How to Change the Color of Hardwood Floors

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Just like any floor, your wood floor needs a makeover after so many years. The wood may become dull and scratched or you may just want to go with a new color scheme. Whatever the reason for changing the color of your floor, make sure you have plenty of time to finish the job; refinishing a hardwood floor can take a large amount of time and effort. Having the knowledge to complete the job on your own, however, can keep you in charge of the job as well as save you some money.

Things You'll Need

  • Drum sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic bags
  • Crowbar
  • Vacuum
  • Clear the room of all furniture and rugs. Even the curtains should be cleared out of the room in case they fall on your newly refinished floor. Use your crowbar to remove any shoe boarding around the room. The shoe boarding is not the baseboard, but rather a thin piece of wood that should line each of your walls to hide any uneven ends of the hardwood flooring.

  • Use masking tape to block off light switches, vents and electrical outlets. Use plastic bags to cover any light fixture in the room and secure the bag using tape as well. Block off the room you are refinishing from the rest of the house. Vacuum or sweep the floor in order to remove all stray debris.

  • Use your drum sander for the first wave of sanding. Sand the floor until you are able to clearly see the grain again. Use a coarse grip sandpaper, approximately 20 to 60 grit (the lower the number the coarser the sandpaper). Pass over the floor several times, then vacuum and change your sandpaper to a finer grit. Repeat this process until the floor has been completely sanded with grit as fine as 120. Wipe down the floor with a dry cloth.

  • Apply new stain to your floor following the stain manufacturer's instructions. Stain application will be different for each brand you choose, but you must let the stain fully dry before walking across the floor or returning any furniture to the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seek professional help with your floor refinishing if the wood is below 3/4 inch thick.
  • Always wear the proper gear when handling an electric sander, including goggles and a dust mask.
  • Open a window during the sanding process to let some air in. You want to seal your workroom from every other section of the house, but you still need some air while you work.
  • If the floor you are refinishing flows into the closet, remove everything from the closet.
  • Do not attempt to refinish your floor if the wood is 1/2 inch thick or less. The wood is too thin and you will need to leave the wood alone or replace it.

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