It is actually rather easy to refinish a wood floor – if you pay attention to what you are doing. To sand the floor, you need a drum sander and possibly a belt sander which can be rented at your neighborhood Home Depot or hardware store. They can help you figure out which machines you need to rent, what kind of sand paper you should buy and also can help with the type and amount of stain and finish for the floor. You might also want to get some dust masks and plastic to section the room off from the rest of the house. Fine particles of dust will get everywhere – even if you section off the room, but you may be able to minimize the impact on the rest of the house.
The most important part of refinishing your floors is learning how to control the sander. The key to running the sander is to make sure it keeps moving at all times, otherwise they are simple to use, although a bit hard on the ears. If you stop in 1 spot, you will probably get a big gouge in your floor. Equate it to using an iron on your clothes – if you stop in 1 spot too long you’ll burn a hole. The sander is similar since it creates a lot of heat, keeping it in 1 spot can burn or dent your floor.
You do need to be careful with the sander as it is self propelled. When you first start it up, make sure you hold on firmly. Don’t be afraid of the machine but make sure you maintain complete control. Relax, after a few spins, it may even start to seem like fun.
After the old finish is removed, you need to apply the stain and new finish. Think of this as the same as doing your nails – first you remove the old finish, then basecoat, color and topcoat. Sometimes you don’t want color on your nails so you skip that part. In your floor you might also skip that part (the stain) but you still want to use a finish to protect the floor.
When selecting a finish you can pick from an oil based or polyurethane (water based) finish. When selecting an oil based finish you will need to decide if you want a satin, gloss or semi gloss finish. It’s probably best for you to use satin on a hardwood floor as it will help hide any flaws in the wood and is much more pleasing then a bright shine Using oil based finish is better for wood floors as it casts a warm amber glow. Water based, on the other had dries quicker and resists yellowing.