How to Refinish Hardwood Floors Without Sanding? Some Useful Tips

Hardwood floors are the favorite choice of many people. They are tough, clean, and low maintenance. But after using it for a long time, hardwood floors can get scraped, scratched, or scuffed. As a result, your floors will be ugly and hard to clean. It is time to refinish your hardwood floors. 

In most cases, people will sand the floors to the bare wood before refinishing. But this work will take you a lot of time and money. You may refinish your hardwood floors without sanding by following the below instructions.

How to refinish hardwood floors without sanding?

To refinish hardwood floors without sanding, first, prepare the following things

  • A buffing machine/buffer. You can rent it from a home center
  • A vacuum for sucking dust
  • A mop for cleaning the floors. You should use a terry-cloth mop
  • Hardwood floor cleaner
  • A paint roller with extension for spreading the finish
  • A small paintbrush
  • Some sandpapers
  • Finish with the same type but having darker color than your current floor finish
  • A respirator
  • Gloves
  • Plastic booties

Now let’s move to the steps to refinish hardwood floors without sanding.

Step 1. Clean the floor

  • Move all the furniture to another place
  • Sweep your floor to get rid of any trash
  • Mix hardwood floor cleaner with water according to instructions. Wet the mop with the cleaner
  • Wipe the floor with the wet mop
  • Close the doors as well as windows so that dust can’t get outside

How to Refinish Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

Step 2: Sand the nooks and crannies

  • Use sandpaper to sand all the nooks and crannies where the buffing machine can’t reach
  • Rub with sandpapers until the finish flake off

Step 3: Use the buffing machine to lightly sand the floor’s surface

  • Wear the respirator, attach a 120 grit mesh to the buffing machine and turn it on 
  • Move the buffing machine across the floor in the direction of the wood grain. The next course should overlap the previous course. Don’t put too much pressure and always keep the buffing machine moving. This is to prevent the machine from cutting through the finish into the wood
  • The old finish now has a chalky appearance. It has flaked off and dust forms

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Step 4: Vacuum the floor

  • After finishing abrading, give the dust 10-15 minutes to settle
  • Use the vacuum to suck all the dust. Remember to move the vacuum along with the wood strips to ensure there is no dust left
  • After hoovering, wipe the floor with a wet cloth. If you use an oil-based polyurethane finish, dampen the cloth with mineral spirits.

Step 5: Prepare the finish and refinish the edges

  • Read the instructions of use of the finish to know how much finish you need
  • Shake the finish can well and pour the finish into a plastic container
  • Put on your respirator and cover your shoes with plastic booties
  • Start applying from the farthest corner of the room then back to the door. Use the paintbrush to apply the finish along the baseboards. 
  • Wait at least 10 minutes so that the finish can dry

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Step 6: Refinish the floor

  • Pour an amount of finish that you can spread in 10 minutes along the wood grain
  • Use the paint roller to roll the finish along the wood strips, then across. Continue until you spread all the poured finish. Remember to overlap the next line on the previous one. Wait 10 minutes until the finish dry
  • Repeat the process until you refinish all the floor
  • Before recoating, wait about 3 hours so that the 1st finished coat can completely dry
  • Wait at least 2 days, ideally 1 week before putting back the furniture

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What types of finishes can you use for a hardwood floor?

If you search online for hardwood floor finish, there will be hundreds of choices. But you can divide them into 3 types: polyurethane, penetrating oils and sealers, and waxes. 

To refinish your floor without sanding, you have to know the type of the old finish. The new finish and the old one must be of the same type. Otherwise, you will have to sand down to the bare wood before refinishing. Let’s check out these finish types.

1. Polyurethane

Polyurethane includes water-based polyurethane and oil-based polyurethane. 

Water-based polyurethane will give your hardwood floor a smooth and clear finish. It is also easy to apply and fast dry. It has high resistance to yellowing and moisture. With this finish, you can easily clean your floor only with a wet cloth or damp mop. But don’t wax it, because wax can make the finish dull. 

Besides, water-based polyurethane has a slight odor. It is also friendly with the environment because of its low VOCs. 

Depending on your preference, you can choose high-gloss, satin, or semi-gloss water-based polyurethane. The high-gloss one is the most favorite of many people. But it can make every scratch and scrape visible.

Oil-based polyurethane is a very durable finish at a reasonable price. It is suitable for hardwood floors in high-traffic areas. 

Like water-oil-based polyurethane, it gives you a shiny, smooth, and easy-to-maintain floor. This finish also has high-gloss, semi-gloss, and satin sheens for you to choose from.

But oil-based polyurethane has a slight amber tint after drying, and it can yellow more over time. 

Moreover, the odor of this finish is quite strong and it also has high VOCs. So, if you refinish the floor yourself, remember to wear a respirator and use a ventilator. 

2. Penetrating oils and sealers

If you would like to highlight the wood grain of your floor, choose penetrating oils and sealers. Its low shine and gloss can bring the original beauty of the wood. 

This finish will penetrate the wood and prevent it from scratches or damages. So, after applying penetrating oils, cover the floor with a coat of wax. This will protect your hardwood floor as well as make it easier to clean.

But penetrating oils and sealers are not durable finishes. You should refinish your floor every couple of years. Penetrating oils and sealers need at least 24 hours for each coat to dry. Consider this drawback before refinishing by yourself. 

3. Waxes

Before polyurethane finishes, wax was the top choice of hardwood floor finish. People used it for hundreds of years. Today, wax is still the favorite finish of people loving low-sheen wood floors. 

Wax has little odor and dries fast, so it is suitable for DIY refinishing. You can combine wax with wood stain to color your hardwood floors. You can choose between liquid wax or paste wax. But wax is not a very durable finish, and it will be yellow or darken over time. 

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Final Words

So, that is the instructions to refinish hardwood floors without sanding. You can do it yourself and save a lot of time and money. Remember to choose the right finish before starting your work. We hope that you will be satisfied with your fresh finished hardwood floors. 

Reference Source: How to Refinish a Wood Floor Without Sanding (under 1 hour)



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