Floor refinishing

Questions and Answers

caulk questions

Josh C. asked

on Floor refinishing:

I am trying to redo the hardwood floor in my living room without sanding or buffing the finish completely off.  My floors aren’t in bad condition, the top coat is starting to wear and I was wondering if there was a way to refinish without completely sanding off the existing finish so that I can add another coat cheap and quick.   I am trying to sell my house.

caulking answer

Hello Josh,

It is not necessary to completely remove the existing finish if the floor is in good shape.  To achieve good results the existing floor must be extremely clean and the new finish must adhere well to the old.

Insure there is no waxy build up on the floor by thoroughly cleaning the floor with a solution of 3/4 cup white vinegar per gallon of warm water.  Allow the floor to thoroughly dry before proceeding to next step.

To assure proper adhesion of the new finish it is necessary to lightly sand the old finish.  The goal is to scuff the finish without sanding into the wood. Use 120 or 150 grit abrasive screen .  I recommend using a pole sander similar to the one shown here.

image of a pole sander floor

Pole sander available at Lowes or Home Depot


This method will allow you to stand while sanding making it easier on your knees and back while increasing sanding speed.  You may need to hand sand corners and around base boards. Sand with the grain of the wood completely covering all areas. Remember sand just enough to scuff the surface of the existing finish.

Once sanding is complete the floor must be thoroughly cleaned again.  Vacuum up all sanding dust.  Make a tack cloth by dampening a old hand towel or paint rag with mineral spirits. Starting on a wall opposite the exit start wiping down the entire floor with the tack cloth turning the cloth frequently.  You will be able to see the remaining dust adhering to the dampened cloth.  If the cloth becomes too dirty rinse it out with mineral spirits or dampen a new cloth and continue until the entire floor has been wiped down.

This is the final step before application of the new finish so it can not be stressed enough that the floor must be completely clean.  Any sand, dirt, lint, strings or hair left on the floor will be sealed down when the new finish is applied.

Starting on a wall opposite the exit apply floor grade polyurethane such as Minwax Super fast-drying polyurethane for floors.  Read and follow application guidelines on can that apply to your project parameters.

Use a natural bristle brush  to apply in corners and against base boards.  Use a pad applicator designed for  polyurethane to apply to rest of floor. With brush and applicator use slow even strokes to avoid air bubbles in finish.  Pay close attention during application to be sure tiny bubbles are not present in applied product as they will be visible when the finish dries.  Apply product with the grain direction.

When dry a second coat may be applied without sanding.


~Avoid using fans or even central air to speed drying as the circulating air may carry dust that can settle on and stick to the wet finish
~Pay close attention to the application process and  immediately  remove any lint, dirt, hair, string or other foreign material that becomes imbedded in the finish before working your way too far from it.
~Water based polyurethanes are now available but I would not recommend them for this project

Good luck,


Wood’s Home Maintenance Service offers solutions for a wide range of building, maintenance and repair needs.  Give us a call or click the button below to contact us  today for a free estimate.

About Tony Wood

Tony is a life time resident of North Carolina with over 40 years experience in multiple facets of the industrial, commercial and residential construction industry. For the past 33 years he has owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service, providing services primarily in Johnston, Wake and Sampson Counties of North Carolina. ______________ ______________________________________________________ The information contained in this Blog is opinion derived, from hands on experience of over 40 years in the construction industry and by extensive research by the author. All postulations are referenced to the geographic location in which this experience was gained.
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One Response to Floor refinishing

  1. Michael Moore says:

    Thanks for all the details.

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