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Refinishing Hardwood Floors

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Forum topic by agallant posted 07-16-2015 04:57 PM 605 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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agallant

530 posts in 2348 days


07-16-2015 04:57 PM

I am thinking of taking on sanding and refinishing the hardwood floors in my new house. Its about 1,300 square feet. I would rent the equipment. Has anyone taken on this project? If so I have a few questions

How long did it take you?
Was it back breaking work?
Did you feel like doing it on your own was worth the savings of paying someone to do it?
Any tips or tricks?

Thanks for the help.

-AG


14 replies so far

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ChuckC

821 posts in 2397 days


#1 posted 07-16-2015 05:34 PM

I’ve done this many times and it’s a simple project for someone that has some DIY skill. The best piece of advice I can provide it to not rent a drum sander. They are very aggressive and if you don’t know what you are doing you can really damage the floor. You will also need an edge sander as well.

The HD near me rent a U-Sand floor sander. Instead of a drum there are 4 6” pads that oscillate. Velcro holds the sanding discs on. It works very well and is very forgiving. You can’t mess it up. There is no need for an edge sander either. You just turn it on and guide it around the room. The weight of the machine does all the work. The only backbreaking part is getting it out of the car!

For the polyurethane finish get a lambswool applicator. I don’t bother cleaning it between coats. They are cheap so I get one per coat which is usually 3.

Good luck!

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RobS888

1984 posts in 1307 days


#2 posted 07-16-2015 05:42 PM

We did the first floor with the 4 pad sander and went through a large number of pads, perhaps 40 of them. We are getting ready to do the floor of the attic and I saw HD now have abranet type sheets that are large rectangles (12×18 perhaps). It looks to me like it would get much closer to the edge than the 4 ROS type, so I’m going to go with that next time. I have just started to use abranet sheets a little, but my wife uses them for her wood turning and loves them. They don’t seem to get dirty as fast.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

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agallant

530 posts in 2348 days


#3 posted 07-16-2015 06:03 PM

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BadBrad

4 posts in 507 days


#4 posted 07-16-2015 06:08 PM

Hey I did the same thing in my house as well. First get some stripper and clean the floor with it to get the years of wax and polish off. I started out sanding the floor with a floor sander and the paper just kept getting gummed up with wax so it had to be stripped. Make sure you get a corner sander or edge sander as well. I tried to use my hand sander and it did not do a very good job. Stain a small place to make sure you like it before you go all out. Then put polyurethane on it. The hardest part was stripping the floor by far, hands and knees approach here for me. The rest went smooth. Took about two days. Weekend project for two rooms. Better than spending 2 grand for someone else to do it.

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agallant

530 posts in 2348 days


#5 posted 07-16-2015 06:13 PM


Better than spending 2 grand for someone else to do it.

- BadBrad

If it was only 2K I would gladly pay it. Sadly its about $3/foot before all of the up sells and I have 1,300 feet.

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BasementShop

69 posts in 762 days


#6 posted 07-16-2015 06:18 PM

Be sure to post some befores and afters so you can gloat on your accomplishment!

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ChuckC

821 posts in 2397 days


#7 posted 07-17-2015 01:47 PM

This is the one I was referring to:
http://www.u-sand.com/u-sand/orbital-sander.aspx

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JayT

4773 posts in 1673 days


#8 posted 07-17-2015 01:59 PM

I’ve refinished floors in a couple rooms in our house. First time was with a drum sander—never again. Next time I used a random orbit sander that takes large single sheets (about 16×24) like this one:

It gets close enough to the wall that I didn’t need to rent an edger.

Time wise, I was able to do a room over a weekend. For multiple rooms, it would probably take 3-4 days. The major time drain is waiting for finish to dry so you can put down the next layer.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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ElChe

630 posts in 798 days


#9 posted 07-17-2015 02:07 PM

+1 on not using a drum style sander. I tried and failed miserably with a drum style sander. The oscillating pad sanders as indicated above are relatively idiot proof. At least for this idiot.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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agallant

530 posts in 2348 days


#10 posted 07-17-2015 02:12 PM



I ve refinished floors in a couple rooms in our house. First time was with a drum sander—never again. Next time I used a random orbit sander that takes large single sheets (about 16×24) like this one:

It gets close enough to the wall that I didn t need to rent an edger.

