Step 3: Scuff-sand the Finish

man scuff-sanding a wooden floor with a buffer to prep before refinishing
Photo: Reena Bammi
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Stick a maroon buffing pad to the buffer, and put on a dust mask. Move the buffer from side to side across the floor in the direction of the grain, overlapping each course by 6 inches. The old finish turns to powder as you go, so it's easy to see the areas you've covered. Keep the buffer moving at all times, but stop every 5 minutes or so and vacuum the pad.

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    Tools List

    • terry cloth mop
      flat mop with terrycloth cover and microfiber cover
    • buffer
      floor buffer fitted with maroon buffing pad
    • shop vacuum
      vacuum fitted with clean filter
    • respirator
      respirator fitted with organic vapor canisters
    • watering can
      plastic watering can with sprinkler head removed
    • drywall bucket
      small plastic container
    • 3-inch wide paint brush
      3-inch wide paint brush
    • extension pole
      roller frame and extension pole

    Shopping List

    water-based polyurethane

    hardwood flooring cleaner

    180-grit sandpaper

    disposable booties

    cone filter