How to Finish Hardwood Floors without Sanding (with Pictures)

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Last update on 2022-06-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Can You Restain Hardwood Floors Without Sanding Them?

You can restain hardwood floors without sanding them. To do this, you will want to scuff up the surface using brass wool and then apply a coat of the new hardwood stain. Do this evenly and it will settle nicely.

Remember, this is going to take a bit of time and you will have to be meticulous too.

This is the only way to get the stain to settle and look good. Otherwise, it’s common for hardwood stains to not settle well and then become uneven.

A bit of patience here will go a long way and you won’t have to take out the sander.

How Much Paint Is Needed For Your Wood Floors?

The amount of paint that you will need will depend on 3 factors: The thickness of the paint: If you are using oil-b

The thickness of the paint: If you are using oil-based paint, you will need a larger quantity than a thinner water-based paint. The thicker the paint, the more is needed but on a positive note, you won’t need as many coats of it so it can even out in the end.

The area of the floor: If you have large rooms, the simple truth is that you will need more paint to cover them sufficiently. As a general idea, you’ll need about a gallon to cover around 350 square feet for your painted wood floors so keep that in mind.

The number of coats: If you need to apply two coats, then you will need to double the amount of wood paint. If you want a third coat for some reason, then times the initial amount by three and so on.

PRO TIP #6 If you buy a high-quality paint, this can eliminate the need for a potential third coat, thus saving you money in the long run. Ask your local hardware store clerk to point out their “premium” floorboard paint and run the math. If you are unsure, just ask if it will remove the need for a second coat and they should be able to advise you.

How Do I Make My Hardwood Floors Look New Without Sanding?

  • A chemical abrasion kit can be bought at your local drugstore.
  • Using polyurethane should be applied to floors in Buffing and Reconditioning.
  • Let the air conditioner revitalize.
  • Some Popular Paint Colors and Styles For Wood Floors

    While the color choice is completely up to you, check out this Pinterest board on wood painted floors for some ideas. It’s important that the paint color of your wood floors match your various interior design elements. While it is possible to start over, that won’t be necessary if you spend some time doing some research beforehand. This can actually be rather fun, especially if you do it with your significant other or a friend.

    If you have a dark wooden floor and want to keep the natural wood look, get a paint that matches the same color to make them look brand new.If you are feeling creative, you can add checkered designs and other patterns on your top coat of paint.If you use vertical stripes, it can a kitchen, bedroom or even a bathroom look longer.You can also use different colors to draw attention to specific elements in the room (such as furniture).Diamond shapes can even make a room look larger than it actually is. The sky is the limit.

    How Long Do Painted Floors Last?

    Painting tile the same surfaces properly with a good paint and keeping it seal should result in prolonged durability. In high-traffic areas where the floor needs to be repaired or sealed repeatedly, it might make sense to do it every couple years.

    Use a Store-Bought Chemical Abrasion Kit

    You can find this DIY kit at your local hardware or home improvement store (or online). A few brands might name their product differently, but they have the same process. You use a chemical solution to prepare the flooring and etch the old finish so the new finish will bond. Then you’ll apply a new coat of finish to restore your floor. The Rust-Oleum Transformations Floor Wood and Laminate Renewal Kit ($42) is a popular option. It’s best to follow the directions on the kit to ensure you’re doing it effectively, but read below to get a breakdown of what to expect from this kit compared to your other options.

    Materials and Pros and Cons


    • Hardwood floor cleaner, mop, broom, vacuum, cleaning wipes, damp cloth, etc.
    • Painter's tape
    • Chemical abrasion kit (comes with the abrasive pad, abrasive liquid, application block, finish application pad, and finish)
    • 2 plastic garbage bags
    • 2 shoeboxes
    • 2 paint trays (if you don’t have a garbage bags and shoeboxes)
    • Scouring pads
    • Broom handle
    • Dishwashing liquid
    • Shoe covers
    • Wood stain
    • Small artist paintbrush or cotton swab
    • Paint pad or paint brush
    • Rags
    • Hairdryer


    • One kit has all the major materials for a one-stop shop
    • Doesn’t create any dust
    • Minimal fumes


    • Requires more than one person to do the job effectively
    • You only have a short amount of time to apply the finish before it starts to dry

    #1: Clean and Clear the Room

    Make sure the floor is clear of any furniture. If the tenant moved out, hopefully that’s the case. Be sure to remove any partial furnishings or fixtures you provide that would get in the way of the floor (e.g. floor-length curtains, built-in shelves, etc.). Even if the tenant left belongings behind, follow the proper procedure to clear the space of their things. Also, take the doors off the hinges. This might seem like a pain, but closet and entry doors easily get in the way and prevent you from covering every spot on the floor evenly no matter how you move around them.

    Also, clean the floor with a vacuum and damp cloth—no chemical cleaners. Ensure every surface in the room is clean from any dust and grime (window sills, blinds, curtains, and baseboards). You don’t want tiny particles to land on your floor in the wet finish and create imperfections when the finish hardens. If there’s gunk on the floor, use an abrasive sponge. Then let the floor dry after cleaning.

    Prep the space by plugging any heating ducts or vents with old towels. Close windows and turn fans (or ventilation systems) off. You want to limit the spread of dust, which means stopping air flow. Use painter’s tape to protect your baseboards. Also, close the curtains or blinds to prevent sunlight coming through—you want to avoid creating hot spots on the floor that would cause the finish to dry faster than you’d want.

