Hardwood Flooring Restoration: Procedure And Tips

hardwood flooring restoration

Hardwood flooring is long-lasting but requires immense care and maintenance. Besides regular cleaning, refinishing and polishing to restore the condition is necessary. This not only brings back the grace to the hardwood floor but also increases its longevity. 

Be it a scuff mark or discoloration or scratch, when you decide to restore the hardwood floor, you should know about it well. Bringing back life to the hardwood requires you to follow a number of steps. Not knowing about them can lead to devastating results that can dim the glaze of the hardwood. So know well before you act. 

After thorough research and experiments, I have decided to share all my experiences regarding hardwood flooring restoration. In this article, I have added the procedure and tips to restore hardwood floors. Hence, to learn the most about it, stay with me. 

8 Steps To Restore Hardwood Flooring: For A Fine Finish: 

If you are intending to do a proper refinishing of the hardwood flooring, you would need to know the process. Besides, you need to have a set of tools to do the task properly.

Therefore, before learning how to restore hardwood, you should accumulate the tools. Here is a list of tools you might need to restore a hardwood floor: 

  • Belt floor sander
  • Pry bar
  • Edge sander
  • Pliers
  • Painter’s tape
  • Plastic sheets
  • Wood trowel filler
  • Sanding screen
  • Putty knife
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Foam roller
  • Wool padding rag
  • Sandpapers
  • Protective gear
  • Pole sander

Okay, so that was pretty much all you need to accomplish this task. Now let’s start the steps of restoring hardwood flooring. 

Step 1: Prepare The Floor: 

Before you start working on the floor, you have to make the surface clear. First, remove all the furniture items from the floor. Then you should cover the electrical plug points and vents using painter’s tape. Otherwise, these small vents can hold up dust and be affected later. 

To protect the doors from dust and chemical agents, cover them with plastic sheets. You will also need to move the base molds a bit. Just turn up the molds at places to make some space at the bottom.

Mark the areas from where the molds are removed to reset them easily. Besides, to use pliers to pluck up the nails and staples that might be sticking out of the floor. If any of the planks are loose, make sure you nail them down and fix them to the subfloor before starting the process. 

Step 2: Repair And Fix The Gaps: 

Time to repair and fix the minor issues on the flooring. Before you finish the hardwood floor, repair has to be done. This would make the floor flat and less flawed. The gaps and holes will be minimized giving an even floor. 

To cover the large and small holes on the hardwood, apply wood filler. For applying, use a putty knife or a trowel filler to spread the wood filler all over the damaged areas. If the damages are prominent, spreading with a trowel filler would be the best. For minor damages, use a small wooden trowel filler as it has a small head. You can use it to correct the individual gaps. 

After you correct and repair all the gaps with the filler, let it dry out completely. Then to remove the loose dirt, use a damp cloth or rag to wipe off the surface. Wait until it is dry and then move to the next step. 

Step 3: Sand The Hardwood Floor: 

Sanding is when you finally start finishing the floor. But this part is going to be a bit difficult. As you have to use a drum sander, handling it can be challenging. As the motor starts, you have to start moving forward, slowly and steadily. This would remove the uneven layers, scratches, and older layers. 

To make it convenient for your use, check the user manual or take help from an expert. Then practice doing it on plywood. As your hands are free, sand and grind the hardwood floor. 

Commence sanding with 40 grit sandpaper as it removes the rough surfaces. Move to the direction of the grains and don’t stop as it may leave marks. But make sure to change the sandpaper after sanding around 20 square feet of area. Also, empty the bag collecting dust in the sander. Note that for sanding the edges, you have to use an edge sander. 

Now, you have to repeat it with 60, 80, and 120 grit papers for a fine finish. Sand the floor and edges properly to remove all the scars and uneven surfaces. After sanding, the hardwood would be a bit rough but even. 

Step 4: Buff The Surface: 

Buffing is done to remove the scars and unsmooth surfaces after sanding. You can use an industrial buffer for the hardwood floor for this task. However, if you want to make the task a bit easier, use a pole sander. 

While handling an industrial buffer requires a certain level of expertise, using a pole sander needs patience and enough time. You have to buff each board with a 120-grit sand screen moving along the direction of the wood grain. This will leave a smooth surface. 

Step 5: Prepare The Floor For Staining And Sealing: 

Sealing and staining are steps that revive the look of the flooring and leave a protective layer on it. But before you do that, preparing the floor is very important. 

The basic step of preparing is to clean the flooring. Due to heavy sanding and buffing, the floor will have a lot of loose dirt. Not only the floor but the walls have dirt too. Therefore, your first task is to vacuum the floor and then use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe off the walls. Wipe the floor with a mop or tack cloth. 

