How to Apply Hardwood Floor Sealant

Lead Image
  • 3-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Paint brush or roller
Polyurethane wood floor sealant

Applying a hardwood floor sealant can be a great way to prolong the life of your hardwood floor. When you have a hardwood finished on-site, it requires a re-coating periodically. This helps you prevent damage and wear and tear to the hardwood floor. While you could hire someone to come in and reseal the floor for you, this is a project that can be done on your own with a little work. Here are the basics of how to apply a hardwood floor sealant.

Step 1 - Get the Right Sealant

Before you start the project, you should go get some polyurethane sealant for the floor. It is very important that you make sure you get the appropriate sealant for the job. There are polyurethane wood sealants that are meant for fences and decks. You will want to make sure that the sealant is specified for indoor hardwood floor use. This will help you avoid a mess later on.

WARNING: Some polyurethane products are toxic to breathe in, especially if you have respiratory issues. Make sure to read the container's instructions before use and if recommended, wear a respirator mask and other safety equipment while applying it.

Step 2 - Clean the Area

mopping a wood floor

The first thing that you need to do when sealing a hardwood floor is to clean the area thoroughly. You need to use the vacuum to remove any dirt and dust that could be on the floor. You will want to move everything out of the room like furniture and personal belongings as well. Anything left on the floor will remain there underneath the sealer when you apply it. This will allow you to permanently see the dirt and dust underneath the sealant. Therefore, you should spend some extra time cleaning the floor now instead of completely refinishing it later.

Step 3 - Apply the Sealant

Once you are satisfied the floor is thoroughly clean, it is time to apply the sealant to the hardwood floor. You can do this by using a paint brush or a roller. Regardless of which method you use, you will want to make sure that the floor is thoroughly coated with the sealant. Use even brush strokes to apply the sealant so it is distributed evenly across the floor. You should also do your best to brush with the grain. This will help you to avoid any problems with the sealant once it dries.

Step 4 - Allow it to Dry

Room with large windows and hardwood flooring

Once you have applied the first coat of sealant, you should allow it ample time to dry. Read the directions on the particular brand of sealant that you have purchased to see what they recommend. Typically eight to 12 hours is recommended, but if you can leave it overnight, that would be ideal.

Step 5 - Smooth the Floor

Use the sandpaper to remove any rough spots in the finish. Sometimes it will dry unevenly and leave clumps. Grinding it out with sandpaper will prevent any humps when the job is complete. Remember to wear safety glasses and a respirator or face mask while sanding.

Step 6 - Apply Another Coat

After you are satisfied with the smoothness of the floor, you will need to apply a second coat of polyurethane and allow it to dry overnight as well. If you want, you can apply a third coat depending on how the sealant was absorbed by your wood floor. Otherwise, your floor should be ready to use after the second coat is dry.