How to Refinish a Maple Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors.
  • 8-24 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150-700
What You'll Need
Wood putty for floors
Needle nose pliers
Floor orbital sander
Eye goggles
Various grades of sandpaper
Power floor edger
Finishing palm sander
Floor buffer
Shop vacuum
Maple floor stain
Clean dry rags
Water-based penetrating sealer, or urethane sealer

You can restore the beautiful surface of your maple hardwood floors with careful refinishing. Properly refinished floors will also add value to your home. Follow these directions to refinish your maple hardwood floors effectively.

Step 1 - Inspect the Floor to See if Complete Refinishing is Needed

Many floors can be restored with a thorough cleaning, some patching with wood putty, and applying a protective floor polish made for maple. Continue to Step 2 if you decide to go ahead with the complete refinishing.

Step 2 - Fill Gaps and Cracks with Floor Putty

Remove furniture and wall hangings. Fill any gaps at plank ends and any cracks in planks with a suitably colored wood floor putty. Leave the putty undisturbed for several hours so it dries completely.

Step 3 - Sweep and Vacuum the Floor

Sweep the entire floor with both a broom and a dust mop, then vacuum with the shop vacuum. Hammer down protruding nails, and remove any carpet staples from the floor with needle-nose pliers.

Step 4 - Seal Off the Room

Seal off the doorway to the room with a plastic or fabric drop cloth and cover the heat and air conditioning vents with plastic sheeting taped around the edges. Open the room windows for ventilation. Remove the baseboards and any aprons around radiator pipes.

Step 5 - Sand Down the Floor Surface

Put on your eye goggles, and use an upright floor sander, with 3 coarse-grit (#50) sandpaper disks attached to sand the floor. Go with the woodgrain to smooth off old varnish, urethane, and other finishes. Move the sander against the grain to level off warped or bowed planks.

Step 6 - Smooth Off the Edges of the Floor

Use a power floor edger to smooth off the floor edges. Turn on the floor edger and bring it slowly down to the floor.

Step 7 - Sand Again with Medium and Fine Grit Sandpaper

Change the sandpaper disks to medium-grit (#100) and go over the entire floor a second time. Sweep quickly, then do a final pass with fine-grit sandpaper on the sander, from #200 to #300. Check for any gaps or splits and fill these with putty before staining.

WARNING: If your floor had stain on it previously or you have a history of respiratory issues, wear a face mask and safety glasses while sanding the floor.

TIP: You can keep sawdust from getting into other rooms by covering entrances with plastic sheeting and masking tape.

Step 8 - Re-sand the Floor Edges

Use a powered palm sander with fine-grit sandpaper, #200 to #300, to smooth the edges of the floor. Cover nail heads with wood putty.

Step 9 - Vacuum and Buff

Vacuum the entire floor twice with the shop vac. Use the fine abrasive pads with the floor buffer to buff, going with the wood grain. The floor should take on a soft sheen.

Step 10 - Apply Maple Stain

Use clean dry rags to apply the maple stain evenly. Have one person put the stain on, and another to spread it and wipe up spills and pools.

Step 11 - Apply Sealer

Apply a penetrating or urethane sealer after the stain has completely dried. Use a power applicator, a long-handled paintbrush, or super-low pile roller. Allow the sealer to dry for 48 hours before replacing the furniture.