How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

If your hardwood floor cannot be sanded for reasons such as the floorboards being too thin or the floor has barely any scratch or dent, and you simply want to change its look, you can skip out the sanding process and still achieve a well lighten and beautifully restored wood floors.

Let’s look into how to restore hardwood floors without sanding; using a store-bought chemical abrasion kit or by buffing and recoating the floor with polyurethane after previous finish is scuffed up, and then apply a new coat of finish.

To learn more about how do you revive dull hardwood floors? And make your hardwood floors look new without breaking the bank and your back, literally! (sanding hardwood floor is a very tedious process) keep reading.

How to Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

1. Using a Store-Bought Chemical Abrasion Kit

You can get a DIY chemical abrasion kit from your local hardware or home improvement store. Prep your flooring with the chemical solution and scuff up the old finish; this helps to maximize cohesion between the new finish and the flooring.

Here’s the step-by-step procedure on how to restore hardwood floors without sanding using chemical abrasion kit.

Needed tools/equipment:

  • Cleaning supplies (cleaning solution suitable for hardwood floors, mop, broom, vacuum, cleaning wipes, damp cloth)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Chemical abrasion kit ( this includes the abrasive pad, abrasive liquid, application block, finish application pad, and finish)
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Scouring pads
  • Broom handle
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Shoe covers
  • Wood stain
  • Small paintbrush
  • Paint pad
  • Hairdryer

Directions for Using a Store-Bought Chemical Abrasion Kit

Remove any furniture in the room as well as any partial furnishings or fixtures like floor-length curtains and built-in shelves that would get in the way.

When the floor is completely cleared out, use a vacuum to clean the room and wipe off settled dust on the floor with a damp cloth. You do not need any chemical cleaner to clean the floor, and you can remove embedded dirt by scrubbing the area with an abrasive sponge, then allow the floor to dry completely after cleaning.

Keep the spread of dust to a minimum by closing up any heating ducts or vents with old towels, turning off the ventilation systems, and shutting the windows.

Apply the liquid abrasive onto the hardwood floorboards and use a broom handle with an attached pad to buff in the liquid along the floor’s grain.

To make application easier, pour the chemical abrasive into a plastic-lined shallow cardboard box, which you can easily dip the pad, catch drips, and prevent the chemical from spilling.

Apply the chemical into the floor and work on small sections at a time, slightly roughen the floor using a fair amount of pressure as you apply the product on the floor’s surface.

Avoid leaving the solution on the floor for longer than five minutes as moisture can find its way into the cracks between the flooring strips and cause damage.

Allow the floor to etch for about 30 minutes, and you can increase ventilation by opening a window or turning on a fan. When the etching is done on the entire floor, allow it to dry for 30 minutes.

Next, use a mixture of two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and a gallon of warm water, and a mop to clean the floor. This removes the residue of the etcher and also neutralizes its chemical effect.

A swab of matching stain can be used to cover up visible scratches that persist even after the etching procedure.

Lastly, apply a new finish coating to the floor, ensure to spread out the finish evenly, and reach closed-off areas with a small toothbrush and a paint pad or brush, then follow behind with the applicator.

Apply one layer of finish coating, but you can add a second coat for an extra layer of protection on the underlying wood to cover deep scratches on the floor surface and allow each coating to dry for a minimum of three hours before applying another coat.

Allow the last finish coating to dry for at least eight hours before allowing traffic on the floor with clean socks and up 24 hours before returning any furniture removed before the procedure.

2. Buffing and Recoating With Polyurethane

This procedure follows similar steps to the chemical abrasion kit, but instead of a liquid abrasive, a buffer is used to roughen up the floors instead.

The process of buffing hardwood creates more mess than when using a chemical etcher and is quite similar to sand. You may already own a buffer; if not, you can rent one from your local home improvement store. Read on to find out how to go about the process

Items you’ll need:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Buffer
  • Mineral spirits
  • Wood stain
  • Small paintbrush or cotton swab
  • Sanding screens
  • Hammer
  • Putty
  • Nails
  • Box fan
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Painter’s tape
  • Dust mask
  • Polyurethane
  • Paintbrush or paint roller
  • Plastic garbage bag
  • Shoebox
  • Paint tray
  • Applicator pad
  • Applicator block
  • Broom handle

Directions for Buffing and Recoating With Polyurethane

Clear out the room of furniture and give the floor a thorough cleaning and wipe down to remove any gunk and dust. Scrub off tough stains on the hardwood using a cleaner suitable for wood flooring, scouring pad, and mineral spirits, depending on the type of stain you are dealing with.

Fix scratches now made visible after cleaning by applying contrasting finish to blend in the area with the rest of the floor.

Roughen the floor’s corners and edges using a sheet of sanding screen before going in with the buffer. When your floor is clean, and the edges are roughened, begin buffing the floor using a buffer with an attached sanding screen; ensure adequate ventilation by opening up your windows and placing fans in them.

Change the sanding screen frequently as you buff the floor because each screen usually wears out after 10-15 minutes of use.

When the entire perimeter of the floor has been buffed, clean up the dust using a vacuum and wipe down settled dust on the floors.

Finish the process by applying a finish, usually polyurethane- the favorite option for DIY-ers because of its durability and easier applications than other finishes.


This article has shown you how to restore hardwood floors without sanding, and you can make your hardwood floor look new by using a store-bought chemical abrasion kit or by buffing the floor to remove the previous finish before applying a new layer of finish on the floor.

Both methods of reviving hardwood floors are discussed in the articles, and the steps are discussed in depth.

How to Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding?
Refinish! Give a fresh new look to the wooden floors without actually sanding them.
Sanding is a messy, expensive and time-consuming job. However, the slightly worn or scratched hardwood floors don’t need sanding. Still, you can restore the shine of the wooden floors by using simple and affordable methods.
Here, we will discuss the two basic methods to restore hardwood floors without sanding. The first one is buffing or recoating, while the other is using a Hardwood Floor Refinishing Kit. You can easily remove the dirt, build-up, scratches, and holes by adopting any of these two techniques. So let’s start!

Effective Methods to Restore the

Method I: Buffing and Recoating

Step 1: Check the finishing of your floor

Before you adopt the technique of buffing and recoating, make sure that your hardwood floor has a wax finishing instead of lacquer or oil.
To test it, apply the paint thinner to a spot and wipe it away with a white cloth. If it turns yellow or brown, then it has a wax finish.

Step 2: Make necessary Repairs

Fix the protruding nails in the hardwood floor using a hammer. Use the wood putty to fill the holes and let it dry for a while. Sand the filled holes to let it merge properly on the floor.

Step 3: Clean the floor

Sweep the entire room and clean it using the vacuum cleaner or mop. It is recommended to use commercial grade hardwood cleaner to remove the contaminants without spoiling the existing finish.

Step 4: Rub the floor using Buffing Machine

This part requires sanding! However, the intensity of sanding is far less than that of full refinishing. You’ll need to scuff or scratch the floor to remove the defects or impurities that exist on the floor. The abrading with a buffing machine helps to prepare the floor for new polish.


You can rent the buffing machine from a store center. On the other hand, you can do it by hand.
Sandpaper 120-180 grit is best-suited to buff the floor slightly.

Step 5: Vacuum the floor

Attach the soft bristle to the vacuum to suck the dust completely.

Step 6: Apply the finish on the hardwood floor

Once you are done, apply the lacquer finish on the floor using a long-handled roller. Cover your nose to avoid the smell of toxic vapors.

Step 7: Apply Second coat

Follow the drying time as recommended by the manufacturers. On average, it takes 3-4 hours to dry the coat. However, you still need to wait for at least two days to move the furniture.
So, it was the first method you can use to restore hardwood floors without sanding. Let’s check the second one!

Method II: Using a Hardwood Floor Refinishing Kit

Step 1: Chemical etching

The chemical etching kit is one of the best methods to use. However, the method works well on scratched and worn hardwood floors than on wax-finished floors.

Step 2: Buy the refinishing hardwood floor kit

You can get a refinishing kit for under $100 from any online shop, hardware store, or home center. Find the right one for your floor.

Step 3: Materials and tools

Collect all the accessories in one place, including paint tray, bucket, sponge mop, shoe covers, abrasion pads, vacuum, and others mentioned on the kit.

Kennedy Kitchens and Baths is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to”

Step 4: Apply Liquid etcher

Before applying the liquid etcher, clean the room thoroughly. Scrub the liquid etcher firmly on the wooden floor using the abrasive pad.

Step 5: Mop the floor

Once the liquid is dry, mop the floor using the solution of warm water and 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid to remove the chemical etcher completely.

Step 6: Apply the Finish

Use the kit applicator pad to apply the first coating. It is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Moreover, you need a helper for this task as the finish starts getting sticky if not used within 10 minutes. You can apply the second coat for better results.

Step 7: Let it dry:

It will take almost 8 hours to dry completely.

Wrapping Up

The article is a clear-cut guide to how you can restore hardwood floors without sanding. Apply any of these two methods to renew the hardwood floors. These DIY methods are simple and effective in bringing out the shine of the wooden floors. Kennedy Kitchens and Baths is the perfect place to schedule a consultation for your hardwood floor refinishing project. We have been in business since 1991, providing customers with quality service throughout Columbus Georgia. Our team of professionals are ready to help you restore your floors without any hassle or mess. Schedule an appointment today by calling us at 706.888.8832!

Wood flooring articles to read

How to Remove Hardwood Floors?

How to Make Hardwood Floors Shine?

Choosing Wood Floor Color 2022 Guide

restore, hardwood floors, without sanding

If you’re familiar with the process of sanding down old, worn-out wood floors, you know that it’s a huge undertaking. It’s time-consuming, messy, and the cost can add up quickly.

Likewise, some hardwood floors don’t require a complete sand an finish at all to refresh and rejuvenate them.

The first thing you need to find out is what kind of finish you have on your floor –

Here are a few tips on how to refinish hardwood floors without sanding. Remember to perform your due diligence by finding the right professional to assist you, and knowing what kind of finish is on your floor to begin with.


Screen and Recoat

Screening and recoating involves scuffing the finish of your hardwoods with a floor buffer, and then applying a new top coat.

This process does not require sanding down to raw wood and removing part of the floors wear layer.

This method involves a sanding screen, but it’s not the messy and time-consuming process that comes with traditional sanding.

By abrading the existing top coat of finish, you allow for the new coat of finish to adhere.

This new coat of finish helps to maintain the long lasting-beauty of your newly refinished wood floors.

Chemical Abrasion

If you want to avoid roughing up and screening your floors altogether, you can try the chemical abrasion route. For this method, you’ll use a chemical solution to prep your floors. This gives the new finish the opportunity to bond to the existing wood finish.

However, it’s not perfect. Refinishing floors via chemical abrasion is not an easy job.


