How to Refinish a Wood Floor with Varnish

  • 5-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-500
What You'll Need
Working Gloves
Safety Glasses
Plastic sheeting
Nail pry
Electric floor sander
nail set
Belt or orbital sander
Orbital palm sander
Fine Grit Sandpaper
Putty knife
Vacuum Cleaner
Tack cloth
Polyurethane varnish
Paint brush

To varnish wood floor is an easy task that you can do all by yourself without hiring a professional. Varnished wood flooring is elegant and is better protected from damages compared to an unvarnished wood floor. Below are the materials that you need along with the instructions on how to varnish a wood floor.

Step 1-Wood Floor Preparation

Prepare the wood floor that you will work on by removing the old varnish using an orbital or belt sander. If you do not have an electric floor sander you can search your local yellow pages for nearby equipment rental shops. The internet is also a good source of information when looking for an electrical floor sander for hire.

Step 2-Remove all the Furniture

Remove all the furniture found in your working areas such as chairs, tables, cabinets, sofas, and desks. This is to make sure that your working area is free from obstructions so that you can uniformly apply the varnish to the wood flooring. If you have floor molding you can also remove it so that it will not scuff with the electric floor sander.

Step 3-Check the Flooring

Check your wooden flooring for any protruding objects such as carpet tacks and nails. Remove the protruding objects using a pair of pliers. There are cases where removing a protruding nail on your wood flooring will do more harm than good. Instead, use a nail set to hammer down the nails. Check your wood flooring for any gaps as well and use putty to fill the gaps. Make sure to allow the putty to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 4-Seal your Working Area

Seal the room using plastic sheeting secured by tape. Cover all the openings such as doors and windows. This is to prevent dusts from entering your working area and damage your varnishing.

Step 5-Wear your Protective Gear

Wear your mask, safety glass and working gloves before moving on to the next step.

Step 6-Use the Electric Floor Sander

Remove the old varnish using the electric floor sander. Floor sanders can be quite heavy so be careful in handling your floor sander. Start in one corner of your wooden flooring and work your way gradually into the other side until you have covered all the areas. For sanding tight places, use smaller sanders.

Step 7-Remove the Dusts

Using a vacuum cleaner, remove all the dust from using the electric floor sander. Vacuum the ceiling and walls as well to make sure that your working area is free from dust before applying the varnish to your wood floor.

Step 8-Apply the Varnish

Using a paintbrush, apply an initial coating of varnish on your wood floor. Begin working on one corner of your wood flooring and use brush strokes following the grain direction of your wood flooring. Allow the varnish to dry completely. After the first coating of varnish is completely dry sand your wood flooring with a fine-grit sandpaper. Remove all the dust using the vacuum cleaner. Wipe the floor area with a tack cloth to remove the remaining dust.

Step 9-Apply Additional Coating

Apply a second coating of varnish on your wood floor after the first varnish coating is completely dry and free of dust. Apply additional coating if necessary. Make sure to allow the varnish to dry between each coating. Leave the last coating of varnish to dry for a day.