How to Remove a Water-Based Polyurethane Wood Finish

What You'll Need
Polyurethane stripper
Mineral spirits
Rubbing alcohol
Lacquer thinner
White floor cleaning pad (soft)
80-grit sandpaper
Power sander

A hardwood floor that has been finished with a water-based polyurethane adds depth and warmth to your house. However, it can dull through years of use, and the only way to revive the wood is to refinish it. This task involves removing the wax buildup on the surface along with the finish. With the right materials, you should be able to complete the task.

Step 1 - Know the Type of Finish

You should know the exact type of finish on your hardwood floor before you proceed with the task. Apply some drops of solvent in a hidden area of your flooring. If it is shellac, the solvent will dissolve it. A lacquer thinner, on the other hand, will dissolve water-based and lacquer finishes. You can confirm whether it is lacquer or water-based with the use of toluene.

Step 2 - Remove Wax

Remove the accumulated wax on the surface by cleaning your flooring with mineral spirits. Put the spirits on a soft white cleaning pad and mop it on the wood. Leave it wet. Wipe the floor afterward with a rag to remove the wax.

Step 3 - Apply Polyurethane Stripper

Apply the stripper with a towel and sand it with 80-grit sandpaper. Be prepared with a large supply of sandpaper, as the stripper will cause the finish to stick to the grits.