How to Repair Worn Wood Finish

What You'll Need
Drop cloths
Tack cloth
Dust mask
Safety goggles
Mineral spirits
Varnish brush

A wood finish enhances a floor-as long as it’s in good condition. A wood finish will become worn over time, however, and when that happens it needs to be repaired. Not only will repairing the wood finish keep the floor looking good, it will also prevent damage to the portion of the floor where the finish is worn.

Step 1 - Cleaning

Before you can repair the wood finish you need to clean the wood floor. The best way to do this is to move as much furniture out of the room as possible, and close off the room-use plastic sheets if necessary. Use a broom to sweep the floors thoroughly and then vacuum clean. This will prevent dust and dirt encroaching during the repair process. If you haven’t moved all the furniture out of the room, now’s the time to use drop clothes to cover it.

Step 2 - Sanding

Put on a dust mask and safety goggles. Use an orbital sander, preferably a hand model, as this will offer you greater control. Put 100 grit sandpaper on it and gently sand the areas where the wood finish needs repair. This is a rough grit, but it will eliminate all the scratches and dips in the wood.

When you’ve done this, replace the rough sandpaper with a finer girt, around 220 girt and sand the area lightly again. This will give a smoother surface, which is what you need to apply the finish. It should feather into the areas that aren’t worn. Vacuum up the sawdust and then use the broom to sweep up the dust before going over the wood surfaces in the room with a tack cloth. The remaining sawdust will stick to this. Dampen a clean cloth with mineral spirits and wipe it over the areas without wood finish. Leave it to dry.

Step 3 - Applying Finish

There are different types of wood finish that can be applied to wood floors. Generally, if you have a polyurethane finish, this won’t wear away. Varnish, however, will, so if you have removed varnish your wood floor will look better if you replace like with like. Use a varnish brush for the job. Follow the direction of the floor boards, varnishing along them, not across them. When you’ve covered the area that needs to be repaired with wood finish, leave it to dry. You’ll need to apply several coats of varnish for a good wood finish. Allow each coat to dry fully before applying the next

Step 4 - Cleaning Up

After the last coat of varnish has dried, you’ll still need to clean everything up before replacing the furniture. Wash down the walls lightly, and also the window frames. Vacuum the corners, too and along the baseboard. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve removed all the sawdust, bring the furniture back into the room.