How To Restore Hardwood Flooring?

February 23rd 2009
How To Restore Hardwood Flooring?

Hard facts on restoring stained wooden floors

Q:  I pulled up the carpet in our apartment to expose the hardwood floors for re-finishing. There is some dark staining in some areas. What would be the best way to restore the finish?

-- Scott, Vancouver

A:  To begin, make sure your floor is in good repair and make any necessary repairs before sanding. Items to address wood be badly stained wood and squeaky floor boards. Make sure all nails are set below the surface of the floor. To prepare the area, remove the baseboards. Using a pad sander and coarse sandpaper, work in the direction of the floor grain until the entire floor has been sanded down to bare wood. Now switch to a finer grade of sandpaper and make a final pass over the entire floor. Pad sanders are available through rental outlets. Once the entire floor has been sanded, including the edges, using a hand-held sander, the floor should be thoroughly vacuumed and then wiped down with a moist cloth.

There may be some stubborn spots remaining on the floor. These are usually caused by moisture that has penetrated the old surface and darkened the wood. You may be able to remove such spots by rubbing vigorously with a cloth dampened with household ammonia. If some stains have been caused by animal urine, rub with a mixture of 50 per cent white vinegar and 50 per cent water using a synthetic scrub pad.

Urethane finishes for hardwood floors are very popular, and for good reason; they provide an excellent surface with long wear and low maintenance that are both water and scratch resistant.

My preference is the alkyd-based rather than acrylic water-based. The alkyd-based urethane decreases the possibility of wood fibre rising during application. Puddle it onto the floor (about the size of a soccer ball), then apply with a lambswool pa. Strokes should be long and even, working in the direction of the wood grain.