However, this is not the end of the preparation part. For complete absorption of the stain, you have to apply a solution. The solution will be a mixture of 1/3rd portion of denatured alcohol and 2/3rd portion of water. Mix it well and spread it evenly on the floor using a spraying pump.

After spraying, use a mop to evenly spread it. Let the solution sit for 30 minutes. It simply makes the staining look better as absorption is better. 

Step 6: Stain The Floor: 

Note that you have to stain the floor only if you want a different color. If the color of the floor isn’t a matter, skip this step and go for the sealing part. 

Oil-based stains are the best for hardwood. Choose one and use a staining sponge to do the task. Wet the sponge in the stain and strain the extra liquid. Now start applying the stain from one corner of the room and move towards the door so you don’t ruin the stain.

Move to the direction of the grains and carefully stain the edges too. Make sure to cover the joints between the wood planks. But remember not to apply excess stain on the floor. 

After applying the stain, wait for 24 hours to let it dry. Apply another coat of stain on the floor if you want a darker and prominent color shade. 

Step 7: Seal The Hardwood:

Sealing is the most crucial part as it leaves a protective layer on the surface. Sealing puts a layer on the hardwood making it moisture-resistant. Also, all the scars and damages are completely covered by the sealant. 

No matter which grade of hardwood it is, polyurethane sealants are the most popular ones. Available in the water-based and oil-based formula, sealants are not absorbed by the hardwood. Consequently, the layer stays on the hardwood protecting it well from the outer conditions.

Remember that you can choose between the sealant finishes starting from glossy to matte. Wear a mask while applying and ventilate the area properly. 

Before you seal the hardwood, vacuum cleans the floor once to be safe. Now use a foam roller to spread the polyurethane sealant on the floor. For the corners, use a brush to apply it. Complete sealing the floor once and wait until it is dry. 

Next, you have to seal the floor a few more times. Each time, let the sealant dry out and buff the edges well. For buffing, use a wool pad. In this way, put several layers of sealants as the protection will be strong.

Now, wait for at least 72 hours to let the sealant sit on the floor well. As it dries out properly, it also makes the wood look polished and the protection is reinforced too. 

Step 8: Apply A Finish: 

Okay, so now that everything is done, it is time to finish the hardwood floor and restore the fresh and new look. 

After applying the polyurethane, you can choose between an oil-based finish or wax. Wax finish is preferred the most due to its matte and raw look. However, for a glossy touch, you should go for the oil-based finish. Both are durable but should be reapplied after a certain time passes. 

Note that applying the finish is optional if you are satisfied with the look after sealing the floor. If you want a touchup, only then you can choose a finish. 

Caution: Make sure to wear protective gear all the time. Chemical and dust exposure can harm your health. So wearing goggles, a face mask, and gloves are mandatory. 

3 Tips To Maintain Restored Hardwood Flooring: 

To maintain the restored hardwood flooring, you need to take some steps. You have to take care of the restored hardwood flooring to keep the glaze intact. 

Here are 3 tips for maintaining the beauty of the flooring after restoration: 

1. Regular Cleaning: 

Clean the flooring thrice a week. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the loose dirt from the flooring. Then mop the floor with a mild cleaning agent and plain water. This would prevent scratching the hardwood floor with loose dirt. 

Besides, deep clean the floor once a month. A wood floor cleaner is suitable for deep cleaning. It would keep the sealant intact and color shiny. 

2. Professional Deep Cleaning: 

Not only to keep the shine and gloss of the hardwood but professionally cleaning the floor is necessary to make the floor durable. Polishing, grinding, and cleaning the floor makes the floor more furnished and beautiful. 

Thus consider cleaning the floor by a professional at least once a year. 

3. Sealing In 3 to 5 Years: 

Sealing keeps the flooring intact and safe from pollution and moisture. If you don’t apply sealants on the flooring at least once in 5 years, the layers will come off. In fact, I would suggest you apply the sealants once every 3 years. If you apply the sealant, the hardwood stays protected for a long time. 

Related Questions About Hardwood Flooring Restoration:

How To Restore Hardwood Flooring Without Sanding? 

Sanding the floor is not only a hectic process but expensive too.  Many may want to avoid sanding the hardwood flooring. Now, if the hardwood flooring is not in very bad condition, you can skip the sanding part. 

If you skip sanding the floor, you can choose floor buffing. Buffing the floor also removes the minor scratches and scars from the hardwood. It leaves a fine and smooth surface on the flooring.

