Fully stripping, sanding down, and refinishing hardwood floors is not an easy job. It requires a lot of equipment, time, and skill, and for this reason, the task is often best left to professionals. However, if your hardwood floor only has minor scuffs or scratches, then you can probably do a quick, DIY refinish on your own. Here are the basic steps to follow.
1. Sand down the scratched areas.
While you could rent a big, drum sander and sand down the entire floor, doing so isn't necessary as long as most of your floor's finish is in good shape. All you need to do is use sandpaper to sand down the areas around the most scratched, damaged areas of the floor. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper, such as a 50-grit. Sand in the direction of the wood grain. Then, follow up by using finer-grit sandpaper, such as a 120-grit. Make sure you sand a larger area with the fine-grit paper than with the coarse-grit paper. This will help blend in the edges of the sanded area.
After you're done sanding, vacuum up the debris. Then, use a microfiber cloth to wipe over the area. This will clean up any lingering dust and residue from the sanded finish.
2. Apply the finish.
Most hardwood floors are stained and then finished with a clear-coat polyurethane. The stain will remain in the wood, so there's no need to re-apply it. So, when refinishing the floor via this method, you will only be applying a new coat of polyurethane. If your floor is shiny, you want to buy shine-finish poly. If your floor has a matte look, buy matte-finish poly.
Use a sponge brush to apply a thin coat of polyurethane over the area that you sanded down. It's okay if you go over the edges a little and put some poly on top of the old finish that remains; this helps to blend the new finish into the old.
3. Let it dry.
With the new polyurethane on the floor, all you need to do now is let it dry. Consider opening a few windows or setting up a fan to encourage faster drying. It will take about a day for the poly to dry fully to the touch, but you won't want to put furniture back on top of it for a week.
Follow these steps, and you can give a slightly damaged hardwood floor a facelift. For more intensive refinishing, call in contractors to refinish wood floors for you.