Deep Clean & Rejuvenate

Rejuvenating a floor with a Wax / or Oil Finish can be much easier than the above. This process can also be done without moving all of your furniture out of the house. A quality deep cleaning solution is required to break down the old finish / grime and build up over time. Depending on how long one has waited to do this process, it can sometimes require doing this process two or three times, depending on how dirty the floor is. Once cleaned, the new application of Wood Polish can be applied. Note also, that color repair and adjustments can be made as well before this final coat. It should be noted, that floors with a Wax / Oil Finish should be maintained regularly. At a minimum high traffic areas should be done 1x per year.

Final Thoughts on How to Refinish Old Wood Floors Without Sanding

If you’re looking to refinish hardwood floors without sanding, these are the best ways to go about it, depending on the type of finish you have.

When trying to choose a refinishing option, take into account the current condition of your floors, your budget, and the time required to have the job doone correctly. Once you’ve determined these factors, you’ll be in a much better position to decide the best method to refresh your hardwood floors without sanding.

Unless your hardwood floors are significantly worn, scratched, or damaged, you can store them without sanding. And there are multiple ways to do that. In this post, we are going to discuss two common methods. Today on WFC, Read on to learn how to restore hardwood floors without sanding.

Method 1: Buffing and Recoating

The first method is buffing or recoating, which involves abrading the coat before you refinish the floors. Below is a step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Check the floor to see if it has a wax finish

Recoating is not an option if the floor has a wax finish, rather than lacquer or oil. In the case of a wax finish, buffing and recoating will simply leave ugly bubbles. Here is a simple way to check:

  • Find an inconspicuous, small spot and apply mineral spirits or thinner there.
  • Take a white rug and wipe the spot. The finish may be wax if the rug turns yellow or brown.
  • If it is a wax finish, you will need a buffing machine to polish the floor. And if it is not a wax finish, then go ahead.

Step 2: Clear the room and make repairs if necessary

Clean the room with a broom and pound protruding floorboard nails with a hammer. To fill the holes, use some wood putty. Allow it to dry for a few hours. After that, sand the spots lightly.

Step 3: Thoroughly clean the floor

Sweep the floor and then vacuum if needed. Then mop the floor with a commercial wood floor cleaner. It will remove contaminants. Let the floor dry.

Step 4: Abrade your floor

Abrade the floor lightly. You just have to scuff the surface. The point is to remove imperfections and prepare the floor for a new coat.

You can do that by hand or use a buffing machine. Do not apply too much pressure; buff the floor lightly.

Step 5: Vacuum the floor thoroughly

Sweeping is not recommended at this stage. The reason is that if you sweep the floor, the dust will get trapped into the cracks. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the dust thoroughly. Attach soft bristles to the machine.

Step 6: Apply the lacquer or oil finish

Now you are getting into the real thing: applying the finish. Here is how to restore hardwood floors without sanding.

Learn whether the floor has a lacquer-based or oil-based finish. If the finishes are incompatible, you may have to deal with issues like discoloration or delamination. Oiled floors wear faster, especially in areas that are heavily trafficked. These areas also look duller or darker.

Wear a pair of shoes. To deal with noxious vapors, cover your nose with a respirator. To apply the finish along the edges, use a brush. And for the center use a long-handled roller.

Once you have applied the first coat, wait at least 3 years.

Step 7: Apply the second coat

Drying time, to some extent, depends on the particular brand you are using. However, as a rule of thumb, you should allow it to dry for at least 3 hours.

After that, apply the second coat the way you applied the first one. Do not move the furniture back just after the finish has dried. Ideally, you should wait a few days.

Method 2: Chemical Etching Kit

Now you know the method of restoring hardwood floors by buffing and recoating. If you still want to learn how to restore hardwood floors without sanding, here is another method for you. Follow these steps for using a chemical etching kit.

Step 1: Determine if it is the best way to restore your floor

This method is suitable for a worn and scratched hardwood floor, but if the floor is too damaged, it will probably need sanding before you refinish it. This method does not require buffing the floor. You just have to apply the solution.

This method is not for floors with a wax finish. To know if it is a wax-finished floor, do the test we have already described in the first section.

Step 2 Purchase a refinishing kit

You will find a refinishing kit at a large hardware store or home center. You can visit some online stores to know which one is a good choice for you. If you think chemical etching is too expensive, you can still consider using the buffing method.

Step 3: Gather the materials and tools your kit requires

In general, you will need a paint tray, bucket, sponge mop, paintbrush, a shop vacuum, shoe covers, painter’s tape, abrasive pads, and some other materials.

Step 4: Clean the floor

Cleaning the floor is necessary, but it may not be enough. Ideally, you should clear the entire room and make it dust-free. The point is to prevent any dust particles from landing on the wet finish. Here is another thing to remember: the finish may dry too quickly if it receives direct sunlight. So, close the curtains while the finish dries.

Step 5: Roughen the floor surface by applying the liquid etcher

Before you apply the etcher, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. The kit comes with an abrasive pad. Firmly scrub the pad into the grain. When you are done, allow the floor to dry, for at least 30 minutes.

Step 6: Mop the floor

You have probably already figured out how to restore hardwood floors without sanding because the next steps are intuitive. To mop the floor, you will have to use a solution. You can make the solution by mixing two tablespoons of a liquid dishwasher with one gallon of warm water. It will neutralize the etcher and remove the remaining residue.

Step 7: Smooth the scratches

Find scratches if there are any, and smooth them by applying a matching stain, with an artist’s brush. Dry the spots with a hairdryer, and then seal them with the finish that comes with the kit.

Step 8: Apply the finish

Do it with the applicator pad that comes with the kit. Again, read the manufacturer’s instructions before you get started. If the finish is left to stand for a few minutes, it can become gummy. So, to smooth out the bubbles and drips, you can get an assistant.

And when you are done, allow the finish to dry. Do not put down a rug right away. Wait for at least a couple of weeks.

Final Thoughts

Sanding is a good way to restore hardwood floors, but the process is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Sanding may not be appropriate if the floor is too thin. Luckily, there are easier alternatives. We have discussed the two most common methods, and we hope you have found the discussion helpful.

Over time, the shiny finish of your beautiful hardwood floor is slowly removed by the friction of day-to-day living. It’s only natural for the top layer to get thinner and duller, with more scratches and tiny dents. Problems start to arise if you let that protective coat deteriorate for too long. Eventually it will expose the bare wood underneath and the damage caused can only be removed by sanding and refinishing the entire floor.

The finish on your floor is very similar to sunscreen for your skin. It’s important to re-apply it before it wears off to prevent damage. If the top coat of your hardwood floor is starting to look dull and a little scratched up, it might be time to add a maintenance layer. This process is also known as “screen and recoat” or “buff and coat”. We recommend this low cost maintenance coat every 3-5 years to remove mild scuffs and rebuild a solid top coat finish.

The first step in this process is to buff the hardwoods. In order to get a new coat to adhere to the old one, we must lightly sand or ‘screen’ it. A screen is just a round mesh encrusted with abrasive particles. This special mesh is generally less aggressive than sandpaper because there are fewer abrasive particles per square inch. Under the screen are thick soft pads which further reduce the cutting action. This is important because the buffing process should only mar the surface of the floor enough for a new coat of finish to bond. Screening should remove only a tiny fraction of the existing finish, not all of it. Once the buffing process is complete, we add a top coat of finish.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

So, every few years, long before the protective coat has grown too thin, you need to maintain your hardwoods with another coat on top. The key word in that sentence is the word “before.” You have to recoat a floor before you see damage. Unfortunately, some homeowners wait too long and are frustrated that a sand and refinish is required.

To test your floor to see if it needs a full refinish or just a recoat, take our easy at home test.

**IMPORTANT: The only way a recoat is possible is if the floor has never come in contact with oil based soaps or cleaners. See our article on Hardwood Floor Cleaner Reviews for more information on safe cleaners.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Sanding is the go-to method when you want to make your floors look good, sanding is always one of the steps involved. However, when you sand you run the risk of getting fine particles all over the place causing you more clean-up hassle.

You also run the risk of ruining your floors. If you sand against the grain, even accidentally, you will damage the wood causing you an expensive repair bill. There are safer ways to refinish your hardwood floors.

To find those methods, just continue to read our article. It has that information and instructions for you to follow.

How to Shine Wood Floors Without Refinishing

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

There are several steps involved when you opt to do this method of making your floors look great again. These steps do not include any sanding:

Step 1 – Determine the Finish

The type of finish will tell you what direction you need to go in. If you test the current finish and find that it smudges instead of scrapes off, then you cannot polish the floor.

A finish that smudges is usually a penetrating coating, and you can only wax the floor to make it look nice again.

Step 2 – Once you have found that you can polish the floor, you need to remove all the furniture and other household items that sit on the floor. Then you have to take the time to clean the floor.

Cleaning involves either sweeping or vacuuming, whichever is easiest and gets all the loose dirt. Then you should use a hardwood floor cleanser to make sure you do not damage the wood. Or a little warm water with some liquid soap in it.

Make sure to rinse with a damp towel and dry the floor before you polish.

Step 3 – Pick the best corner that will not leave you trapped in the room when you are nearing the end of this step. Apply the polish and use a rectangle flat mop to spread the polish over your floor.

Make sure you go with the grain and get rid of any air bubbles. The coats you apply should be thin so that they dry faster, and you are free to use a second coat if you want.

Step 4 – Let the polish dry. This can take up to 24 hours depending on the brand of polish you use. If you are careful people can walk through the room during this stage, but the furniture should wait several hours before being put back into its spots.

One Cleaning Tip

Regular cleaning is not going to be enough to help your hardwood floors last a long time. If your room is used quite often, you will have to eventually refinish it. That will protect your floor and at the same time help it look good.

The Screen Method

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Instead of using sandpaper, which can get quite messy as well as being hard to clean up after you are done, you can use a medium to fine grit mesh or screen to help bring your floors back to life. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1 – Make sure to remove all floor items and furniture from the room and give the floor a very thorough cleaning. Scrape off hard-to-remove items like dried gum, etc.

Step 2 – Turn your buffer over and put a medium to fine grit screen or mesh on it. Secure that mesh in place.

Step 3 – Pick a spot to start that will not leave you inside the room when you are done. You want to be able to end up at the door for an easy escape. Make sure to go with the grain and move the buffer in a straight line.

You can turn the mesh over or replace it as needed.

Step 4 – When you are done, remove the screen and fold it in half. Then manually rub it over the wood floor in the corners and next to the walls.

Step 5 – Vacuum the floor again, this time to remove any particles that the screen created. After using the vacuum, use a cloth damped with some mineral oil and pick up any dust the vacuum missed.

Step 6 – Once the dust has been removed, add your varnish or clear coat to the floor. You can use a paintbrush or roller to do this. Again, start in a spot that will allow you to finish by the door. Let the floor dry before using it or replacing the furniture, etc.

