How To Refurbish Hardwood Floors On Your own – Like A Pro: Your QuickStart Guide


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Suppose that you’re looking to revitalize the interior of your home. You’ve decorated and painted, but the room still doesn’t look the way that you imagined. That’s when you realize, you’ve upgraded everything but that old wood floor.

A fine, hardwood floor isn’t only beautiful. It can also be a huge bonus to the value of your home. But what if you do have a hardwood floor, but it has seen better days?

Well, don’t give up on it yet. Many homeowners are taking the DIY approach to refurbish hardwood floors themselves. With the proper know-how and a little luck, you can have your lustrous hardwood floors back.

Refurbish Hardwood Floors like a Pro

How you go about rehabilitating your floors will depend on a few variables.

The decision to refurbish, refinish, or replace your floor will depend on the condition and the thickness of the boards. That means getting down on your hand and knees to take a close look.

Checking the Boards

The standard treatment for worn or scruffed hardwood to refinish the boards. This requires prying up the boards, sanding, and refinishing them. This is a labor and skill intensive process, so having some experience with woodworking and sealing is ideal.

Where many owners run into problems is if their floors are too new. Many contemporary wood floors are only about a quarter of an inch thick, including laminate. Trying to sand boards that thin would likely turn them into dust.

If this is the case, then your options are dependant on the extent of the damage. Shallow scratches can be concealed with a wood staining marker or floor sealant.

More severe damage may be able to be repaired by hand-sanding the boards and filling in the affected area. However, if the damage to a thin board is that severe, it may be a total loss.

Another potential problem is if, upon examination, you find that the gaps between the floorboards have widened to the point that you can see the nails that hold the floor down.

This is a bad sign, indicative that the boards are too far gone to be saved.

What to Do If the Boards Can’t Be Saved

Unfortunately, it often happens that the floorboards are too thin, too warped, or too far gone to be rescued. In these situations, replacement is likely the only remedy.

While reflooring a room can be expensive, there are a couple of options that can help keep your project budget from getting out of control.

Floating Boards

An increasingly common solution for many homeowners is to floor their homes with floating boards.

Their main selling points are their affordability and the ease of their installation. They fit together without the need for glue or nails and can be layered directly over an old floor.

That makes them especially useful if you have reason to believe that your old floor has asbestos in it. Asbestos requires professional removal, which is expensive and time-consuming.

It’s also a good option if you don’t want to go to the trouble of prying up an old, unsalvageable floor. You can check out options for floating board solutions at

Reclaimed Wood

Another cost-saving option is to use reclaimed wood.

It’s the most green-conscious option, repurposing material that would go to waste otherwise. Reclaimed wood works best with a rustic or rugged motif, but with a little sanding and staining, you can make it work in most any capacity.

Palettes are the most common source of reclaimed wood, but some suppliers have taken to using oak whiskey barrels. Ideally, the branding on the barrels is preserved in the recycling process, giving your floors a unique personality.

Reworking the Room from the Ground Up

The floor is literally the base of the room. The rest of the space can be immaculately cleaned, painted, and decorated, but it will never completely come together without its foundation.

How you refurbish hardwood floors is dependant on your situation, and may not be easy, but the finished project will be worth the time and effort.

Meanwhile, if you have another room with dingy, stained carpets, have a look at our tips on how to breathe new life into them.