3 Easy and Affordable Ways to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

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Hardwood floors look great in any home. They are highly durable, which is why they are often reclaimed from old buildings and installed in a new location. However, they are also prone to gradual wear and tear. If your hardwood floor’s appearance is far from pristine, it might be time to refinish them.

So what are low-cost ways to refinish hardwood floors? Refinishing hardwood floors is a way to make the material look brand new without having to install new flooring. Aside from hiring a professional to do the job, you can try to refinish the hardwood by using a store-bought abrasion kit, recoating it with a polyurethane solution, or applying a revitalizer. For better DIY refinishing project results, proper floor cleaning is an important step to make the coating stick better.

3 Inexpensive Ways to Refinish Hardwood Floors

In 2019, the US wood flooring market was valued at $4.6 billion and was expected to grow by 1.5% in the following years. The reason for this demand was the growing preference for aesthetically pleasing and durable flooring materials like hardwood. Although they can endure dust, dents, and scratches, hardwood floors eventually lose their shine without proper maintenance.

Homeowners usually think that sanding, staining, and resealing the hardwood floors is the only way to give the old materials a new look. But these projects produce plenty of wood dust. Most scratches are surface level, which can easily be solved within a day of a refinishing project.

Before working on the hardwood floors, it’s important to know first what kind of material you are dealing with. Wood will react differently to various solutions, so it’s crucial to apply the right chemical mix. If you’re unsure about the material, you can always perform a test on a small part of the floor to ensure that the solutions will stick.

1. Using a Store-Bought Abrasion Kit

Pros Cons
The abrasion kit includes all the major materials needed to effectively refinish the hardwood floors. Using the kit is a two-person job, so ask your friends to lend a hand for a quicker and more effective refinishing project.
You don’t need to worry about debris flying all over the place because this method does not involve heavy sanding which creates dust. It’s important to apply the finish quickly because it dries almost immediately.

Chemical abrasion kits are readily available online or at the nearest home improvement store. It may be named differently by the manufacturer, but all kits contain the needed tools for a good flooring finish.

This method utilizes a special chemical that prepares the floor and etches the old finish so that the new one will stick. After that, a new coat will be applied to restore the floor’s shine. All kits come with an easy-to-follow manual to ensure that you’re doing it right, but here is a quick step-by-step guide to help you complete the refinishing process effectively: 

  1. Clear the room of any furniture, fixtures, and other things that might get in the way of the job.
  2. Apply the liquid abrasive to the floor and scrub it. The abrasive pad can be attached to a broom handle, but it can also be applied by hand. Just make sure to wear protective gear and clothes that you don’t mind ruining.
  3. Clean the floor with a gallon of water mixed with two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Make sure that the mop you are using is only slightly damp to prevent causing water damage to the floors.
  4. For deeper scratches, apply more stain to that area to match the floor. Blot it with a rag to blend the colors. After the stain has dried, add a thin layer of finishing coat from the kit.
  5. Coat the floor with a new finish. Complete this step quickly because the solution dries out immediately, making the finish difficult to smooth out.
  6. Wait patiently for the finish to dry. It usually takes at least 24 hours before the furniture pieces can be brought inside without damaging the new finish.

2. Recoating with Polyurethane Solution

Pros Cons
Polyurethane coats are long-lasting, which is why it will take several years before another refinishing project is required. Since this method produces more dust because of the buffer, ensure that all furniture pieces are removed from the room and the fixtures are covered with a tarp or fabric.
This approach produces results that are almost as good as a refinishing job done by professionals. Most homeowners don’t own a buffer, but you can rent one from a nearby home improvement store.

 Similar to utilizing an abrasion kit, this step requires roughing up the floors first before applying a new finish. Instead of using an abrasive liquid, this method requires the rental of a buffer from the nearest home improvement store.