Please keep in mind that we may receive a small commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Many people would like to revive and give a fresh new look to their floor without actually sanding the floor. This is ideal for floors that are not significantly damaged. This means there are no deep scratches or dents, things that can only be removed by taking off a millimetre or 2 from the surface of the wood. Everyone seems to want to know, how to refinish a wood floor without sanding.

To refinish a floor without sanding, you need a floor that’s already in quite a good condition. Thoroughly clean the floor with a pH-neutral cleaner and lightly rub it down to provide a key for the next coat. Use a finish compatible with the existing finish.

You may otherwise be on a budget and just want to spruce up your floor. If either of these is true then read on!

1. Clean your floor.

You need to either use a pH neutral floor cleaner or just warm water! Personally I would opt for the warm water and get on my hands and knees and scrub. Be sure to not drench the floor, it’s important that you only use a damp mop or rag so as to not cause any water damage.

2. Identify whether your floor has been finished with an oil or a lacquer based product.

It can be difficult to distinguish between an oiled floor or a lacquered floor for the non-professional. Ideally, you would know from when the floor was fitted. Here are some differences that can help you tell the difference. Oiled or Hardwax Oiled floors tend to wear faster on the surface. They also tend to be slightly more of an orange color and slightly darker. Oiled floors also stain very easily, if you spill a drink on it, it usually leaves a mark.

Lacquered floors tend to be lighter in terms of color. The surface doesn’t wear quite so quickly and easily. The surface is usually shinier. More here.

If the floor you have has an oil-based finish, I recommend using a ‘Hardwax Oil.’

If your floor is lacquer based, I recommend using a Polyurethane lacquer (not acrylic or part acrylic).

To find out what lacquers and hardwax oils I use (as well as recommendations for US readers) click here.

3. Lightly abrade (sand) the surface of your floor.

Do this with a buffing machine using a 120 grit mesh (or a few 120 grit disks under the pad) or with just a 120 bit of sandpaper by hand. You don’t need a buffing machine, I often use 120 paper by hand myself (when buffing before the final coat on a floor that has been stained for example).

Rub the floor down going with the grain of the wood(as seen in the video above). Make sure you do this methodically so as to not leave any areas unabraded. Don’t put too much pressure down and don’t do it too thoroughly. The purpose of this is to key the surface to allow the new coat to bond to the floor and prevent the new coat peeling off.

4. Vacuum the floor.

Again make sure you do this slowly and methodically, going around the edge of the floor with the pipe of the hoover to ensure the floor is free of dust.

5. Lacquer or oil the floor.

You can learn how to lacquer or oil a floor here. If you are lacquering you should use a medium pile roller for correct coverage, whereas if you are oiling I recommend using a short pile roller.

That’s it! Be sure to check the instructions on the product for drying times before walking on the floor or replacing furniture.

This is a great, cheap and easy solution for people that want to know how to refinish a wood floor without sanding. It returns that new appearance to the floor.

If you have done this please let me know how you got on, or if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

Telling the difference between lacquer and oil.

I get countless emails and comments on my youtube videos from people wanting to know the difference between a floor that has been oiled and a floor that has been lacquered.

Firstly I would like to clear up on definitions. Americans can call alcohol or other acid/solvent-based products ‘oil-based’, whereas in the UK we call it solvent-based.

When I say oil I mean hardwax oil which contains no polyurethane or acrylic. Examples are Osmo Hardwax Oil, Treatex Hardwax Oil and Blanchon Hardwax Oil. Many wood floors are finished with hardwax oil.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding This is an oiled oak floor that has harkened, though this is darker than usual, its just to illustrate.

So let’s say you want to refinish your floor using the method outlined in How To Refinish a Wood Floor Without Sanding. Ideally, you really want to identify whether or not the floor has been finished with a wax/oil-based product or a polyurethane/acrylic-based product.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding This is an oak floor with a factory lacquer finish, this is lighter than usual, but again it’s just to illustrate

If the floor is anything other than pine, beech, maple, oak or any other light wood my colour descriptions aren’t going to mean much.

But generally oiled floors tend to go a lot darker and orangey. Even when they are first finished they are darker and more orange than floors that are lacquered.

Oil-based finishes tend to matt down a lot more in high traffic areas whereas lacquered floors just have individual scratches. So in a doorway for example, on an oiled floor, there appears to be no ‘sheen’ or reflective surface at all, its all matted down from wear and tear.

And last of all, oiled floors tend to feel a little more rubbery or waxy. This is subtle. This distinction, along with the other descriptions are pretty subjective and may mean nothing without seeing lots of different floors. I’m just doing the best I can to answer a common question.

If for any reason you just cannot identify what is on your floor, it is possible to go ahead with polyurethane, it’s just not ideal. I have seen oiled floors that have been lacquered and generally, it’s not too much of a problem. Just make sure you key it thoroughly with the 120grit so you don’t get delamination.

Sanding your floors yourself can save you a lot of money—if you do it the right way. Here’s what you need to know.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding


Related To:

If your hardwood floors are in need of refinishing, you have two main choices: Do it yourself, or hire and pay someone else to do it for you. By sanding your floors yourself, you could potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars—so long as you do it right.

Here’s what you need to know before you get started.

First, you need to understand the condition your floor is in. What kind of wood is it? Is it painted? How thick is the finish? How many times has it previously been refinished? You need to know these things in order to select the right grit—or coarseness of the sander—for your floor. If you have questions about the ideal range for your floor, ask for help at the home improvement store where you rent sanding equipment. You have to remove the finish on the floor before you can properly sand out all the scratches and imperfections that have accumulated over the years.

You’ll need two kinds of sanders for the process: A walk-behind sander, like a drum floor sander, and a floor edger, to get into the corners and smaller nooks and crannies. You can rent these from home improvement stores.

Before you start sanding, remove everything from the room and vacuum the floor. You’ll need to sand the entire floor, not just one section. Sanding the floor will kick up a lot of dust, so protect light fixtures and tape over electrical outlets. Remove shoe moulding, the wood trim where the wall meets the floor. You don’t want the sander to hit and damage this, and you also want to be able to get underneath it. You may be able to use a spackle knife and razor blade, or you may need to pry it off with a crowbar. Use a pencil, painter’s tape or sticky notes to label each piece as you set it aside so you don’t end up with a jig saw puzzle when you’re ready to reinstall it.

If you have any squeaks or loose floorboards, fix them before you begin sanding.

When you’re ready to get started with the drum sander, put on a mask to avoid breathing in dust and wear eye and ear protection. Drum floor sanders can be extremely loud and they can kick up a lot of dust into the air.

Be sure you start with the coarsest grit of sandpaper and take care not to gouge the floor. It’s best to tilt the sander back and start it while it’s not in contact with the floor. You may want to practice using the sander on a part of the floor that will be covered by a table, couch or bookcase, or even get a large piece of plywood to practice on until you feel comfortable.

Start in the middle of your floor and sand from end to end, overlapping each pass by just an inch or two. You’ll do this several times—once for each grit of sandpaper you’re using. In between stages, clean the floor to remove dust and dirt.

While sanding, you’ll need to keep moving. While your floor can probably take more sanding than you think, a drum sander is intended to remove a lot, and you can easily damage your floor if you’re not paying attention. Don’t stand still with the sander at any point—just keep moving slowly but surely.

After you’ve sanded the bulk of the floor, use the edge sander to get into the spaces the drum sander can’t reach. Wipe the floor clean with a cloth before you’re ready to add the stain.

I came across an article recently explaining how to refinish your wood floor without sanding it first. I repeat, WITHOUT SANDING! They recommended a kit called “The Varathane Renewal Floor Refinishing Kit.”

This kit works best on floors that have no more than normal wear (no deep scratches or areas where the finish is completely worn away or flaking off) and no wax finish.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

How To Refinish Your Wood Floor Without Sanding

Step 1

Clean the floor thoroughly by removing furniture, vacuuming, and wiping off with a damp cloth. Make sure your floor only has minimal wear and tear to it; if it does, consider hiring a professional to take care of the problem.

Step 2

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Instead of sanding, you will be using a liquid etcher to rough up the surface of your floor, allowing the new coat of finish to stick. It is recommended that you put the paint tray (filled with etcher) into a shallow cardboard box lined with a plastic bag to catch spills. Make sure to scrub the floor firmly. Wipe off the etcher as you go along because it can damage the floor if left on too long.

Step 3:

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Once the floor has dried for about 30 minutes, re-mop the floor with a solution of 2 tbsp. dishwashing liquid and a gallon of warm water. Wear shoe covers to keep the floor clean. Wipe up the wetness. Fix scratches with matching stain and floor finish from the kit.

Step 4

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Apply the finisher with help from a buddy. One of you will apply the finish with a paint pad while the other follows close behind with the applicator pad. The helper can fix drips and puddles with a paintbrush as you go along. Make sure not to paint yourself into a corner!

Once finished, allow about 3 hours for the first coat to dry, then apply a second coat. I can’t wait to try this! This will make a very dreaded task a whole lot easier:)

Reader Interactions


Would love to try this on my floors! The clean up is so messy after sanding the floors, that would be SO great to skip the sanding step!!

Dont let the product fool you, you are only top coating. We have a hardwood flooring business, and you dont need to do all this just to add a coat of finish. There is no substitute for sanding, which removes old stain and finish, preparing the floor and making an old floor look new again. If all you want is to refresh your old finish, all you (or a professional) need to do is burnish or rough up the surface of the existing finish with a sander or buffing machine, then vaccuum, wipe or tack floor and add a coat of water or oil based finish. Make sure you use a compatible finish to what you have currently. Good Luck!!

Wow. That’s great that the floor refinish kits are also available in the market and this kit are really helpful for refinishing the floor and I will also want to buy this kit and it’s helpful for me and I am getting one site that also provide the best information related to the How To Refinish Hardwood Floors

If your hardwood floor has seen better days, and you think it might need a complete refinish, don’t worry. With a little know-how (and a lot of elbow grease) this is a job you can do at home. If DIY is not for you, knowing the process it takes to bring your floor back to life can help you determine which path to take — whether refinishing or replacing — and an understanding of what to expect along the way. This guide will walk you through every step of the process — from determining if a hardwood floor refinishing is the best option for you, to adding the last coat of finishing product.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Is Your Floor Hardwood to the Core, or an Imposter?

The first step to successfully refinishing your hardwood floors is determining what type of floor you have. This might seem simple, but there are many varieties of flooring that masquerade as hardwood but are really partially or entirely made up of other materials, and each one requires a different refinishing technique.

