How To Restore a Dull, Worn Wood Floor

Wood floors are great for houses and other spaces because they add such a warm touch to the overall décor of the room. They are also very easy and inexpensive to clean and maintain. However, over time, wooden flooring can get scratched and look dull due to constant foot traffic. When this happens, you do not need to hire a professional to make your floor shiny again. All you need are a few simple tools and a little know-how in order to make your wood floors look like new. This guide will give you the steps for this home improvement project.

  • Prepare the equipment and supplies that you will use. In order to touch up the finish of your wooden floor, you will need the following: drop cloths, abrasive screens (100-grit), some soft cloth, a soft-bristled push broom, a vacuum, a varnish brush, mineral spirits, a container of finish, a dust mask, and fine-grit sanding sponge. You will also need to rent or borrow a floor polisher with attachments for abrasive discs, some abrasive pads, an electric sander with random-orbit, and a big box fan to keep the work area well-ventilated.
  • Prepare the floor and the room that you will be working in. Transfer all the wall decorations, furniture, and other items out of the room that you want to fix. Simply moving the items aside will not work because you will be creating a lot of dust from sanding the floor. If there is no more space for the objects, arrange them in an organized pile and cover the entire thing with a drop cloth. Set up your box fan in front of an open window inside the room. Don’t forget to open another window on the other side and just outside the area that you will be working in. Set the fan to exhaust to keep the dust from spreading outside.
  • Sand the dull wood floor. Put in an abrasive pad on the wheel of the floor polisher. Don’t forget to wear your dust mask, and goggles if you have them, before sanding the area. Perform some practice runs in the middle of the floor section that you would like to improve. Practice until you become comfortable in operating the polisher. Switch abrasive pads and put in a 100-grit sanding screen on your polisher. Sand the entire surface, going forward and backward.

    Make sure that each pass overlaps the previous one. Remove all the dust made by the sander using a broom. Vacuum any stubborn dirt and wipe the floor with a damp rag. Check the surface for any noticeable scratches or stains once the floor is dry. If you still see any patterns or signs of wear, sand the floor again. Naturally, the sander cannot areas that are too small or are located at the corners. For such, like the parts where the floor joins the walls, use the random-orbit sander. Use the sanding sponge to rub the wood along the grain.

  • Clean the floor thoroughly. With the use of the vacuum, clean up all the dust and grime on the surfaces. Use the broom to scrub the areas that the vacuum cannot clean. Dampen a soft rag with mineral spirits or solvent. Use this to wipe the whole floor. This will remove traces of sanded finish on the wooden surface. After wiping the area, switch off the fan and run the vacuum over the entire surface one last time.
  • Brush on the new coat of varnish. If you will need to buy a varnish brush for this project, make sure that you get a professional-quality one. Good brushes could be pretty pricey but they are highly resistant to shedding and would not leave any unsightly bristles on your varnished surface. Apply a 3-inch band of varnish or any surface finish along one wall’s baseboard. It should be at least 2 feet down its sides. With a wider brush, preferably the 5-inch one, apply a coat of finish across the floor, making sure that the coat is put on evenly. Work in the direction of the planks. Let this dry completely then sweep the entire surface one more time.

To keep your newly refinished wooden floors shiny, make sure that you wipe up any spills as soon as possible. Use a dry soft cloth or some paper towels to avoid abrading the surface. For sticky fluids, you can use a damp rag to clean up the mess but make sure to dry the area immediately after. Keep dust and sand out of the house by putting in exterior mats.


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