    #2: Apply the Liquid Abrasive and Scrub the Floor

    Using the abrasive pad included in the kit, scrub the liquid with the grain of the floor. You will have to attach the pad to the block and then screw in your own broom handle. If you don’t have a broom handle, you can do this on your knees—just be sure to wear protective clothing you don’t mind ruining. The Family Handyman recommends pouring the chemical abrasive into a plastic-lined shallow cardboard box (i.e. slip a shoebox into a garbage bag) instead of a painter’s tray so you can easily dip the pad, catch drips, and prevent spills. When coating the pad, press it to squeeze out any excess within the box.

    Take it one small section at a time (4 ft x 4 ft) and apply a fair amount of pressure to roughen the floor’s surface. Don’t just mop—scrub firmly over each section a few times to get the most effective results. It’s important to go little by little because if the solution is left for for longer than five minutes on the floor, it can seep into the cracks between the flooring strips and damage the core beneath the laminate. As you go, wipe up any extra liquid with an old towel before starting the next area. However, the floor should not be dry (a thin film of liquid is ideal), just free of puddles.

    Though the chemical etching liquid is fairly low-odor, if you want some ventilation, open a window or turn on a fan on low in a different room. However, this process shouldn’t take too long.

    When the whole floor has been fully etched, allow it to dry for 30 minutes. In the meantime, take the abrasive pad off the block. You can throw out the pad, but rinse the block—you need this later to apply the finish.

    #3: Clean the Floor Again

    Mix two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into a gallon of warm water. Dampen mop to clean the floor and neutralize the etcher and clean up any remaining residue. Make sure the mop is only lightly damp as not to cause any water damage to the floor. Mop in small sections and clean up puddles as they form.

    Wear shoe covers to keep the floor clean and free of any dust or particles. Then wait another 30 minutes for the floor to dry.

    #4: Touch Up Deeper Scratches

    Use a tiny artist paintbrush or a cotton swab to apply some stain that matches the stain of the floor. Feather the stain out to make sure it blends in with the floor and then blot it with a rag. Dry the stain for a minute with a hair dryer and add a very thin coat of finish from the kit. Feather out the finish around the edges so there aren’t ridges you can see or feel. Then dry the patch with the hairdryer again. 

    #5: Coat the Floor in New Finish

    First, plan out how you’ll apply the finish and recruit two helpers. The last thing you want to do is get backed into a corner or not have enough hands to complete the task. Make sure all of you are wearing shoe covers.

    Put the finish applicator pad on the block and pour some finish into another plastic-lined box. This way you can get a good coating of finish on the applicator and in addition to minimizing drips. However, you don’t want to squeeze out the excess—this will create bubbles. 

    As you spread the finish on the floor, give your helper a head start coating the edges against the walls and baseboards with a paint pad and/or brush while you follow behind with the applicator. 

    Pro tip: Lightly moisten all of the tools you’re u

    Pro tip: Lightly moisten all of the tools you’re using to spread the finish so they’re more pliable. Rinse them with water and squeeze out until they’re barely damp to the touch. 

    To properly spread the new finish, work with the grain of the floor and gently pull the applicator at an angle so the excess finish continues spreading to the dry side of the floor. Have your other helper follow closely behind you to smooth out drips or puddles with a brush. You want to catch any extra finish before it dries. Evenly apply the finish in as few strokes as possible for the best results—a single steady pull should do. Keep the pad wet at all times because you don’t want the dreaded dry-brush look. Also, don’t stress about the milky and streaky color of the finish—it dries clear.

    Depending on what finish your kit has, you have five to ten minutes, and possibly less, before the finish gets tacky and impossible to smooth out. If you spot any imperfections have the finish becomes sticky, leave them be—if you try to fix them at this point, you’ll do more harm than help. This is why planning your application strategy and having your equipment ready to go is essential. However, if you do notice a drip that’s going to leave a bump, let it dry and carefully remove it later with a razor blade.

    In most cases, one coat of finish is enough to restore the finish. However, it’s a good idea to add a second coat for an extra layer to protect the underlying wood and hide the deeper scratches. Before adding a second coat, make sure you have enough finish to do another pass over the room. Note that the can should be at least half full. If not, run out to the hardware store to replenish your supplies—you have to wait a minimum of three hours before applying another coat anyway.

    #6: Let the Finish Dry

    Follow the directions on the package for best results. However, after eight hours, you should be able to walk on the floor with clean socks. You can move furniture in after 24 hours. It’s recommended to let the finish fully set for two weeks before laying down an area rug. For this reason, give yourself a full two weeks before allowing tenants to move in. You don’t want them to put down a rug and mess up your hard work.

    Is it cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

    You can almost always bet that refinishing is cheaper than replacing hardwood floors. With the latter, you’d be paying not only for the new wood but also for the labor of ripping out the old wood and toting it away.

    Tools Materials

    • Microfiber flat mop

      Microfiber flat mop

    • Floor buffer, fitted with maroon buffing pad

      Floor buffer, fitted with maroon buffing pad

    • vacuum fitted with clean filter

      vacuum fitted with clean filter

    • respirator fitted with organic vapor canisters

      respirator fitted with organic vapor canisters

    • Plastic watering can (no sprinkler head)

      Plastic watering can (no sprinkler head)

    • paint brush - 3-inch

      paint brush – 3-inch

    • Paint roller with extension

      Paint roller with extension

    Always Consult an Expert First

    When it comes to any DIY home renovation project, talk to people adept at refinishing floors. That might be the person at the hardware store, a contractor, a fellow property owner, or a friend. You know your floors best and can make the right decision for your property (as well as time, energy, and budget). Just be sure to time it right between tenants.


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