After you buff the hardwood, apply a finish coating on the surface along with the sealant. This is how you can avoid sanding but restore the hardwood flooring. 

What Is The Cheapest Way Of Hardwood Flooring Restoration?

If you want to shine and glamour in your hardwood flooring and cover the small scars, you may not need a complete restoration process. In fact, it is expensive and time-consuming. 

If your floor has minor scratches and discoloration, you can use a revitalizer gloss to cover up those scars and faded areas. You can apply the gloss on the hardwood flooring to leave a fine and smooth finish. If the scars are not deep, they will be covered by them and the hardwood floor will look new and fresh.

Can hardwood flooring be restored without professional help?

While it is possible to restore hardwood flooring without professional help, it can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Properly sanding and refinishing hardwood floors require specialized equipment and skills to achieve the best results. In addition, identifying and addressing underlying issues, such as subfloor damage or structural concerns, may require professional expertise. Hiring a professional hardwood flooring contractor ensures that the restoration process is executed efficiently and effectively, saving you time, effort, and potential mistakes.

How often should hardwood flooring be restored?

The frequency of hardwood flooring restoration depends on various factors, including the wear and tear it experiences, the quality of the original finish, and the level of maintenance it receives. In general, hardwood floors may need restoration every 7 to 10 years or when signs of wear become evident, such as scratches, dullness, or loss of protective finish. However, with proper maintenance, including regular cleaning and preventive measures like using furniture pads and area rugs, the need for restoration can be minimized, extending the lifespan of the floor before major refinishing is required.

Are there any precautions to consider during the hardwood flooring restoration process?

During hardwood flooring restoration, it is important to take certain precautions. Proper ventilation is crucial to dissipate dust and fumes generated during sanding and finishing. Use protective equipment, such as a dust mask, safety goggles, and gloves, to safeguard against dust and chemicals. Prepare the area by covering furniture and belongings to prevent damage from dust or accidental spills. Follow manufacturer instructions for any products used, including stains and finishes, and allow adequate drying time between each step. If unsure about the restoration process or encountering significant issues, consult a professional for guidance and assistance.

How Much Does It Cost To Restore Hardwood Flooring? 

When you think of hardwood flooring restoration, considering the cost is a good decision. Having a budget makes you decide what type of restoration you would want. 

Ideally, you would require around $1050 to $2500 to restore hardwood flooring. In that case, it costs between $3 to $8 to restore and refinish per square foot of area. The cost is the sum of the labor cost and the materials required for the restoration. Note that the labor cost is a lot. So if you manage to do it all by yourself, the cost will be less. 

Is Hardwood Flooring Restoration Cheaper Than Replacing? 

If you compare the price between hardwood flooring restoration and replacing, restoration costs will be less. 

Remember that restoration doesn’t require you to buy any hardwood plank. You can rent the necessary equipment from a shop, buy the agents, learn the process and do it. However, replacing the hardwood would require planks as well as labor.

Therefore, the labor cost along with the price of the plank would be more compared to the cost of restoration. Even if you hire someone for the restoration, it would be cheaper. 

How Much Wood Is Removed As You Sand The Hardwood Floor? 

Sanding is a crucial part of hardwood flooring restoration. It makes the floor even and free from all the scratches and scars. That’s when you sand the hardwood flooring, it takes off the layers of the floor. 

The amount of wood removed depends on the sanding paper you are using. But generally, you may remove around 1/16th of inches of hardwood with sandpaper. This is the maximum that you may remove by sanding. Depending on the force and sandpaper, you can remove less than this too. 

How Many Times Can You Restore 3/4th Hardwood Flooring? 

A 3/4th inch thick hardwood flooring can be restored for a limited time. Because after refinishing it several times, the layers will be worn out. At that time, you have to replace it. 

Ideally, you can restore and refinish 3/4th hardwood flooring 4 to 6 times. You can restore and refinish the hardwood flooring once every 8 to 10 years. This means you can easily use the hardwood flooring for 30 to 50 years depending on how you maintain it. 


You have a complete idea of how you can restore the hardwood flooring and maintain the grace. Besides, the common queries are solved too. Now that you have adequate knowledge, this is the time to decide!

Read the article again, clear out the confusion, and restore your hardwood flooring to revive the condition.

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

2 thoughts on “Hardwood Flooring Restoration: Procedure And Tips

  1. Pingback: How Long Does It Take To Replace A Carpet With Hardwood?
  2. Thanks for also talking about how I can maintain hardwood flooring without needing regular sanding. I’d like to find a good flooring contractor soon because I want to get new flooring for my living room. I think that wooden flooring will have a lot more personality to my home in the long run.


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