Get step by step instructions on refinishing your home's hardwood floors. Learn how to sand and stain your hardwood floor with these tips.
LESLIE: Daniel in Kansas is about to take on a giant home improvement project. You want to refinish  the entire first floor?
LESLIE: Alright. What’s your flooring material right now?
DANIEL: It is oak.
LESLIE: OK. And you want to – what’s on it? Is it a finish? Is it a paint? Do you need to take it down to the raw surface? What’s the condition?
DANIEL: Yes. I want to take it down to the – basically, the raw wood.
TOM: OK, and why is that, Daniel? Is the material – is the floor right now just so rough that you feel that’s the only option?
DANIEL: Yeah, it’s flooring from 1929.
TOM: Oh, OK. Yeah, that is pretty old. Well, maybe that is a good option but let me kind of give you the steps here in terms of that sanding. If you want to do a light sanding, what I would recommend is that you rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen and that will just take off the upper surface of the last layer of finish. If you want to go a little bit deeper than that, you can rent a machine called a U-Sand , which is basically four six-inch disc sanders under the same sort of housing or head. It has a vacuum bag attachment so it’s sort of a neat way to do it.
And if you’ve got to go really deep, I mean really take off – we’re talking about at least an eighth-of-an-inch of wood; maybe a sixteenth but somewhere in that nature – then you need to use an official floor sander. Now I will tell you, though; that’s not the kind of tool that I would recommend that you rent because if you don’t work with it every day, it’s real easy to screw up your floor. If you just twist the wrong way, you’ll put a real deep dig in there and you won’t be able to get it out.
DANIEL: Oh, OK. And what’s the best way to apply the stain?
TOM: The best way to apply, well, stain or the urethane finish, is with something called a lamb’s wool applicator, which kind of looks like a sponge mop. Basically, it’s sort of a long wood stick with a piece of lamb’s wool wrapped around the outside edge and you use a painting tray but you put the finish or the stain in the painting tray and you dip it and sort of blot it a little bit to get the excess off and then sort of mop on the finish; of course, working your way out the door or up the stairs. And whatever it says on the can, Daniel, in terms of drying time …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Drying time.
TOM: Double it. (chuckles) Just double it.
LESLIE: Yeah, because you really do need to let it dry between coats and if you sort of apply a new coat on top of a tacky or not-quite-dry previous coat, you’ll find that somehow the two coats kind of get locked together and then it never dries.
DANIEL: Oh, OK. That’ll work. Thanks so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Daniel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.