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Should You Refinish Your Own Wood Floors?

Repair Home Columnist

The beauty of wood floors is that they can be refinished to bring back their natural beauty. While it may be tempting to try this type of home improvement project yourself, this is one job best left to professionals.

Wood Floor Sanding

The biggest hurdle homeowners face with wood floor refinishing is the equipment. The work involves using large, heavy sanders. While these machines can be rented in home improvement stores, they are difficult to use and can cause considerable damage if used incorrectly. Sanders can gauge the floor or damage molding and furniture, for example.

It's a Dirty Job...

Wood floor refinishing is a dusty, dirty home improvement project. The work involves repairing the floors, then sanding, staining and varnishing them. Those who are sensitive to dust or who have allergies in particular should stay away from this type of work.

Wood Floor Preparation

Wood floor refinishing also involves plenty of prep work. Before any sanding begins, floors must be examined for damage. The repair work often involves filling in holes, scraping off paint spills and crayon marks and making sure all transition areas are level and filled in. This includes:

  • Removing damaged wood
  • Adding new wood
  • Filling smaller holes with wood putty


Turn to Wood Floor Contractors

Because of the equipment and prep work involved, wood floor refinishing is best left to professionals. Look for a contractor who works with wood floors regularly and can tell you about:

  • The best way to fix damaged areas.
  • The number of coats of varnish to apply for maximum protection.
  • Stain colors that can match with cabinetry or furniture.

When interviewing contractors, ask them for details on how they would prepare the floors. Walk around the floors and have them explain how they will fix trouble spots. Above all, ask for references and check them. By looking at other floors they have finished, you'll get a good sense of how your wood floors can look.

About the Author
Allison E. Beatty is a syndicated real estate writer who has been writing home improvement columns for 15 years.