The first hardwood lookalike is laminate. Laminate Plank Flooring is made of synthetic materials, layered and embossed with a grain pattern, meant to mimic the look and texture of natural wood. It’s typically pretty easy to tell if your flooring is made of laminate, as it simply feels like a hard plastic. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to refinish laminate, but there are some methods of recoating that involve chemical abrasives. These methods are a long shot, however, and are not recommended by the flooring experts at The Good Guys.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Engineered Wood floors are another alternative to solid hardwood, made of a thin layer (or veneer) of hardwood, bonded to a layer of cheaper material, typically plywood. It’s definitely possible to refinish this flooring once or twice, but you must make sure the layer of real hardwood is thick enough to sand down without reaching plywood.

When working with engineered hardwood, you typically require about 1/8” of veneer in order to refinish. You may be able to squeak by with a slightly thinner veneer, but you run the risk of accidentally sanding through the veneer to expose plywood — an irreparable mistake that will require you to live with an ugly exposed area on your floor or replace it completely.

Finally, solid hardwood floors are made of a solid plank of wood and are therefore the best candidate for refinishing. Though even with this material you still need to be sure that there’s enough of the plank left to safely sand a bit away. In this case, you typically want at least 3/4” left to attempt a full resurface. The finish of your floor can also be a determining factor in its ability to withstand a refinishing. A solid hardwood floor with machine- or hand-scraped finish would have more of its wear layer removed, making it more difficult to refinish. Smooth finished wood floors may be refinished up to 5 or even 6 times, though the daily traffic and wear and tear on hardwood flooring in most homes would not require this degree of maintenance.

How To Tell If Your Hardwood Floor Will Withstand a Refinish

A solid rule of thumb is that a typical solid hardwood floor can be refinished four or five times before it needs to be replaced, so if you know your floor’s history, you may not need to measure its remaining thickness.

Engineered hardwood floors can be a bit more tricky, as cheaper options will have minimal veneer that can’t even stand up to one round of refinishing, but if you have a receipt, box or model number, you may be able to look up how thick the floors were, to begin with. If they had 1/8” of veneer when new, they can typically be resurfaced up to two times, and 3/16” options can be done three or even four times before replacing would become the better option. When refinishing an engineered wood floor, it is not recommended to machine- or hand-scrape the finish, due to their thinner wear layers.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

How Thick Are Your Floorboards?

If you don’t know your floor’s history, the easiest way to find how much material you have left is to look for a floor grate or vent that you can remove to expose the floorboards. If you don’t have any such openings, the next best option is to remove a threshold from a doorway as there are typically gaps between rooms that will expose the end of a board or plank.

Finally, if you still can’t tell, you can remove a piece of baseboard trim from the wall in the room that’s meant to be refinished. The baseboards aren’t typically removed during refinishing, so there will be a bit of a raised area underneath if the floor had been resurfaced previously. This method is a bit risky though; the baseboards may have been replaced when the floor was previously refinished for aesthetic reasons, and you still won’t know the current thickness of the floor.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Should You Recoat or Refinish Your Floors?

Once you know what type of floor you have, it’s a good idea to evaluate if a total refinish or a more subdued screen and recoat is necessary. A recoat simply involves roughing up your floor with a gentle sanding screen. and applying a new protective covering. This is a lot easier and much more inexpensive than refinishing but only fixes problems in the surface-level protective covering. On the other hand, a refinish will take care of moderate marring and discoloration but will require a lot more time, money and effort.

The best way to know if your floor should be recoated or refinished is to run a simple test. Find two areas on your floor and tape off a square of about 6 by 6 inches The first should be an area that represents the heaviest flaws you have in your floor to see if they’re repairable with a recoat. The second should be in an area that’s regularly exposed to cleaning products, such as window cleaner overspray, oil-based cleaners, or other heavy detergents.

It’s important to test an area that’s exposed to household cleaners as over time the floor will get imbued with those materials and a polyurethane finish coat won’t adhere to the floor properly. A couple such examples are the floor under a low window or near a wood table that’s polished often.

IMPORTANT NOTE : Only do this test if you’re sure you want to alter your floor in some manner. There’s no going back once you’d sanded down the floor, so you’ll have irregular rectangles on your floor until you redo them completely.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Test for Recoating Your Hardwood Floor

Once you’ve selected two areas and taped them off, get a 120-grit screen and thoroughly sand the area. Then clean it off with a brush or vacuum and damp cloth, and apply polyurethane (see later in this article for a comparison of oil- and water-based polyurethane options). Let it dry, and try gently scraping it with a coin or other metal object. Don’t use anything sharp or pointed or press terribly hard, as you’ll scratch through even a solid coating. If you’re satisfied with the finish and it doesn’t flake off when you gently scrape, go ahead with a recoat. If not, it’s time to start refinishing.

Published 4/17/21

Your property’s hardwood floors can take quite a beating. This may be due to tenant turnover (since they move furniture), usual wear and tear, or perhaps even because of pets. In any case, the once-sparkling hardwood flooring in your property may need a touch-up.

In this post, we’ll be discussing 2 of the best DIY methods to refresh your flooring without having to deal with the expense and mess of sanding.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding


Using a Chemical Abrasion Kit

1. Clear and Clean the Room

Before you begin, make sure that you have removed all partial fixtures and furnishings, including shelves, curtains, and even doors that come in the way. After doing so, clean your hardwood floors with a damp cloth so that all the grime and dust are cleared up.

2. Apply the Chemical and Begin Scrubbing

Get hold of the abrasive pad included in the abrasion kit and then carefully pour the chemical to a 4 x 4 section of floor. Using your abrasion pad, scrub firmly over the section and move on to the next. Make sure you prevent spills and puddles because doing so could cause them to seep into the floor.

Once you’re done with the entire area, the floor shouldn’t be entirely dry. Instead, a thin film of the chemical should work perfectly.

3. Clean Again

After allowing your floor to dry for 30-minutes, mix 2-tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into warm water and then mop over the floor to neutralize the chemical residue. Try to moderately dampen your mop so as to avoid forming clean-up puddles and causing water damage.

4. Touch-Up Deep Scratches

Next, get hold of a cotton swab or an artist paintbrush and apply a matching stain inside deeper scratches. Feather over the strain to make sure it blends with your floor, and then dry it up with a hairdryer.

5. Coat the New Finish

Before coating your floor, try to plan how you’ll apply the finish, so you don’t get backed up into a corner with nowhere to go. Start by moving along the grain of the floor and make sure not to form any puddles while doing so.

Buffing and Polyurethane for Recoating

1. Rent a Buffer

Head over to a home improvement store and rent a buffer. It may be a little expensive, but it’s definitely worth the cost.

2. Clean-Up

Again, make sure the room is empty and your floors are free from dust or gunk. Also, while cleaning, pay attention to areas that have stripped finishes, dents or deep scratches.

3. Address the Deeper Scratches

If you found deep scratches, douse these with mineral spirits (works for lightly-colored floors). Alternatively, you can use a cotton swab or paintbrush to apply a stain that matches your hardwood flooring.

4. Turn the Buffer On

For this part of your DIY project, you will require some sanding screens. After your floor has been cleaned up, place a sanding screen under your rental buffer (ask for a tutorial at your home improvement store). It is also important to mention here that sanding screens typically wear out after about 10 to 15 minutes of use. This is why you should keep checking the screen for a buildup of grit, as this will scratch your floor.

Now turn your buffer on and move it back and forth from wall to wall and work your way around the room so that you don’t back yourself into a corner or pass over the wood more than you have to.

5. Finish Up

After thoroughly vacuuming the room for dust, use oil-based or water-based polyurethane, depending on the type of hardwood floors you’re dealing with. Next, use a high quality paintbrush to apply the finish from wall to wall before using an applicator pad attached to a broom to spread the finish in the direction of the grain.

Final Words

When it comes to DIY renovation of hardwood flooring, make sure that you consult the experts before going at it on your own. Try to consult a sales representative at the hardware store, a fellow property manager, or a contractor to find out what is best for your needs. In doing so, you will save a lot of time, energy and money.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Brandon and I bought a foreclosure earlier this year. It was vacant for over a year before we bought it. We have been slowly fixing it up and getting it ready for someone new to make it their home. Right now we are way over schedule and just a little over budget. It’s getting down to the wire, and we need to get creative.

By creative, I don’t mean a cheap, chintzy fix. Our goal isn’t to cut corners and save money at all costs. We aim to come up with innovative ways to save time and money without sacrificing quality. This fix does exactly that. It is one of the easiest and cheapest fixes we have come across so far.

Neglected Hardwood Floors

This home has hardwood floors in the upstairs. The floors were in okay shape, but they needed some love. They were dull, dry, and dirty with grime, gunk, and old paint splatters. We don’t have the expertise, time, or money to completely refinish these floors, so we needed to figure something out.

I did some research online and came across Minwax Floor Reviver. If you have thirty minutes and thirty dollars, then you can refresh your hardwood floors. Full disclosure: this will not give you the same look as sanding and refinishing your floors, but it will make a huge difference!

Refreshing the Hardwood Floors

There are no tricks or special tools needed. The instructions are straight forward and easy to follow. Even someone with little patience for details, like myself, can pull this off’.

Prepping the Floor

The most time-consuming part of the job is cleaning the hardwood floors to prep them for the Minwax Reviver. Hopefully, you don’t have to deal with years of grime and paint splatters as I did. If your floors have been well maintained, then they need a simple dusting and mopping to remove any dust and dirt.

If you have to deal with layers of grime and old paint, then you will need a little more time, some elbow grease, a small putty knife, a Scotch-Brite sponge with handle, some Goo Gone, and a bucket of warm water.

Start with the Scotch-Brite sponge dipped in the warm water. Scrub the hardwood floor where you find gunk, grime, and/or paint splatters. For pesky mystery gunk that the sponge isn’t quite getting, pour some Goo Gone on the gunk. Wait a minute or two and then scrub again. If the gunk is still hanging around, then lightly go at it with the putty knife.

The putty knife also works well to get rid of old paint splatters. Again, scrub the splatter first with the wet scotchbrite sponge. Then lightly scrape the edge of the splatter with the putty knife. Be sure not to press too hard with the putty knife.

If you hear a crunchy or scratchy sound while you are scraping with the putty knife, you need to stop right away. You may be scratching any finish left on your hardwood floors. As you can see from the picture below I didn’t have to worry too much about scratching the finish because there wasn’t much left.

Repeat the Scotch-Brite sponge, warm water, Goo Gone, and putty knife process until you have the floor as good as you can get it. Wait for it to dry, and then sweep and mop the hardwood floor. You want it to be as clean as possible when you apply the Reviver. Once your floors are clean and dry, you are ready to move on to the fun part-shining them up!

How to finish hardwood floors without sandingFloor after cleaning gunk and grime but before applying Reviver

Applying Minwax Reviver

You will need a large stain pad. (I used a ten-inch stain pad that could go into a mop head like this one.) Attach your stain pad to your mop, and then you are ready to go. Read the directions on the bottle, but in general, they say to apply the solution in an “S” shape over a three-foot by three-foot section. Apply with the grain and don’t spread too thin. Let it dry for at least a couple of hours before walking on it. And one coat is all you should need. That’s it; there’s not much to it.

