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

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 natural wood’s rich and warm look.

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 looking because you never know what you might find underneath.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors for Beginners

The First Step To Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

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

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 not to 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 more complicated wood which can be a little more difficult and time-consuming.

Damaged Hardwood Floors

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 it can be reused. You may need a utility knife to cut a line in the paint between the trim and the wall. Then remove the trim with a wide-blade putty knife and a pry bar.

Next, you will do a thorough job cleaning the floor. It is essential to remove as much dirt and debris as you can.

While cleaning the floors, check for protruding nail heads. Use a nail set to countersink the heads about ¼ inch below the surface if you find any.

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 essential 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 just steering it as it pushes itself across the wood.

  • You can use an edge sander to sand around the room’s edges. In corners, you may want to use a wood scraper and sandpaper.
  • You will repeat the same process with 60-grit sandpaper to remove blemishes and scratches. Start at the opposite side of the room this time.
  • You will repeat the process 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 sandpaper.
Painter Sanding Hardwood Floor

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.

Painter with Vacuum

The Fifth Step to Refinish Your Hardwood Floors – Finish

To finish your hardwood flooring, you will want to apply a sealant. We recommend using a four-inch bristle brush to cut the areas around the room’s perimeter. 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.

Allow the sealant to dry for at least 24 hours, 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.

Painter Staining Hardwood Floor

Hardwood Floor Resurfacing vs Refinishing: Key Differences and Best Practices

When it comes to maintaining the beauty and function of your hardwood floors, two standard solutions come to mind: resurfacing and refinishing. As a homeowner, it can be a bit challenging to distinguish between these two terms and determine which service they need. 

What is Hardwood Floor Resurfacing?

Resurfacing hardwood floors primarily involves sanding away a thin layer from the surface of your floor to remove any scratches, stains, or imperfections. Once this is done, a new finish is applied to the floor to restore its original shine and protection.

This process is often recommended for floors with superficial blemishes but no serious damage or structural complications. It’s less comprehensive and slightly less invasive than the refinishing process, making it quicker and more affordable.

To determine if your floor needs resurfacing, consider the type and depth of the wear and tear. If the damage is relatively slight (such as surface-level scratches and faded finishes), a resurface might be needed to restore your floor’s gleam.

What is Hardwood Floor Refinishing?

Hardwood floor refinishing is a more comprehensive process compared to resurfacing. It involves completely sanding and refinishing hardwood floors, thereby removing all the existing stains and finishes and any imperfections or damage.

After removing the old layer of wood, a new stain and finish are applied to the floor to bring it back to life. The floor can be stained to its original colour, or you can choose a completely new hue based on your preference.

Refinishing is best suited for floors with deep-set stains, significant scratching, or damage that extends below the surface. It also allows you to change your floor’s colour or finish type.

Hardwood Floor Installation
Hardwood Floor Installation

Comparison Between Resurfacing and Refinishing

While both processes aim to enhance the longevity and appearance of your hardwood floor, there are key differences:

Time Consumption: Resurfacing typically takes less time than refinishing, as it involves less sanding.

Price: Due to the reduced labour and materials, resurfacing is often more cost-friendly than refinishing.

Degree of Restoration: Refinishing restores the floor to its bare wood, giving you a fresh canvas to start on, while resurfacing only removes a minimal layer from the floor surface.

Damage Handling: Refinishing can handle more serious, more severe floor damage, whereas resurfacing is suitable for dealing with surface-level blemishes.

Determining whether your hardwood floors need resurfacing or refinishing depends on the extent of the damage and your desired outcome. If you’re uncertain which route to take, consulting a professional for floor assessment and advice may be beneficial. Regardless of your route, resurfacing and refinishing can significantly improve the lifespan and aesthetic of your hardwood floors, thereby improving your enjoyment and the value of your home.

Hardwood Floor Installation and Staining

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 on your floor.


A fixture in our community, Home Painters honours 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 emailing and get a FREE quote and We can help with painting/refinishing the hardwood floor – we’re looking forward to hearing from you! And don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below!