Hardwood floor refinishing is a long and involved process, which is why most homeowners choose to hire a professional and let them handle it. But if you're on a tight budget and have some handy skills yourself, you might opt to do your own refinishing. Here are some tips to help ensure the process is a success.
1. Stick with an orbital sander.
You could never sand all the finish off an old hardwood floor by hand; it would take you months. You will need to rent some sort of sander for the job, and an orbital sander is your best bet. Some professionals use drum sanders, but there's quite a learning curve associated with them, so unless you have used one before, you probably don't want to attempt it. An orbital sander will remove the finish cleanly and evenly without a whole lot of skill required on your part. All you have to do is keep it level; you can move it in any direction as you sand.
2. Prepare for the dust.
The dust generated when sanding the floor is not at all healthy to breathe in, and it can spread around easily. Prepare for the dust by putting curtains or sheets over the doorways leading into the room where you're doing the work. Wear a respirator when sanding, and also wear goggles. Turn off your HVAC system while you're sanding to avoid getting the dust into the ducts.
3. Apply stain one area at a time.
Applying stain evenly over a large surface can be tough. The best way to get an even result is to treat one small area at a time. Apply the stain, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe away the excess. Move onto a new area. If you try to treat too large an area at once, some of the stain ends up sitting for too long before you wipe away the excess.
4. Work from the far end of the room to the door.
It can be hard to avoid getting "trapped" in the room while staining or applying the finish. Make sure you work from one corner of the room towards the door. Depending on how your room is laid out, you may need to do part of the floor, let it dry, and then do the rest the next day.
Refinishing a hardwood floor is a big project, but if you have the time and you follow the tips above, you can do it. Contact a pro if you run into any trouble.
For more information or help, contact a hardwood floor refinishing service in your area.