How to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors If They Have Worn Down Over Time

Time to refinish your hardwood floors? Many homes in the area have gorgeous hardwood flooring. Once the floors are worn down, scuffed or scratched it’s time to refinish them to their natural beauty. While some people end up covering their hardwood flooring with another surface, you can restore your floors for the rich and warm look of natural wood.

Here’s another common scenario in the city. You buy an older house that is covered in carpet or vinyl.  Take a peek underneath. You might find the flooring equivalent of gold. As mentioned before, covering hardwood flooring happens regularly. If you are not the only people who have lived in your home, it’s worth it to have a look because you never know what you might find underneath.

The First Step To Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

The first step is to analyze the floor. If the floor is engineered hardwood, or hardwood that is only ¼ thick with a laminate coating on top, do not try to sand and refinished. You’ll end up wearing away the entire floor.

your hardwood floors

Once you have determined your floor is truly hardwood, it’s time to check the gaps between the floor planks. If they are widening and you can see the nails that hold the floor down, it’s probably best to not try and refinish the floor yourself.

You should also determine the type of wood you are dealing with. The most common is pine and oak. Maple, walnut and mahogany are a harder wood which can be a little more difficult and time consuming to work with.

The Second Step to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors – Prepare The Floors

You will want to remove the trim from the walls. If it is still in good shape, take care while removing it so that it can be reused. You may need to use a utility knife to cut a line in the paint between the trim and the wall. Then use a wide-blade putty knife and a pry bar to remove the trim.

prepare the floors

Next you will do a thorough job cleaning the floor. It is important to remove as much dirt and debris as you can. While cleaning the floors, check for protruding nail heads. If you find any, use a nail set to countersink the heads about ¼ inch below the surface.

Now it’s time to isolate the area you are working in. Sanding can cause dust to get everywhere. So, close the doors to each room you are working in. You may also wish to cover windows, furniture and vents.

The Third Step to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors – Start Sanding

You will want to use a 20-grit sandpaper pad with your sander. When sanding down your floors you will want to work in small sections approximately 2” by 4”. It’s important to move the sander in a straight path with the direction of the boards. You also need to keep the sander moving at all times. While sanding, you should ensure you are not pushing the sander along, but rather just steering it as it pushes itself across the wood.

step 3 start sanding

  • You can use an edge sander to sand around the edges of the room. In corners you may want to use a wood scraper and sandpaper.
  • You will repeat the same process with a 60-grit sandpaper to remove blemishes and scratches. Start at the opposite side of the room this time.
  • You will then repeat the process once more with a 120-grit sanding pad attached to a power buffer.
  • Spot check your floor to ensure you didn’t miss anything. If you did, go over it by hand with a piece of sandpaper.

The Fourth Step to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors – Vacuum

Use a good vacuum (we recommend an industrial-grade one) to vacuum up the fine dust particles from the floor. Use a soft-bristle hardwood floor attachment to ensure you aren’t scratching your newly sanded floor.

refinish your floors

The Fifth Step to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors – Finish

To finish your hardwood flooring you will want to apply a sealant. We recommend you use a four-inch bristle brush to cut in the areas around the perimeter of the room. Be sure to work in the direction of the wood grain. Use a lambswool applicator to apply the sealant to the rest of the floor. Again, you want to work in the direction of the grain.

hardwood floors

Allow the sealant to dry for at least 24 hours and then buff it with a power buffer. Once again you will vacuum the residue.

You will then follow the same procedure to apply a second coat of sealant.

It’s a lot of work to refinish your hardwood floors. The easiest way is to call in the professionals. At Home Painters Toronto, we’re more than just painters. We have an entire handyman crew with years of experience refinishing hardwood flooring. If it’s time to restore your floors, give us a call. We’d love to bring out the beauty in your floor.

A fixture in our community, Home Painters honors all of our commitments. If you have any questions or would like to set up a Free Consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 416.494.9095, or email [email protected], and get a FREE quote and we can help with painting/refisnishing the hardwood floor – we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Brian Young - Home Painters Toronto

From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.