How to Refinish a Wood Floor with Polyurethane Finish

What You'll Need
Drum sander
Lambswool applicator
Metal paint tray
Wood filler
Mineral spirits

If you have a hardwood floor you're planning to refinish with a polyurethane finish, you may find that doing it yourself is quite simple. By following the steps below you can make your floor look as good as new, and you can take pride in knowing you did it, yourself.

Step 1- Remove All Furniture

Remove all the furniture from the room you plan to refinish, It is also a good idea to remove curtains or drapery to prevent them from becoming dusty.

Step 2 - Sand Your Floor

With a drum sander and 20 grit sand paper, sand the hardwood, beginning in the middle of the room. Then sand diagonally across the room, moving the sander in and forward and backward motion. Be careful that you don't over-sand and create gouges or deep scratches in the floor. Once your sanding has removed most of the floor's finish, use a 35 grit sand paper and sand again. This time, sand only in the direction of the grain. Sand several times, using a lighter grit each time until the surface of the floor is completely smooth.

Step 3 - Clean Dirt from All Gaps

Sometimes there are gaps in the floor boards and, over time, these can begin to be filled with dirt and miscellaneous debris. Use a putty knife or other tool to remove this debris.

Step 4 - Fill the Gaps

So that there are no open gaps after cleaning them, fill them with professional wood filler. When purchasing the filler, try to get a color that matches the finished color of your hardwood.

Step 5 - Sand the Floor Again

Once you have filled all the gaps, you will need to smooth the surface of the floor by again using your sander with 60 grit sandpaper, Continue sanding with a finer grit sandpaper until the floor is smooth.

Step 6 - Vacuum the Floor

You will now want to vacuum your floor thoroughly, so as to completely remove all dust and debris. To pick up finer dust particles you may need to vacuum several times.

Step 7 - To Seal, or Not to Seal

Although you could seal the wood before applying your polyurethane, some contractors recommend that you apply it without sealer. This will allow the natural colors of the wood to be show more vividly. Be sure that before applying the polyurethane, you have good ventilation in the area in which you will be working.

Step 8 - Apply the Polyurethane

Use a lamb's wool applicator to apply the product. This applicator can usually be purchased at your home improvement store. Add your polyurethane to a metal paint tray, then use the applicator much like you would a paint roller, spreading the product in the direction of the wood grain. Apply three coats of the polyurethane, allowing time for each coat to dry before adding the next coat. Read your product instructions for suggested drying time. In between each application, make sure you use mineral spirits to remove the polyurethane from the applicator. This will prevent the applicator from becoming hard and unusable.