How to finish hardwood floors without sandingApplying the second coat of Minwax Reviver using the “S” technique.

Tips Not Included in the Instructions

A couple of tips based on my experience. Go in only one direction with your stain pad. I found mopping from the top of the “S” towards my feet worked best for me. Lift the mop up, go to the top of the “S” again, and mop toward you again. Repeat until the “S” has disappeared. Then move on to your next area, follow the same technique, and repeat until you have finished the entire hardwood floor.

If you are working with dry and dull floors like mine, then work in smaller sections (two feet by two feet versus three feet by three feet). You can apply multiple coats, and it will improve each time. Again, this is especially true if your hardwood floors are dull and have next to no finish left. I put two coats on one bedroom, and three coats on the other. The last coats on each made all the difference.

The Reveal

Here are the finished results. The hardwood floors are not refinished. You can still see scratches, but the floors look so much nicer. I will definitely use Reviver again, especially on bedrooms like these where most of the floor will end up being covered by furniture and a rug. This is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to give your floors some new life. I think the new homeowners will enjoy these floors for years to come.

How to finish hardwood floors without sandingFinished hardwood floors thanks to Minwax Reviver.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Deirdre Sullivan is an interior design expert and features writer who specializes in home improvement as well as design. She began her career as an assistant editor at Elle magazine and has more than a decade of experience. Deirdre contributes content for brands including The Spruce and, and has been a featured speaker at various conferences.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Deane Biermeier is an expert contractor with nearly 30 years of experience in all types of home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. He is a certified lead carpenter and also holds a certification from the EPA. Deane is a member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Refinishing your hardwood flooring may be easier and cheaper than you think. That’s because unlocking a sad floor’s hidden beauty doesn’t always involve messy sanding and staining, particularly if yours aren’t damaged. To decide the best solution that works for your home, here are seven things to consider before renewing or refinishing old hardwood floors.

Are Your Wood Floors Dull as Dirt?

Sure, it’s a no-brainer that dirt and dust make floors look dingy. But you may be surprised to learn that when tracked, both leave behind superficial scratches that dull the surface. Fortunately, restoring dirty wood floors that have lost their sheen can be relatively straightforward.

Deep Cleaning is as Easy as One-Two-Three

A good deep cleaning may restore your tired floor’s former luster. Here’s what to do:

  • Begin by thoroughly sweeping floors with a soft bristle broom. So that you know, stiff bristles can scratch the wood’s surface.
  • Next, use a vacuum to remove hard-to-reach dirt in room corners and between floorboards.
  • Afterward, mop using a micro cloth and concentrated cleaner for hardwood floors. Method Squirt and Mop, and Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner are two good ones. Keep in mind steam, water, vinegar and cleaners like Murphy’s Oil Soap that produces suds should never be used to clean wood floors.

Watch Now: The Simple Method to Make Hardwood Floors Shine

Hardwood floors in high-traffic areas in your home may require a deep cleaning by a flooring professional. Experts like these typically use a scrubbing machine designed to remove embedded dirt.

After deep cleaning your floors, here’s what you need to do to keep them in tip-top shape:

  • Surface clean three times per week using a vacuum or micro cloth.
  • Deep clean once per month using a concentrated wood floor cleaner.
  • Professionally deep clean once per year.

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Illustration: The Spruce / Elnora Turner

DIY a New Finish Without Sanding

If deep cleaning didn’t restore your wood floor’s glow, you could give it a fresh new finish without sanding or staining using one of the following products:

  • Rust-Oleum Transformations Wood and Laminate Floor Renewal Kit: It includes everything you need to create a fresh, semi-glossy polyurethane finish without changing your floor’s color. Once applied it takes 24 hours to dry, and seven to 14 days to cure. FYI, this stuff is not compatible with waxed wood floors.
  • Minwax Hardwood Floor Reviver: Designed to restore a wood floor’s existing polyurethane finish. The high-gloss sheen will last up to six months.
  • Rejuvenate Wood Floor Restorer: This stuff is created to restore previously sealed old hardwood woods. It’s available in both satin and glossy finishes.

Another good thing to know is that products like these that were created to refresh floors without sanding have a thick consistency that will fill light scratches and soften small dings.

When Refinishing is the Best Option

Unfortunately, some hardwood floors are beyond quick fixes. Dry, grimy floors with deep scratches and wide gaps need refinishing.

Getting the job done is a lengthy and labor-intensive process. Planning to DIY? You should know each step: Sanding, patching, staining, and top coating could take a weekend or more to complete if you’re refinishing less than 500 square feet.

If you want your floors professionally refinished, you can find local contractors using several online services like Yelp or Angie’s List. Average cost depends on your area, but you can expect to pay at least $3 or $4 per square foot.

You’ll want to get bids from three or more companies, which will involve a visit to your home to inspect the floors at no charge. Before deciding which contractors to reach out to, do the following:

  • Read all of their online reviews carefully. Got questions? Message the person who left the review for additional information. Concerned about fake reviews? Authentic ones usually provide details about the user’s experience.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints. But if you spot one, don’t assume the worst until you read how the consumer’s claim was resolved. Even contractors make mistakes from time to time. But a well-intentioned one will settle customer problems in a professional manner where all parties are satisfied.
  • Confirm that the contractor is bonded, licensed, and insured to work in your area. Ask for each number and certification, then confirm if all are up to date.

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The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Fixing Those Darn Gaps

Trowel filling after sanding is the easiest way to repair deep gashes, dings, and gaps when refinishing your floors. But if done during the wrong time of year, it’s not a long-lasting fix.

Why? In a nutshell, wood compresses during the winter and expands in summer.

When you fill gaps between floorboards when it’s cold and dry, the material used is often squeezed out during sultry weather. That’s why it’s best to fill floors when the humidity is higher during the summer.

But even then trowel filling is not a perfect fix, especially when used to patch small crevices where filler can easily come loose. What to do? Only fill larger gaps. Leaving the smaller ones unpatched will accommodate wood expansion.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

What You Need to Know About Dark Floor Stains

If you decide to refinish your wood floors, the fun part is picking a new stain color like rich Mahogany, or dark Oak, which are both very popular right now. The problem is, while you may think darker colors would hide dirt, they make dust particles more noticeable.

Satin or Glossy?

Glossy floors look lovely, but satin finishes have been growing in popularity, especially in households with small children. The main reason: compared to their shiny counterparts, it’s harder to slip on a satin finish.

Floor Finishing

How to Refinish My Wood Floors

Refinishing Hardwood Floor Procedures

Wood Floors
are a beautiful and natural product that sets it apart from other floor coverings. The ultimate appearance and performance in any application, How to finish hardwood floors without sanding however, are dependent upon the installation and finishing process, with close attention by the installer and finisher to a number of details prior to and during the actual installation and finishing process. It has taken many years of practical experience to describe the simplest methods of achieving successful finishing of various types of hardwood flooring. This information is generally applicable to the finishing of most hardwood flooring products. With today’s technological advances, in regards to finishes, techniques and finishing equipment, we will attempt to help you understand the many steps involved in refinishing/finishing of wood floors as the accepted methods used throughout the Wood Floor Industry.

This site will help you understand the refinishing/finishing process , such that you will be able to make a more educated decision and have a better understanding when this work is performed in your home. Wood Floors are an INVESTMENT, and add value to your home, thus decisions concerning them should not be taken lightly. ALWAYS seek a wood floor professional, with an established business, reference list of satisfied How to finish hardwood floors without sandingcustomers, and a port-folio you can view of past work.

A hardwood floor can last 100 years if it’s well cared for. As a professional, you know that refinishing the floor is one of the ways to keep hardwood floors looking warm and beautiful. Here’s a step-by-step guide to refinishing a hardwood floor.

Assess the Floor

Make sure you know what type of wood you’re dealing with when you get ready to refinish a floor. It’s relatively easy to refinish a true hardwood such as oak or maple. If the floor is pine, it’s a little more difficult to deal with, but with care, you can create a beautiful floor. Engineered wood floors, however, typically aren’t good candidates for refinishing, as the veneer on the top comes right off as soon as you start sanding.

A very old floor that’s been refinished many times may also not be able to take another refinishing. Pull up a heating grate if possible to see how much hardwood is left. If there’s less than 1/8 inch above the tongue or if you can already see nail heads in the floor, you can’t re-sand it any longer. Check out options for removing the old finish chemically to try to refinish the floor.

Prepare for Sanding

If the hardwood floor can handle another sanding, plan to be aggressive about it. Start with 36-grit sandpaper for a floor that hasn’t been sanded in a long time or that has a lot of heavy finish on it. Floors that have been painted may even require you to go tougher and use 24 or 16-grit paper. Maple floors are so hard that they often require 36-grit sandpaper as well.

Pull up all the heating grates and any old carpet tacks before you sand. You can leave the baseboards in place unless you’re planning to replace them. You need a pristinely clean floor before sanding, so sweep it and then dust mop it to get up all debris and dust. Make any necessary repairs to gouges and cracks in the floor before sanding.

Sand and Buff the Floor

Use a drum sander for your first sanding pass on the floor. Sand the center of the room first, and then finish with an edger. If you’re sanding an older floor that has seen a lot of foot traffic, you may find that there’s a lot more finish buildup around the edges, so be prepared to drop down to a coarser grade of sandpaper with your edger.

Wear a respiratory mask while you’re sanding, since the process raises a lot of dust. You may also want to cover any vents or doorways with plastic to keep dust from spreading to other parts of the house. Wear safety gear, since splinters can fly anywhere.

Sand with the grain unless you’re working with a floor that is extremely damaged or uneven. If you do sand at an angle to the grain, be aware that you’re removing a lot more wood than if you were working with the grain. Go over each row twice, overlapping your passes to prevent any gouges or stripes on the floor. Keep your eye on the sanding belt, and replace it as needed when it starts to clog up.

The goal of your first sanding pass is just to remove the finish. Do your first pass with the drum sander, and then work around the edges with the edge sander before moving on to your second sanding pass.

In your second sanding pass, your goal is to remove any remaining finish and get rid of any scratches made by the first sanding pass. Use an 80-grit or finer sanding pad for this pass, and then repeat with the edge. When you’re through with this pass, your floor should look like new wood.

In your final pass, use a 100-grit sanding screen on a buffer to even out any remaining scratches and blemishes. Once again, work back and forth, overlapping each pass. Keep the buffer in motion at all times to avoid leaving any marks. You can use a random-orbital sander to buff the edges.

