Finishing Hardwood Floors 3 - Preparation

What You'll Need
Tack cloths (sticky rags that pick up fine dust)
Paint scraper
Lamb's wool mop
Masks for dust and toxic fumes
Paint tray
Fan for ventilation
Protective finish
Wood dough
Flooring (if needed for repair)

Permits and Codes

Some areas require permits whenever you spend over a certain amount on any repairs or remodeling. Sometimes this figure is as low as $100. Check with your local municipalities to see if you need a permit. Usually only a small fee is required, and often this ordinance is not enforced. Other than this, no permits or inspections apply in these projects.

What You Will Need

Time. Repairs are difficult to assess for time. The extent of repair work will determine this. Refinishing a 9' x 12' room will require 8-18 work hours. Remember, however, that added time will be needed between steps to allow coats of finish to dry properly.

Except for a few specialty tools, most of the tools you will need to refinish hardwood floors are the common ones in a household toolbox. These include:

If Repairing, Also:

  • Tape
  • Chisel
  • Power saw
  • Drill

Specialty Tools:

  • Shop-type vacuum cleaner
  • Edge sander
  • Drum sander

The drum sander is a large sander used on the main body of the floor. The edge sander is especially designed to sand the floor where it meets the wall, areas the drum sander will not reach. The shop vacuum is needed to remove as much dust as possible before you apply the stains and protective finish. All these tools should be available to rent at your home center, hardware store, or rental equipment yard.

Very often an older hardwood floor will seem to be in such bad condition that the only remedy is to cover it over with carpeting, file, or a new hardwood flooring. Usually the floor is salvageable, at a lot less expense than you had imagined. The advantage of hardwood floors is their durability and often their ability to be rejuvenated after years of use. The floors are usually structurally sound and, with sanding and refinishing, can be brought back to their previous beauty. If the floor is, however, beyond repair, you will need to either cover it or replace it.