Buffing is messier than chemical kits because it is similar to sanding. It produces a lot more dust so make sure to cover all fixtures and furniture pieces with fabric. However, buffing only roughs up the surface to get rid of the existing finish. This allows the new finish to bond better with the hardwood floors. Here’s how you can recoat the floors with a polyurethane solution:

  1. Before renting a buffer from the nearest home improvement store, plan out the project first to make the most out of the rental. It also helps to ask for instructions about how to use the tool.
  2. Sweep the room and move all furniture pieces to a different area in the home. Cleaning ensures that the floor is free of any gunk that may affect how well the finish will stick on the surface. While floor cleaning, take note of all problem areas that have stripped finish, dents, or deep scratches.
  3. After floor cleaning, douse the problem areas with mineral spirits to darken them. It’s better to utilize two different stain colors to match the grain of the hardwood better.
  4. Protruding nails can damage the buffer so ensure that they are properly sunk before getting to work.
  5. The buffer won’t reach the corners of the room and areas near the baseboard, so it’s better to rough up these places by hand.
  6. Once everything is cleaned and the edges of the room are roughened, set up a sanding screen under the buffer.
  7. Buffing leads to tons of dust flying around the place so make sure that the work area is sealed. Remember to wear a dust mask while using the buffer.
  8. After using the buffer, vacuum the room and wipe the floors.
  9. Apply the polyurethane finish on the floor. Use either an oil-based urethane or water-based urethane.

3. Applying a Revitalizer

Pros Cons
Applying a revitalizer gloss is the simplest and cheapest way to refinish hardwood floors. This approach works best on floors that only have surface-level scratches and other minor wear and tear issues.
You can get the job done without the need for equipment rentals or hard-to-find materials. To achieve the best results, apply the revitalizer gloss frequently.

 If the floors only have minimal signs of wear and tear, a revitalizer is enough to make them look brand new. This solution is available at home improvement stores. Aside from restoring the shine of the dull hardwood, it also fills the scratches and adds a glossy finish to the floors. 

Here’s how to apply a revitalizer gloss at home:

  1. Clean the floor using water and vinegar so that it doesn’t have too much grime and dust. Ensure to only utilize a damp mop when cleaning so that the wood floors won’t be damaged by water. When the floor is thoroughly cleaned, it’s easier for the revitalizer to seep into the scratches and pores of the hardwood.
  2. Apply the revitalizer gloss by following the instructions on the package. Spread the solution evenly using a mop.
  3. Before returning all the furniture to the room, ensure that the finish has dried first.

Should Your Hardwood Floor Be Refinished?

Even the most durable hardwood floors are vulnerable to gradual wear and tear. To give it a brand-new look, hardwood floors are usually sanded and refinished. The average hardwood flooring is thick enough to stand a few refinishing and sanding sessions before it becomes too thin for reclaiming purposes.

To know if it’s time to refinish the hardwood floors, check the material for scratches and discoloration. For fading and dullness, deep cleaning removes the dust and improves the floor’s appearance.

All you need for deep cleaning the hardwood floors is a vacuum, microfiber cloth, and a concentrated cleaner. If deep cleaning still doesn’t bring back the floor’s shine, then it’s time for a refinishing project. Essential oils can also be combined with the cleaning solution for added fragrance. 

Why Refinishing is Better Than Replacing Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is a durable material. It doesn’t need to be replaced every time stains and scratches appear. Most of the time, all it takes is a good refinishing job to make the floors look like they’ve been replaced with new ones.

Replacing the hardwood floors also requires a bigger budget. Aside from paying for the new materials, you also must also pay the laborers for pulling up the hardwood, cleaning the debris, and installing the new floors.

However, there are also situations when replacing hardwood floors is better than refinishing the floors in a home project. Aside from the typical degradation brought by scratches and stains, water can also cause the material to warp and swell. If this is the case, hardwood floors damaged by water are not a good option for a home improvement project.


DIY or Hiring a Professional: Which is Better for Refinishing Hardwood?

DIY refinishing projects are a good way to save some cash, but there are situations when professional help might be needed for better results. Projects like this typically require you to spend around $200 and rent other materials, such as a buffer, to complete the job. It might also take the whole weekend to finish the project, depending on the area to be refinished.

On the other hand, professionals can be hired to finish the hardwood floors for around $675 to $1125. The exact rate will depend on the home’s location and the floor’s condition. Although it is more expensive, professionals will do a better job of making the floors shine than a DIY kit. They also have the right tools to get the job done quickly.

Long-Lasting Hardwood Floors from Zothex Flooring 

At Zothex Flooring, we ensure that all our hardwood products are made to last for decades. They are also durable enough to withstand a few refinishing sessions. If you are looking for different hardwood flooring options, we offer a wide selection of materials made of different wood species.

For your next flooring project, contact Zothex Flooring now at (916) 925 – 1958.

Read more: What Flooring Lasts the Longest?

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