Choose the Finish

The hardwood floor finish you choose determines the look of the floor. An oil-based satin finish gives the floor a warm glow and hides any imperfections while also bringing out the grain. If you choose this type of finish, make sure to allow for plenty of ventilation, because the fumes are far from healthy. A somewhat simpler option is a water-based finish that dries clear and doesn’t produce the same volume of toxic fumes. This finish is an ideal choice for a homeowner who wants a floor that resists yellowing and doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance.

Some homeowners may prefer to apply natural oils or waxes to their floors. These are especially good choices in historic homes, because they can take extra coats over time without sanding; an older home that doesn’t have much thickness left in the floor may require this type of finish. Because they’re nontoxic, these hardwood floor finishes are also safe for kids’ rooms.

Apply the Finish

Use a foam applicator or bristle brush to cut in the finish around the edges of the room first, keeping the layers thin and even. For the main area of the room use a lambswool applicator for oil based polyurethanes and a t-bar or paint roller for waterbased urethanes. Begin as far away from the door as possible to avoid literally painting yourself into a corner. Work in 5-foot swaths, and keep moving. Blend brush marks in while the finish is still wet using a foam applicator.

Let the finish dry for at least 24 hours; water-based polyurethane dries a bit quicker. Then check the floor. If the finish has raised the grain of the wood so that it’s no longer smooth to the touch, sand the floor lightly once again before your second coat. Make sure to dust mop and remove all dust before applying the second coat.

After you apply your second coat of finish, let the floor dry for anywhere from one to seven days.

Screening and Recoating

Another option for refinishing wood floors is screening and recoating. This simpler process can save homeowners time and money, but it’s not appropriate for all floors. Floors that have been waxed or pre-finished floors coated with aluminum oxide coating really can’t be recoated.

Think of recoating as a type of regular maintenance for a hardwood floor rather than a real refinishing. Screening and recoating involves removing the old coat by abrading it with a floor buffer instead of doing a full sanding, and then adding a new layer of water-based polyurethane. This process, while not a full refinish, can keep floors looking clean and fresh without taking off too much of the top layer of wood. Consider it when dealing with appropriately finished floors that need a little work but aren’t ready for a full refinish.

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How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Related Articles

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Whether you’ve been admiring your old wood floor for years or you just discovered it hidden under some old carpeting, refinishing it can be a feast for the senses. Hardwoods were abundant in the early 20th century, so the quality of wood in an old floor is usually high. Moreover, 100 years of wear adds to the charm. You must be on guard for signs of oversanding, however, to avoid ruining the floor.

Inspecting the Floor

A careful visual inspection of the floor can save you a lot of trouble if it reveals that the floor isn’t worth refinishing. Thin or cracked edges of flooring boards is an indication that the floor has been oversanded. The tops of the grooves have worn thin and will break if you sand them again. If the floor has been hidden under carpeting, it may be because the boards are curled or that a significant number are broken; you may have to sand off the carpet adhesive to get a reliable evaluation. Moreover, a number of boards may be discolored because of water damage or sunlight.

Making Repairs

There is a reliable procedure for correcting almost any defect in a wood floor. If one floorboard is damaged, you can cut or chisel it out and replace it. Board replacement can become a significant issue if many are damaged, however, and the appearance of the floor will change, even if you restain it. If the floorboards are cupped, you can flatten them by sanding diagonally with a drum sander. That’s the same procedure you may need to remove adhesive if the hardwood was covered by another kind of flooring. Wood discoloration calls for bleaching. You can do that only after you’ve sanded off the finish.

Filling and Sanding

One hundred years of humidity fluctuations can create such extensive, wide gaps between the boards that filling them can greatly alter the floor’s appearance. If you choose to fill, it’s best to spread thinned latex filler over the whole floor. In some cases you may have no choice but to sand with a belt sander, but if possible, use an orbital flooring sander instead. Its action is gentler, and although it takes longer to sand off stubborn finishes, it does so with less danger of damage. You can reduce the amount you have to use it by stripping the finish with a chemical stripper before you sand.


The wood in vintage floors can be harder than in contemporary ones because there is more chance it was obtained from old-growth trees and that the boards are quartersawn. Consequently, the floor might benefit more from a penetrating oil finish than from polyurethane. Polyurethane is a plastic that remains on the surface, and its film-like appearance can detract from an older floor. Oil, on the other hand, protects the wood from within and leaves the surface looking more natural. You can spread oil with a rag, but if you choose polyurethane, you’ll need a foam finish applicator to spread it evenly.


You don’t have to sand your old floor to restore the finish. If an inspection reveals that sanding will damage it, you can scuff up the old finish with a buffer and a sanding screen and spread a new finish on top of the old one. If you don’t have access to a floor buffer, you can scuff up the old finish with a liquid etching product. This type of restoration is only appropriate if the floor doesn’t need major repairs.

  • Quasius Equipment, Inc.: How to Refinish Hardwood Floors
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Chris Deziel has a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.

Your hardwood floors don’t have the same luster that they used to… and while they don’t need to be completely sanded down yet, they’ve certainly lost some shine.

With a day of work and a small budget, you can take the DIY route and bring those floors back to life without sanding them down at all.

Below are three great ways to upkeep your beautiful hardwood floors in between a professional sanding and refinishing job. However, these methods can be labor-intensive, and most people will choose to trust local hardwood floor professionals with this kind of work to ensure that it is done correctly. If you are of the DIY set, this is what you need to know to reinvigorate your floors on your own.

Buy a DIY Hardwood Floor Refinishing Kit

These can be pretty in-depth, so you definitely need the entire day to get this done. That being said, it’s only about $40 to around $120 depending on the kit and grade you buy.

Clear the room of any furniture so you have a completely clean slate to work with. In your kit, you’ll find liquid sander, but don’t worry; while it is abrasive, it is not the same thing as true sandpaper.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Clean the floor thoroughly, then apply the liquid sander to the floor and evenly spread it. Don’t leave this on for too long. After evenly coating your floor, use a damp sponge mop with dishwashing detergent to clean it up.

Quickly apply the new finish while the floor is still prepared. The wood grain will be more accepting of the new finish at this point. Make sure to spread it out evenly and avoid leaving any drips behind.

Buff and Recoat

You can buff using what’s called a chemical abrasion kit. It works similarly to the liquid sander that you find in a hardwood floor refinishing kit, but it works slightly differently. You’ll need a buffer for this project, so rent one in advance and move all of your furniture out of the room you want to refinish. Buffer rentals can be pricey, so do your homework to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Use a wood cleaner to thoroughly scour the surface area of your entire floor. While cleaning your hardwood floor, identify main problem areas, such as dark spots or scratches. Directly after cleaning, it is time to buff! Set the buffer on in the middle of the room, and once the necessary sheet is attached to it, begin buffing. If you’ve never used a floor buffer before, this video will help you get started:

You’ll want to wear a mask during this to reduce particle inhalation.

Once you’re done buffing and you inspect the floor to make sure it looks good, clean up all the dust. It’s wise to wipe down nearby walls and surfaces as well because buffing dust will get absolutely everywhere. After it’s cleaned up properly, spread your floor finish and even it out.


Revitalizers are the fastest method on this list, and they’re arguably the most DIY-friendly with the least amount of cost required. There are many different Revitalizers out there, and each one will have it’s own instructions, but for the most part, they simply need to be applied to freshly cleaned hardwood floors to work properly.

Purchase either a squeegee or applicator wand, clean the floor with a dry microfiber rag, then with a mop to get up any stubborn, stuck-on messes that can’t be removed with the dry cloth.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Once that’s done, spread the revitalizer. The hardest part is making sure the coat spreads nice and even. Consider opening a window as it has some fumes, and once everything is done, let it dry. The drying period takes a minimum of twenty-four hours, although it may take longer depending on the specific chemical you purchase.

Know When To Call A Professional

If you don’t have the time to apply the methods above, or you believe the flooring is beyond surface-level revitalization, professional refinishing is still an option. Contact us today , or call (215) 515-7355 and ask for Steve. DIY is a great way to learn more about your home, and we hope this guide was helpful to the handy people out there with a passion for high quality – just like us!

Have you ever wanted to “de-orange” your dated, wooden cabinets or furniture? Welcome to my step-by-step tutorial where I will teach you how to create a weathered wood finish WITHOUT sanding OR staining! Ready to learn how?

I don’t know about you, but the thought of stripping the varnish and stain from wood to get down to raw wood, then re-staining and sealing sounds like a lot of work. And it is. There is a lot of room for error as well. But, refinishing something you already own or have found affordably second hand is typically a better option than buying something brand new in a stain or finish you prefer. Follow the tutorial below to learn how to achieve a weathered wood finish with NO sanding and NO staining required! This is probably the simplest way to get that light, natural Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware wood finish over an existing surface. You can get this weathered wood look over paint, stain, or varnish.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Here is the dated, orange vanity wood before.

STEP 1: Clean the surface

As far as prep work goes, all that is required is to clean the surface of the wood before applying the chalk style paint.

STEP 2: Chalk paint

I used my favorite chalk paint additive to create a custom chalk style paint.

I used painters Frog tape to tape off the borders of the vanity against the wall, floor and countertop. Next, begin painting. The chalk style paint is thicker and has more texture than typical interior latex paint. Brush strokes are visible when the paint is wet on the first coat. After the first coat has dried (dry time is much quicker than typical latex paint), I painted a second coat. After the second coat, my brush strokes disappeared and I got opaque coverage.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

STEP 3: Antiquing Wax- the key to the weathered wood finish

I wrote about this product in other posts outlining how I refinished my dining room table with Liming and Antiquing Wax (see the HUGE transformation here!) and my vintage bar cart. The Antiquing Wax works so well over chalk paint and in my opinion can mimic a real wood finish over a painted surface.

To use this product, be aware that a little goes a long way. Using a chip brush, get a small amount of wax on the bristles of your brush and work it into the surface using long strokes. It dries in a minute or two, so it’s important to work in small sections. Work it in with the brush until you have a look and texture you like. I sometimes do a second coat in places once the first coat is fully dried.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

After being busy with the hardwood floor installation, now finally that you’ve made it, sweeping all worries related to flooring must be what you’re thinking to do.

However, all your hard work might go to vain just because you forgot to dwell on applying a suitable finish to it. One of the best options here that plays a shielding role for your wooden floor is polyurethane finish. Today we will be focusing mainly on one variety.

It’s about how to apply oil based polyurethane to wood floors that look smooth and almost professional. Keep on Reading!

The Right Way to Applying Oil Based Polyurethane on Wood Floors without Bubbles

Since you are onto the matter of application, I’m assuming you’ve already thought and selected some top rated polyurethane for hardwood floor. If you have not, then make sure you’re not taking the selection part lightly.

After that, we are good to go with this guide on how to apply oil based polyurethane on wood floors. From what applicators you’ll need to the necessary skills, I’m about to break down everything in depth, so there’s nothing to worry on.

