Refinishing Wood Floors: Part 1

So, you know this past weekend Ryan and I spent most of our hours hard at work on redoing our floors. Well, slowly but surely, the project is coming along nicely. We’re still working on it, but I’ll give you and update on where we are at and how we tackled this project.


First up, we had to clear all the rooms and closets. That meant a lot of going up and down the stairs to our basement, setting up a temporary bedroom in there and rendering the kitchen pretty much useless as it became our tool station. Nonetheless, once we did that, our floors were bare and ready to go.

Gross Floors

Then, the prep work. We took off all the 1/4 rounds and salvaged them, since we plan on reusing the good pieces once were done. To do this, grab a pry bar, slide in between the 1/4 round and the base board and start pulling gently along the entire edge until the whole strip is loose. done!

Remove quarter round

Let the sanding begin! There’s a million ways to do a job like this, but I’m just sharing what we did and worked for us. Ryan rented a random orbit sander from Home Depot and got to work. Room by room, he sanded the floors with 36, 60, 80 and 100 grit paper. It was dusty, messy and slow, but it got the job done.

Random Orbit Sander

Here’s what the floor looked like after the first pass.

First Pass

Meanwhile, I went around tight corners and edges with a palm sander. This was necessary for two reasons. One: the random orbit sander couldn’t reach these areas. Two: whoever refinished the floors first made a huge dip all around the edges, so you really needed a small enough tool to strip these areas.

Palm Sander

My gear: some ok-to-get-messy clothes, knee pads, ear plugs, dust mask, and safety glasses. I looked like a dust monster afterwards. Ryan even vacuumed me before I went out to get dinner.

Geared Up

Talking about vacuums, you’ll be vacuuming a lot. Everything a couple of times. We used our regular vacuum and a shop-vac.


Once we were all done, the floors looked like this.

Sanding Wood Floors

It already looked 100 times better. Next, I’ll be going over staining and finishing, which we kinda are still working on…

floor closeup

If you look very closely at the picture above, you can see a water stain from Ryan’s celebratory beer can. Yep, he had to sand that before we proceeded.

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