Time wise, I was able to do a room over a weekend. For multiple rooms, it would probably take 3-4 days. The major time drain is waiting for finish to dry so you can put down the next layer.

- JayT

Since we are not moving in to the house right away do you think its realistic to sand the entire 1,300 feet in a weekend then pop down there after work for a few hours each day to apply stain and varnish?

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JayT

4773 posts in 1673 days


#11 posted 07-17-2015 02:56 PM


Since we are not moving in to the house right away do you think its realistic to sand the entire 1,300 feet in a weekend then pop down there after work for a few hours each day to apply stain and varnish?

- agallant

Read the instructions on the varnish to know for sure. Most of them have a short open window where the finish is dry enough to walk on to the add the next layer, but doesn’t need to be scuffed up. IIRC, for the finish I used that was approx 2-4 hours after application. If you are going to wait a day between applications, you will probably have to scuff the finish between coats. You’ll need at least 3 or 4 coats.

You might be better off sanding one weekend, applying stain on one evening and then doing all the varnish coats the next weekend in order to take advantage of that time window. With 1300 sq ft, it might even be possible that by the time you finished the last room, the first would be nearly ready for the next coat. You’d have to plan the order of rooms carefully.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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Hammerthumb

2532 posts in 1437 days


#12 posted 07-17-2015 03:51 PM

Please read the instructions on the finish. If you are using an oil modified stain or finish, be aware of any pilot lights or open flames need to be turned off.

I agree that operating a drum sander is not something that you learn in a few minutes, but the only thing I can say about the other types of sanders discussed is that they do not cut very fast. This could be a good thing for someone not very experienced, but also be aware that areas that may look like bare wood might still have some old finish left in the pores of the wood. This will become apperant when you apply stain.

I highly recommend using stain and finish from a floor finish manufacturer. Dura Seal and Bona Kemi are a couple of manufacturers that make great products. I do not recommend using something from a big box store, even if it says that it is recommended for floor finishes. Find a hardwood flooring distributor for these products.

These manufacturers make quick dry stains that can have a finish coat applied over them within hours. I like using waterbased finishes for the top coats as they dry and cure quicker. They surpass oil modified finishes in taber abrasion resistance tests, but are a little harder to apply than oil modified.

As I said, please read the instruction before applying finishes due to the explosive vapors of some products. Also, properly dispose of stain rags as they are susceptible to ignition.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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ClammyBallz

309 posts in 598 days


#13 posted 07-17-2015 04:24 PM


Also, properly dispose of stain rags as they are susceptible to ignition.

- Hammerthumb

A couple bought the house across the street from work, before they moved in, they had some guys come in and refinish the floor. The crew left all the sanding dust and the finish soaked rags on the front porch when they left for the day. That evening, the rags ignited on the front porch and the fire traveled through the siding and up the wall to the second floor by the time the fire trucks arrived. When the firefighters hooked up the hose and attempted to soaked the porch, the pile of rags & dust went up into a big fire ball higher than the porch roof from all the vapors. You don’t think these things can happen, but the crazy part is that it was two weeks before Christmas when it happened and it was only 45 – 50F outside that day.

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ChuckC

821 posts in 2397 days


#14 posted 07-17-2015 07:04 PM


Since we are not moving in to the house right away do you think its realistic to sand the entire 1,300 feet in a weekend then pop down there after work for a few hours each day to apply stain and varnish?

- agallant

That’s how I would do it. If it’s possible do it before you move the furniture in. It becomes much harder in a furnished house. The more you rent that sander the more it will cost too. When I did mine I knew I was going to do a lot of rooms so I just bought one. I’ve moved since then and I’ll be doing the same in the new house so it really worked out.

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