In my blog dashboard it’s so interesting to look at the search words that lead people here. Wood floor refinishing without sanding, or some combo of those terms, is always near the top.
Here’s the before image of that photo above:
We recently finished redoing the remaining 50-year-old red oak floors in our house. Before we moved in all that space was covered with old carpet.
This last project included the den, hallway and a couple bedrooms with various closets. We refinished the rest earlier in three phases over the course of about a year. One room we did ourselves, the other two we hired professional help. All three sections received a different treatment or finish, and they all now look surprisingly the same.
Here are the main takeaways from all this:
- For goodness sake if you’re going to refinish your floor do it before you move in. I learned this the hard way. Whatever inconvenience or rent you might have to endure on the front end will make up for headaches that come from moving too much stuff, dusting things, waiting for the floor to dry, etc.
- Floor professionals, especially wood refinishers, have a vested interest in telling you that you need the entire finish sanded off, new quarter round applied, and so on. In many cases glue and other issues can be scraped or screened off. These remedies worked for me.
- Old varnish finishes can be recoated with modern polyurethane or wax, as long as the old finish is thoroughly cleaned and prepared. When we redid the office floor, we applied wax which looks pretty decent (although it attracts dust).
- The den, hallway and bedrooms are poly over old varnish that was screened first. The key there is to find a floor guy who won’t short you on the number of coats of sealant the floor will need. Honestly I thought about asking the guy back to apply one last coat to the bedrooms, but the rug covers so much it didn’t seem worth it. Old floors suck up the finish.
- The formal living and dining area floor is a varnish/resin finish that was applied over the old varnish. It looks best out of all the areas, probably because that floor was walked on least, and because varnish is nice looking.
- The more you know about your floor, the better your outcome. Testing to figure out old treatments, and testing anything you intend to use on the floor to guage reaction ahead of time, will help create a better outcome.