Do-it-Yourself Hardwood Floor Buffing

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Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood floor cleaner

  • Bucket

  • Mop

  • Wrench

  • 200-grit sanding screen

  • Damp rag

  • Polishing compound

  • Lamb's wool buffing attachment


The buffer can give you a wild ride until you are used to it. Start up the machine far from the wall to prevent it slamming into the wall or baseboards, scuffing or possibly chipping them.

Use a buffer to restore your hardwood floor's good looks.

Professional flooring installers do the final buffing of a newly finished floor with a floor buffer, and there is nothing stopping you from renting one of these for an afternoon to touch up the finish on your older floor. Before you use this machine, though, you'll want to give your floor a good cleaning to remove old wax and grime that's probably dulling the floor. If you lightly screen the floor before polishing to flatten the surface, you'll find the floor will then buff up to a rich luster. The buffer will do most of the work for you.


Step 1

Mix a high-quality hardwood floor cleaning compound with warm to hot water in a bucket, following the recommendations on the container. Mop the floor and let the floor dry completely.

Step 2

Lay the handle of the floor buffer flat on the floor and remove the nut in the middle of the pad with a wrench. Fit on a 200-grit sanding screen, tighten the nut and stand the machine up and plug it in.

Step 3

Hold the handles of the buffer with both hands while you turn it on. When it starts, it will begin to ride on the floor and can easily get away from you. Steer the machine by applying gentle pressure on one handle or the other without pressing down into the floor. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to guide it easily.


Step 4

Screen the entire floor, starting in the middle and working toward the edges. Check the screen periodically, and replace it if it gets gummed up. If it gums up frequently, stop screening and clean the floor again.

Step 5

Wipe the floor with a damp cloth to remove the fine dust produced by the sanding screen.

Step 6

Spread floor polishing compound on the floor either by mixing it with water and spreading it with a rag or sprinkling it directly from the container, depending on the type you are using. Check the container for specific instructions.


Step 7

Remove the sanding screen from the buffer and fit on a lamb's wool buffing attachment. Buff the polishing compound, using the buffer in the same way you used it to screen the floor.



Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at