How to refinish timber flooring?

23rd June

Timber flooring (also known as hardwood flooring) is one of the most popular floor surfaces ​and has been for hundreds of years. Its versatility of function and design, as well as its natural charm, gives each installation a unique look.

So how should you refinish your hardwood floors?

Refinishing timber flooring

Regardless of how much you look after your timber flooring, it will still mark due to everyday wear and tear. Refinishing hardwood floors is quite a big job, but if you have the time and are on a budget it is something you can do yourself. We would however always recommend a professional to ensure it is done correctly.


Your first step will be sanding down the top layer of the floor to reveal a fresh layer of wood. It’s important to note that solid hardwood floors can typically be refinished 4 to 5 times before they will need replacing. Hopefully, you will know the history of your floor but if not, ensure there is around 4 inches thick of flooring remaining before attempting to refinish and sand the wood down.

Tape off any skirting boards to ensure they don’t get accidentally scratched by your equipment. If possible, it is advised to remove any doors but only to make your job a little easy, so if this isn’t possible, don’t worry, the job can still be done!

You may need to hire some equipment from your local hardware store, ensure you are familiar with them especially with the larger sanders to avoid mistakes and accidents. Ask for demonstrations on how to use anything you are unsure.

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This step is basically fine-tuning and perfecting any scuffs and dints that are too deep to reach with the sander. Also, go over any visible nails to create a more seamless looking flooring. Make sure your wood filler matches the sanded colour of your timber floors or it will stand out like a sore thumb. Apply with a putty knife like you would with any other filler.

Sand again. For a more in-depth explanation of this second stage of sanding click here.

Staining and protecting

Before diving straight into staining your floors, make sure you one, like the colour (test a little area out first). And two, that your floor will take to the stain, as not all timber flooring takes well to the wood stain.

If you want to water pop your floor, this is the time you would do this. Ensure when testing your stain, that if you choose to water pop you do this on your test area too.

When you begin staining, make sure you’re working fast. Letting the edges dry before beginning the next section will cause a discrepancy in the colour of your floor. A top tip is to do this job with a second person who can wipe away the excess stain as you go. Make sure you wear protective gear such as a mask and are in a well-ventilated room. Allow your stain to completely dry. Usually, 48-72 hours are needed depending on the stain and the drying conditions.

Seal your floor

The final and last step is sealing your floors. You must make sure the sealer you choose is compatible with your stain. Otherwise, they will just work against one another. You can go straight to this step and skip staining if your natural flooring is already at your desired colour. Sealing your floors will protect the wood from moisture, stains, scratches and everyday wear and tear

Contact us for more information about your timber flooring and how we can help restore them back to their natural beauty.