How to Strip a Hardwood Floor
This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows the proper and safe way to remove an old finish from a hardwood floor
1. Place a box fan in an open window so that it blows out.
2. Cover the adjacent doorways with plastic drop cloths.
3. Put four 36-grit abrasive disks on the sander.
4. Turn on the sander and slowly work it back and forth across the entire room.
5. After sanding the whole floor, turn the sander at a 45-degree angle and go over the entire floor once again.
6. Use hammer and nail set to tap any exposed nails below the surface.
7. Vacuum the floor clean of all sanding dust.
8. Use a 6-inch-wide drywall knife and water-based wood filler to patch all holes and cracks in the floor.
9. Use a detail sander fitted with 36-grit sandpaper to remove the old finish under places the large sander couldn't reach, such as under the toekick and in corners.
10. Change the disks on the random-orbit sander to 60-grit abrasive, and sand entire floor.
11. Change the 60-grit disks to 80-grit, and sand the floor one final time.
12. Prop up the front of the refrigerator with 2x4 blocks and remove the finish underneath with a paint scraper.
13. Vacuum the floor.