refinishing wood floors
Photo: Andrew Kline
Make overlapping passes using a 16-in. floor polisher outfitted with 60-, 80-, 100-, and 120-grit screening. Screen edges by hand with a palm sander fitted with 100-grit sandpaper.
Most hardwood floors are made of oak, but despite the durable nature of this wood, it only looks as good as the surface finish. Water stains, scratches, dullness and whole areas worn bare by household traffic are signs that it's time to refinish the floor. In the past that meant sanding down to bare wood—a dust-producing, time-consuming process that's risky if you don't have experience or expensive if you hire a pro. Some floors require this level of work, but many others can be revitalized by screening, a process that takes off the top layer of polyurethane but doesn't remove any wood. This relatively inexpensive technique gives you the option of doing the work yourself with little risk and saves you the cleanup and hassle associated with floor sanding.

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