Sort Out the Preparation Phase

There are a few things you need to sort out prior to this application for that professional like end result. First of all, never shake the material if you want to apply polyurethane to wood floors without bubbles. Instead of that, simply stir it.

That will help in avoiding bubbles and uneven application risks. You also need the indoor temperature to be normal. So that the curing process is done without any disturbance of temperature.

The area should also be well ventilated for you to apply without a problem. However, you don’t want any open doors or windows. Because that might let the outdoor dust get inside and stuck with the drying floor. You can’t open the doors nor windows for that day at least.

Sand the Floor

The best start strategy requires you to sand your floor before applying any new layer. Even if there’s no finish on the floor, you should sand it. Through a nice sanding process, you will have better chances of smoother application.

Also, there must be dust and other small stuffs that are still sitting over the floor but you cannot notice. Through sanding, you will be able to ditch those stuff as well as any sort of irregularity. Not to mention, sanding will make the oil-based polyurethane stick much better.

Once you finish with sanding, use a clean cloth to wipe the floor well. There shall be no particles left at all when you start the application process.

Application Phase

Experts suggest applying polyurethane to floors with lambswool applicator or roller for a clean and even result. You need to load the applicator with enough material first. And then follow the grain for brushing. You also need to back brush the material.

To do so simply move tool from wet edge to the finish. Make sure you are not using any sort of stabbing motion here. Instead, always try to be nice and gentle with the application motion. And that way there will be no marks left.

The chances of absolutely ignoring marks on the floor are quite less. In this case, you may wonder what is the best way to apply oil based polyurethane that will limit these ugly marks as much as possible.

Well, with continuous motion, you will be able to achieve such results in a significant way. Usually, the areas where brush lands and lifts from are more likely to catch these marks. A good strategy here is to brush in a slower but continuous stroke. So that the mark amount can be limited or at least it becomes less noticeable. It’s also very important that you avoid getting drips. Or else you’ll need to spend time removing those.

Another factor you need to ensure is not using excessive polyurethane. You must wipe off excess against the can’s rim. And this way you will only get meaningful amount onto the applicator.

The Second Coat Rule

One awful mistake that people tend to do with oil based polyurethane applications is not waiting until first coat dry and instantly go for the next one. Don’t brush over areas that have started to dry. Before you go for second coating, make sure you wait for the instructed time.

Also, this may seem a bit counter-intuitive to some, but here’s the thing. To achieve a perfect result, you should sand the floor once again. Of course, you don’t want the previous seal to come off.

But a careful sanding with a 400 grit will eventually help the second layer to stick much better. And also, you can’t use a similar extent that was used during the first sanding. It should be gradual and more gently.

You can apply second layer of coat after that in the same manner. If you go for additional layers, then follow the same procedure. Just make sure you don’t sand floor after applying the very last layer. Since there will be nothing to go on top of it. So, it does not need any sanding to make another layer stick better.

Make the Layer Dry Quicker

It’s strictly recommended waiting for the necessary drying period. However, you can still do some extra things to make the drying process a tad bit faster. When someone asks me, how do you apply oil based polyurethane to hardwood floors that won’t be very time consuming and effort demanding, I tend to give them these drying tips. Because this is the only area where you can maybe loosen up a bit.

The first tip is about just right amount of ventilation and nothing more. A fan can help as well. However, never try bringing a temporary heater in the scene. A spot heater will eat up your chances of getting an even result.

Wrap Up

Learning how to apply oil based polyurethane to wood floors is not dramatically hard but definitely something you want to know wholly on.

It’s slightly different to the process of how to apply water based polyurethane to wood floors. But those slight differences are the key to get better results eventually and avoid mishaps. The importance of careful selection and a prepared starting is definitely way more effective for a satisfying result.

So, to achieve glory of owning a fine-looking wooden floor, you should take heart into the matter of learning proper processes of improvement and maintenance. Wish You Luck for That!

October 14, 2019 By Woodcarver Leave a Comment

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Its dreadful, this time of year. Being as hot as it is, and the amount of house chores to accomplish before the next set of seasons is enough to make you rethink home-ownership. In the famous words of someone, somewhere:

“What comes easy won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy.”

The same is true for accomplishing the more difficult house-hold projects, but doing hard work first is a load off later. I’d like to think I’m the first to say that.

Namely, stripping or re-staining wood outside your home is an annual if not quarterly project itself. Including but not limited to wooden decks, fences, furniture, etc. The process is strenuous, of course, but what if the effects arrive long after you have finished the project?

Wood dust, which is produced through all stages of wood processing including sanding, is a carcinogen to humans. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), wood dust causes cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses (areas in and around nasal cavity) and of the nasopharynx (upper throat region). You can read more about their findings here. One way to prevent exposure, according to Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, is to completely reduce the re-entry of wood dust into the air through alternative methods.

As shocking as this might be, or perhaps not for those who are already familiar, there are still ways around this. I will explain how to remove stain from wood without sanding.

How To Remove Stain From Wood Without Sanding

The process for this is not all that different from how you would regularly strip a wood stain, give or take a couple variations. Regardless, this method is helps prevent wood dust exposure and re-entry into the air.

Items you’ll need:

  • Miniwax furniture refinisher
  • Steel wool
  • Gloves
  • Rag/Cloth
  • Spray bottle for water

Step 1: Use stain stripping solution

There are a number of chemical stripping solutions that would suffice for the job (such as mixed solutions and powder mix), so for the sake of this tutorial a premixed chemical solution will work perfectly. Pour a comfortable amount of the product directly onto the wood, then use a paint brush to evenly spread the substance over the entire portion of the wood you are wanting to strip.

The thing about paste stripping solutions are once you put it on you’ll need to leave it alone. The key to getting it to work affectively is leaving it on there at least 15 – 20 minutes to let it marinate into the wood.

Paste solution works relatively quickly, so something you might see during your application process is the solution already beginning to take affect. This will be apparent in the dry areas. What you want to do with those areas that are drying quickly is put a bit more stripper in those areas without scratching it. The goal is basically to just re-wet those dry regions.

Step 2: Scrape off the stripper

By this step, you’ll be able to see the entire area is pretty much all gone as far as the finish goes. However, it is still on the surface.

Now, grab a scraper to remove it all off the surface. Make sure that your scraper has a dull edge, it’s not ideal to use one with sharp corners on it because the wood, at this stage, is softened a little and any sharp objects could gouge the wood relatively easily.

Just glide your dull scraper over the wood to remove all the dried up solution/finish mixture.

Step 3: Use steel wool to reapply stripper

This step requires a medium coarse or a coarse steel wool. Reapply a little bit of the paste stripper solution and evenly distribute the paste onto the wood.

Technically, you can go cross grain with the steel wool, but I recommend going with the grain at every opportunity. This is more of a precautionary measure to avoid scratch marks because if you go cross grain too often, then you’ll eventually see those marks.

Steel wool is prone to clogging with stripping chemicals. All the stain, finish, and residue builds up, so if you apply more stripper then use a fresh side of the steel wool that isn’t clogged.

Step 4: Neutralize the stripper

There’s several methods to accomplishing this which involve either the steel wool, saw dust, a rag, or water and a rag. Since we are avoiding saw dust completely for this tutorial, a rag and water will work.

Spray water onto the rag and rub it over the wood in order to remove the excess stripper residue. After you’re finished doing this you can then use more steel wool to give it a good once over to make sure your wood is completely de-stained.

Now your wood is as good as new!

Concluding thoughts

Pesky tasks that are necessary to maintain aesthetics shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. Learning how to remove stain from wood without sanding is an essential part to preventing health risks. Follow our guides to help keep you safe from exposure.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Hazy Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors are supposed to have a beauty and radiance that bring out the best in any living space. They’re also long-lasting, easy to clean and maintain, and resistant to stains and spills. However, everything about this floor is perfect until you start seeing haze on the surface. Nobody likes cloudy, hazy hardwood floors that look dull. You might ask yourself why this is happening and how you can remove the haze from the floor. Well, don’t despair. Read on to learn how to restore the shininess and aesthetic of your floor.

What Do Hazy Hardwood Floors Look Like?

Like the photo above this article, your glimmering and remarkable hardwood flooring can become hazy over time. In other words, the floor may have a milky, whitish, and cloudy substance on top of the surface even after cleaning, making the wood floors look dull. Using cleaning products that leave residues behind is the main reason behind hazy floors, but let’s look at other contributing factors.

Why Do Hardwood Floors Get Cloudy?

Identifying the root causes of the haze can help you take appropriate care to remove the film and restore your floor. Here are some reasons why hardwood floors get hazy:

Harmful cleaning agents: With the market flooded with all types of wood cleaning products, it’s no surprise that substandard cleaners are the main culprit of haze on your floors. There are lots of bad cleaners advertised on the radio, TV, and social media. If a cleaner has paste wax, furniture polish, or oil soaps in it, it will leave a hazy, sticky buildup on the floor. Before using any product, spray it on the window or mirror and wipe it off. If it doesn’t leave behind streaks or signs of residue, you’re good to go.

Note: Even the right product can cause hazy floors if used in excess. Less is more when cleaning a hardwood floor. If you are looking for the right product, look no further than Dave’s Citrus Floor Cleaner.

Moisture issues: Water doesn’t mix well with hardwood. The salt deposits and minerals in water can react with the floor finish and leave a cloudy appearance with uneven sheen.

Wax buildup : Waxing floors that don’t need waxing, such as floors with a polyurethane finish, will cause a reaction with the finish, which creates a cloudy look.

Incorrect application of finish: If a finish is applied over a stain or the previous coat did not fully dry before application, the solvent vapors trapped beneath it will create a dull look.

Tips To Prevent Hardwood Flooring From Getting Hazy

If your hardwood isn’t properly maintained, chances are the floor won’t last long, and over time, its gleaming finish will be ruined, causing a cloudy look. Here are some crucial tips to observe and prevent hardwood floors from getting hazy:

  • Cleaning, dust-mopping and sweeping will help get rid of large particles of debris and dirt that can ruin your floor
  • If you’re damp-cleaning, use pH neutral cleaners that are gentled on the hardwood floor but tough on stains
  • Use a fine spray mist to clean sections to avoid putting too much water or liquid on the wood floor
  • Use a microfiber mop as it absorbs excess liquid while cleaning

What Can Be Done To Restore Hazy Floors?

To rid the cloudy hardwood floor look, you need to dissolve and remove the built-up layer by following these tips.

Ammonia Solution

Ammonia is a powerful cleaner for sticky stains, black spots, and scuff marks on the floor. You can use one cup of ammonia dissolved in a gallon of water to clear up the haze buildup. Simply dampen your mop, gently rub the affected floor area, rinse thoroughly to remove ammonia residue, and pat dry with a cloth to remove excess water.

