Hardwood Floors – Refinish Or Not

First of all you should decide whether you want to completely refinish them, or just make them look a little better. I would like to point out to you that if your floors look dirty, they lost some shine, or even worn down a bit, it’s not necessary that you need to completely refinish them. Trust me, sometimes a little bit of hand sanding and a coat of fresh poly make miracles.

If you just want to shine your floors up a bit and put a coat of polyurethane on them, you will need to figure out what kind of poly is on your floor already. There are two types: water-based and oil-based. You DO NOT what to put one kind of poly on top of the other. It’s not gonna stick, will eventually peel off and you will end up sanding the hell out of them. If you waxed your floor before, don’t even bother putting poly on them without sanding them down to the bare wood. Poly will bubble up and you will be stuck with the refinishing project anyway.

Now, how to figure out what kind of poly is on the floor? A few years back I would say that if your floor has a rich yellow color it definitely has an oil-based poly. Right now it’s tough to say. I know at least 4 different kinds of water-based poly that look exactly like an oil-based. Your best bet would be to take a piece of 120 grit sandpaper and try to hand sand them a little. If it clogs up real easy – you can be 99% sure that it’s a water-based.

Now- to the process. Before you are going to make your beloved floors look like brand new, you need to concentrate your attention on sanding. You will need to light sand them all over and clean them up after that. Make sure that you didn’t leave any dirt and dust. To clean the floors up you can either vacuum them (regular vacuum-cleaner won’t work – not strong enough, wet-dry vac should do), or mop them. If you mopped your floors, you don’t what to apply poly right away, let them dry first.

Once you’ve started to apply the poly, make sure that it sticks good. If it spreads evenly- you are good. If you applied it and after a little while (it usually happens after 3-4 minutes) you start seeing that this beautiful, evenly- spreaded coat of yours starts to bubble up – then you are in trouble(told you not to put poly on the waxed floor).

If you want to put several coats of poly, you DO NOT have to lightsand your floors after each coat (like it says on every single can of poly). Once before the first one and once before the last one will do. Save your time and energy for something else. And don’t forget- with a little bit of hard work you CAN do it as good as any professional. Good luck!

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