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Remove the Upper Finish of a Wood Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Cathy in Maryland has got some beat-up floors she needs help with. What can we do for you?

    CATHY: I have hardwood floors in my kitchen and they’re 3/4-inch oak that are prefinished with a diamond finish. And it was supposed to last for 25 years, the finish, but with just kitchen use and dogs running through it and everything, it’s pretty beat-up looking. And I was wondering if that could be refinished.

    TOM: Potentially. What’s the thickness of the floor? Is it 3/4 or is it 3/8?

    CATHY: It’s 3/4-inch hardwood, oak.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Yeah, I mean I don’t see why you couldn’t. There is one other thing that you could try, though, which is short of total refinishing, and that is you could try just taking off the upper surface of the finish. You could rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen and that procedure actually takes off a little of the upper finish, smoothes out the scratches and then you could refinish from there.

    Now is this one stained or is it natural?

    CATHY: It’s stained light. The wood – it’s light oak.

    TOM: Yeah, well if it’s stained, then you may have to sand it down to raw wood.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Go all the way down.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Otherwise you’re going to get a mismatch.

    TOM: If it’s a natural finish, you’d just be basically roughing up the surface but not really going down through it completely. You might still be able to go with a floor buffer; might be worth a shot. It’s a very inexpensive thing to rent and all it does is lightly sands the upper surface of the finish and gets it ready to accept a new coat. But short of that, you would have to sand it down.

    But if it’s 3/4-inch, then I don’t see why you couldn’t refinish it the same way you’d refinish any hardwood floor.

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