Expert AdviceFlooring

Refinishing Hardwood Flooring

Q: I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands. I have a living room that has hardwood floors. I have lived in the house over 30 years and the floors have been kept

clean and waxed but they really need a refinish job done. I would like to attempt it but I don’t know where to start and what to do.

A: You can buy books and even video tapes explaining how to refinish hardwood from home improvement stores and the internet (I found several by typing “Refinish Hardwood” into the Excite search box). However, I don’t recommend it. Even though I install new hardwood for a living, I’d still hire a refinishing specialist with the expertise that comes from working with hundreds of different hardwood jobs.

Refinishing deals with many variables including old wood, using old and new chemicals (and knowing how to rectify unforeseen reactions), and applying the proper pressure and techniques when using a heavy, sanding machine that could permanently damage the wood.

I recommend doing your homework before deciding whether to tackle it yourself:

1. Add up the costs of buying and renting all the products, materials, tools, and special heavy equipment you will need (including protection for your eyes, ears and lungs).

2. Contact two or three pros to see how much they would charge to do the job (or maybe find out how much he or she would charge to do just the drum sanding, which is the most difficult and potentially dangerous and damaging step).

3. Finally, consider much it would bother you each time you walk into the room if the finished project doesn’t turn out well. If you’re a perfectionist who would feel compelled to have it redone (now or in the future when you put the house up for sale) having it professionally refinished the first time is usually the most economical way to go.

To find a reputable hardwood floor refinishing service to talk to, please visit our site at:, and let us match you with the ideal service professional in your area to talk to before making your decision.

Good luck!

This information is brought to you by Dwight Bowers of

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