrivaled by any other flooring type. They come in a variety of styles – from skinny planks to wide, rustic alternatives, from stains in rich chestnut brown to blonde. Plus, they’re much easier to clean than carpet.
But one of the biggest benefits of hardwood flooring is the ability to refinish it. Maybe you live in an older home, and your floors are looking a bit worse for wear. Or maybe you’re just not loving the color anymore.
Of course, new flooring is an option as well. However, if your current floors are in good shape and salvageable, refinishing can be a more sustainable choice and provide you with the same stunning result.
If you’re considering refinishing your floors, there are a few things you should know before getting started. Here are our top five tips to prepare you for this home remodel project that you can do yourself.
Tip 1: Determine If Your Floors Can Be Refinished
The first step to refinishing your hardwood floors is making sure they’re actually able to be refinished.
As seasoned contractors for home remodeling, we understand just how many hardwood fakes are out there, unfortunately. Before you do anything else, be certain that your floors are, in fact, wood – especially if you didn’t have them installed yourself. As the name suggests, hardwood flooring is made from solid planks of wood, such as oak, maple, cherry, and mahogany.
It’s also important that there’s enough wood left to sand – around three-quarters of an inch to be exact. Hardwoods can be refinished as part of a home remodel about six times, so it’s likely your floors are well within range. However, it’s still a good idea to check before moving forward.
Tip 2: Properly Prep Your Floors for Your Home Remodel Project
Aside from moving furniture, rugs, and decorations out of the way, there are a few other things you should do to get your floors ready for the refinishing process.
- Start by using a molding bar to remove the shoe or quarter-round molding along the baseboards. This piece of molding covers the space between the base trim and the floor and can be damaged during sanding.
- Remove any doors from their hinges.
- Check your floor for nails that might be sticking up and hammer them in. If you come across a plank that’s loose, use finishing nails to secure it back in place.
- Cover up any openings, including doorways, floor registers, HVAC vents, and electrical outlets, with plastic sheeting and tape to keep dust from spreading throughout the rest of the house.
Tip 3: Choose Your Sanding Equipment Wisely
For any home remodel, the right tools are essential. And refinishing your floors is no exception to the rule.
An orbital sander is much easier to use compared to a drum sander. Although, it’s generally only suitable for cleaning up moderate wear and tear. A drum sander is the better option for more involved projects, but note that these are tough to wield without experience. Make sure you have a hand-held sander as well to detail the edges of the room you’re working on.
All of this equipment can usually be rented from a local hardware store, so it’s not necessary to buy it outright.
You’ll do three rounds of sanding in total, so you’ll also need a few different kinds of sandpaper. You’ll pass over your floors with a rough-grit sandpaper the first time, then move down to medium, and finally fine-grit.
Once you’re finished sanding, make friends with your shop vac and a damp microfiber cloth to pick up leftover debris. If any small holes or scratches are still showing at this point, you can use a hardwood floor filler product to make the necessary repairs.
Tip 4: Select the Stain and Finish for Your Hardwood Floor Home Remodel
Your stain and finish are entirely up to you, but there are good rules of thumb for application.
The stain should go on with the grain of the wood using a staining sponge or lambswool applicator. Work in small sections at a time to ensure an even coat.
Next up is your finish, which is most commonly a type of polyurethane applied in multiple coats. If you go with a water-based product, it will dry quickly and evenly, but you have to work fast. Oil-based products give your floors a richer glow, but you’ll have to wait much longer between coats.
Polyurethane is also available in several sheens: matte, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Satin is preferred by many homeowners, because it provides just the right amount of luster while concealing flaws, ultimately requiring less maintenance than glossier sheens.
Tip 5: Give Your Flooring the Time It Needs to Cure
Home remodel projects are full of excitement, and when it’s complete, it’s incredibly tempting to put all your furnishings back in their place to see everything together. Patience is a virtue, though, and you need to let your floor cure.
Staying off the floors for a full 24 to 48 hours is even better – and wear socks when you do walk on them. Wait two days for water-based polyurethane and four days for oil-based before carefully placing furniture back in the room. If you have area rugs to lay down, try your best to wait 30 days.
All these efforts ensure your hard work doesn’t go to waste and curbs the risk of dents and damages.
Partner with NextGen for Your Next Professional Home Remodel
Your kitchen garners a lot of traffic and is arguably the most important room in your house, making it one of the best places to begin any home remodel.
Renovation projects often encompass more than hardwood floor refinishing, though, and for that, you need the help of a licensed contractor for home remodeling. We have decades of experience reimagining fundamental spaces like your kitchen. We can adjust the floor plan, move walls, change colors, update materials, and more.
Our Premium kitchen remodels include all the essentials for a cosmetic refresh – new cabinetry, countertops, backsplash, and plumbing fixtures. Remodels in the Premium Plus or above categories come with further customization options, as well as new flooring, if you need it.
NextGen strives to be the best home remodeling company in Kansas City and remains committed to quality, excellence, and care in everything we do. We only use the highest-quality materials and have our own in-house crew, so your home remodel is completed the right way. We’re not finished until the results are brilliant and meet our client’s standards.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. The proof is in the pictures! Check out some of our recent home remodel projects for yourself.