White vinegar is a non-toxic, natural product that can deodorize, clean, and disinfect hard surfaces. It is mildly acidic and can dissolve hardened residue, including hard water stains and grease. Mix a one-to-one ratio of water and vinegar, dampen a cloth, and rub off the hazy buildups. Rinse with another cloth dampened with clear water and dry the floor immediately with a third rag.

Remove The Existing Finish

Washing coupled with wear and tear can eventually make the hardwood floor look old and cloudy. Floor sanding and refinishing is an excellent way of giving your surface a new look. To achieve the best results, hire a professional to remove the existing finish and rejuvenate the floor with new wood polish and other restoration products.

Hazy flooring? We have a long-lasting solution!

Is your formerly gorgeous and gleaming hardwood floor looking hazy? Don’t worry; Dave’s Floor Sanding and Installing Inc. of Minnesota is here to help. We’re experts in refinishing and restoring hardwood floors to repair and prevent the annoying white milky look. We use specially designed non-residue products to clean and protect your floors from dulling.

Call us today at 763-784-3000 or contact us online if you have any questions or if you would like us to help clean, protect and restore your hardwood floor!

Yes. When you want to stain or change the color of your hardwood floors, you MUST fully sand and refinish the floors. If you don’t sand the floors first, the stain won’t properly penetrate the hardwood nor will the polyurethane properly adhere.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

This is the ONLY way to change the color of your hardwood floors. If you attempt to add stain on top of floor without sanding it, expect it to peel off. The floors need to be sanded 3 times, with finer and finer grits, so that all polyurethane and all stain is removed. You must be starting with fresh (or raw) hardwood floors. This process opens up the pores so that the stain will penetrate…and penetrate evenly.

The sanding process will also remove all oils and waxes on your floor (including residual waxes from cleaning products, oils from your feet, etc.). All of these items will also prevent both stain and poly from properly penetrating as they clog up the pores.

This article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

Do I need to sand hardwood before applying polyurethane?

How to finish hardwood floors without sandingMany people wonder if there is a simpler (and less expensive) way to refinish the floors. And, the answer is yes…sometimes…it depends. If your floors are in good condition, you have the option to do a screen and recoat .

A screen and recoat is when you buff the floors and add a coat of polyurethane. Note that you can’t just add the poly on top…you need to do a light screening (or buffing) on the floors). Some people call buffing a light sanding, but technically it is just scuffing up the top layer of polyurethane (in the same way you might buff your finger nails).

This buffing both cleans the surface and allow the polyurethane to stick on better. Without it, the polyurethane will not adhere properly.

A screen and recoat is really a preventative maintenance step and is not meant for floors that are really beat up. The polyurethane will not change the color. So, if you have scratched through the color or if you have sections of the floor where the poly has worn off (and you can see gray or black sections), it’s too late. You will still have those gray and/or black scratches after the screen and recoat.

And, importantly, if you have ever waxed the floors, or used cleaners that have waxes or oils in there, a screen and recoat won’t work as the poly won’t adhere. If you’ve ever used a product that promises to add shine or restore the sheen in your floors, then you’ve used one of these products and you will need to do a full sanding if you want to improve your floors. A screening just won’t work in these circumstances. (By the way, the cleaner I always recommend for hardwood is Bona and you can buy it here .

Do you need to buff between coats of polyurethane?

How to finish hardwood floors without sandingBuffing smooths the poly out, and roughs it up a bit so that the next layer of polyurethane will adhere better. Buffing also eliminates (or at least camouflages) sanding flaws such as brush strokes, bubbles, rough spots. It’s especially important with water borne polyurethane as it’s a bit thinner.

Water borne polyurethane is more challenging to apply, especially for Do-it-yourselfers, handymen and less experienced refinishers as it’s less forgiving. If you are planning to use water based poly, it’s even more important to hire a professional.

Usually, you would buff between the 1st and 2nd coat of poly and 2nd and 3rd coats.

Screen and recoat video

This video from Ken Fisher shows you how to do a screen and recoat. This is what you would do if you are doing a simple screening to maintain and protect your hardwood floors. It can also be used when you are buffing the floors between coats of poly.

Final thoughts

Determine the condition of your floors first and your objective before you choose your method. Many people search for short cuts and ways to save money, but sometimes this is a big mistake. If you want to change the color of your floors, you need a full sand and refinish. If you are happy with the color of your hardwood and they are in good condition, a screen and recoat is a great option to maintain and protect your floors. But be honest with yourself (and your floors); if they are too worn down, a screen and recoat will not do much for you. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. It will only slightly improve the look of your floors and won’t last that long.

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We have some beautiful oak flooring beneath the old carpet in our house, but there are a few stains. Is there a way to remove those without sanding the whole floor? -Ralph

Stains in wood floors that have gone through the finish and soaked into the wood itself can be difficult to remove and may require sanding and refinishing. If the stain has penetrated too deeply, even sanding may not remove it entirely.

How to remove stains from a hardwood floor

Before resorting to sanding, however, start by trying to remove stains from wood floors using standard hydrogen peroxide available at drug stores. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Soak a cotton rag with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Place the wet rag on the stain and allow it to soak in the wood to bleach out the stain.
  • Remove the rag, and wipe up any excess hydrogen peroxide.
  • Allow the floor to dry.

Another option is to try using a rejuvenator type wood floor cleaner on the stain. Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

  • Oil Stains on Hardwood Floors (article)
  • Problems Sanding and Refinishing Wood Floors (article)
  • How to Refinish Wood Floors (video/article)


Ralph asks: We have some beautiful oak flooring beneath the old carpet in our house, but there are a few stains. Is there a way to remove those without sanding the whole floor?

Danny Lipford: Unfortunately, if you have some really deep stains in your hardwood floor, it will have to be sanded and refinished in order to get rid of those stains. Even then, some of the real deep stains are really hard to get rid of. Here’s a little trick that’ll help you a lot on that. Basically, take a cotton rag, take hydrogen peroxide, soak it down well, put it over the stain, and allow the hydrogen peroxide to pull a lot of that stain out.

Another thing you want to try before you go through the expense of the sanding and refinishing of your hardwood floor, try some of the new cleaners that are available now, that are called rejuvenators. That’ll thoroughly clean the surface of your hardwood and actually dissolves a little of the finish to give it a nice, consistent look. You may be able to save money instead of having to completely refinish the floor.

There are 3 main methods to easily fix dents on a hardwood floor: abrasion: using a fine steel wool pad that will gently remove the scratches without damaging the hardwood floor; wood fillers/ putty: if you need to fix gouges; the third method is using water.

Hardwood flooring is known for being more durable and longer-lasting than softwood floors or laminates. However, if you’re not careful and drop a heavy object or move the furniture recklessly, you’ll get dents on your hardwood floor.

Even the sturdiest hardwood floor will get dents. Accidents can happen, and gouges or scratches can appear – especially if there are children or pets at home or when you have to move heavy furniture, or if you’re wearing high heels on a daily basis. No one is to blame here. Just so you know that even in 2022, dents in wood floors are normal.

They are annoying, though, ruining the aesthetics of the hardwood floor, sometimes even undermining the integrity of the whole floor.

Luckily, you can fix hardwood floor dents easily, and here’s a 2022 guide on how to do it. These tips and tricks also apply to engineered wood flooring.

Before Fixing Dents in Hardwood Floors – Assess the Problem

However tough your hardwood floor, you might be surprised how easily dents can occur. Even a bounced baseball or a dropped plate can cause them.

A dent is not the same as a scratch. Scratches happen all the time, even when we don’t see them. For example, your dog’s or cat’s nails on the floor produce scratches. A dent, however, occurs when a heavy object is shoved or dropped on the floor in such a way that it removes a piece of the hardwood material.

So, first, you need to determine if you have a dented wood floor or if you’re dealing with just a few minor scratches. Next, establish how deep the scratches or grooves are and what might have caused them.

If just the uppermost layer of the finish is damaged, then you’re in luck. You’re dealing with a few ugly scratches or dents, and no hardwood material is missing.

Heat and moisture are essential here and can help remove them quickly. To begin with, ensure that the dent is clean and there are no pieces of wood or even splinters missing from your prefinished floor. If there aren’t, go ahead and place a dampened towel over the offending dent.

Then place a steamer on top of this. The wood underneath should, slowly but surely, start rising. Keep dabbing at the wood with the hot steamer until it’s back to the original level and looking as good as new.

Somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes is usually enough to remove dents in the wood. If the cut is too deep to fix this way, you may need to replace the board with a new one.

How to Get Dents out of Hardwood Floors: 3 Main Methods


A hardwood floor dent that did not go all the way through the finish can be mechanically abraded. Subsequently, you can recoat the area. It is mostly the same process as polishing your car to get all the scratches out.

Use a fine steel wool pad that will gently remove the scratches without damaging the hardwood floor. If you’re planning on adding a water-based finish afterwards, then you might want to consider a different kind of pad. The steel wool usually leaves some powder behind that will not interact well with the water-based finish.

If we’re talking scratches and not a severe dent in a hardwood floor, then a touch-up stick with the right colour might do the job nicely.

How to fix gouges in hardwood floors – wood fillers/ putty

Gouges are more severe than dents. Here, the wood fibres are broken or frayed. A gouge is a terrible sight, making even the best hardwood floor look old and unloved.

To fix a gouge, you will need to fill the offending wound in. Then, go to your local DIY store and pick up some wood filler. The trick here is to find a product that matches the colour of your floor.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

Slowly apply the filler to the gouge and then leave to dry. Once dry, you can sand over the patch. For dents in a hardwood floor, you might even want to try filling in the scar with a brown crayon and then wiping away any excess wax.

Fix dents in a Hardwood Floor with Water

Slowly, you want to add just the right amount of water to the dent. A pipette or even the head of a matchstick can help you transfer water into the cut.

Don’t be alarmed if the varnish or other finish starts turning blue. This is known as “blushing” and doesn’t harm the integrity of the finish.

Dab away any excess water with a dry cloth and then put a damp folded cloth over the water-filled dent. Press a hot iron onto the fabric. When the material is dry, remove the heat and check the dent.

If the dent is still there, repeat the process. Eventually, the moisture from the cloth will penetrate the fibres of your finished wood, bringing it back to its original shape.

The Last Frontier to Fixing Hardwood Floor Dents

When dents in a hardwood floor can prove too much, you might need to replace the wood boards. If the damage is restricted to one or two of these boards, all the better.

However, when recoating, the difference in sheen levels from the new and old areas will be visible. This is because the “new” wood boards will stand out from the rest.

How to finish hardwood floors without sanding

To fix a dented wood floor often results from high heel use. We recommend you clean the whole area and recoat it entirely.

For more advice on a hardwood floor dent repair or replacing, get in touch with us at ESB Flooring today.

Also for the highest-quality solid wood flooring in the market, you may browse through ESB flooring’s website or visit our largest wood flooring showroom in London.