Three Costly Mistakes To Avoid When Refinishing Your Home's Hardwood Floors

A hardwood floor refinishing project is an excellent way to give your floors a fresh look. Hardwood refinishing involves sanding down the top layer of the wood and applying a new finish. This project may seem easy, but when done incorrectly, it can generate undesirable results. Therefore, if you want to refinish your floors, watch out for these costly mistakes during the project.

Ignoring Structural Damage

Structural damage on hardwood floors refers to any damage that affects the integrity of the boards. It is usually caused by moisture infiltration into the floorboards. Below are the telltale signs to look out for: 

  • Soft or soggy floorboards
  • Cracks or gaps in the floors
  • Uneven floors
  • Popping or creaking sounds 

Refinishing does not fix structural damage—it only conceals it. Therefore, replace all the damaged floorboards before refinishing the floors. Doing this will improve the appearance of the floors and extend their lifespan.

Using the Wrong Sandpaper Grit

Sandpaper grit is a measure of the size of the abrasive particles. Coarse grit has very abrasive particles, while fine grit has finer and less abrasive particles. You must use the correct sandpaper grit to achieve results with your refinishing project. Below are the factors to consider when choosing the right sandpaper grit for your floors. 

  • The severity of surface defects: If the floors have minor imperfections, use medium grit and finish with fine grit. If the floors have deep scratches and dents, start with coarse grit and progress to finer grit to achieve a smooth surface.
  • Age and condition of the wood: Avoid using coarse grit on floors that are old and in poor condition, as the abrasive particles can damage the boards.
  • Previous refinishing projects: If you have refinished your floors several times before, avoid coarse grit, as it can weaken or damage the floorboards. 

If you are unsure of which sandpaper to pick, start with medium grit and work your way up to fine grit until you achieve a smooth surface. 

Choosing the Wrong Type of Finish

There are two types of hardwood floor finishes: water-based and oil-based products. Water-based finishes give the wood a clear, natural look, and they have no harmful fumes. However, water-based finishes are high-maintenance because they wear out fast and require frequent touch-ups. Therefore, they are not suitable for high-traffic areas of the home. 

Oil-based finishes have a warm tone that can enhance the appearance of the wood. They are durable, easy to maintain, and resistant to wear, which makes them suitable for high-traffic areas of the home. The only downside to oil-based finishes is that they produce harmful fumes. After applying the finish, you must vacate the home for a few days until the fumes dissipate.  

When done incorrectly, DIY hardwood refinishing can lead to an unpleasant outcome. Therefore, hire a flooring contractor for professional hardwood floor refinishing services.