How to Restore Old Wooden Floors

Many times homeowners find old wooden flooring underneath carpeting in older homes just purchased. Hiring a professional to come in and restore this old wooden floor can be quite costly. Whether your wood flooring is newly discovered underneath carpet or the wood is dull, scratched and worn due to improper maintenance or excessive wear, restoring the floor so it looks beautiful again is a project easily accomplished with the right tools and know-how.

Restore an old wooden floor with a drum sander.

Step 1

Remove all furniture, curtains, rugs or decorative items that are on the old wooden floor.

Step 2

Examine the old wooden floor for holes or nails protruding up from the boards. Fill the holes in the wooden floor with wood putty that matches the color of the wood floor. Sink the nails down below the surface of the wood boards with a hammer.

Step 3

Hang drop cloths in open doorways to block the work area off from the remainder of the home to prevent sanding dust from spreading out of the room.

Step 4

Wear a face filter mask, safety goggles and earplugs to protect your eyes, ears and lungs.

Step 5

Attach a 36-grit rough sanding disc onto the floor drum sander. Adjust the sanding disc so it does not touch the floor.

Step 6

Turn the drum sander on and lower the disc so it touches the wooden floor, constantly moving it in back and forth motions over the wooden floor. Avoid allowing the drum sander to stay stationary on the surface of the wooden floor for any amount of time to prevent an uneven sanding spot.

Step 7

Continue sanding the old wooden floor with the drum sander, working in rows that mimic the same action of mowing a lawn.

Step 8

Attach a hand-held edge sander with coarse-grit sandpaper. Use the edge sander to sand the edges, corners and other sections of the room the drum sander was unable to get to so they are as smooth as the areas sanded with the drum sander.

Step 9

Equip the drum sander with a 60-grit sanding disc and sand the wooden floor in the same fashion as before.

Step 10

Secure a piece of medium-grit sandpaper to the hand-held edge sander and sand the edges, corners and other areas of the floor where the drum sander could not reach.

Step 11

Vacuum away all the remaining dust left behind by both, the drum sander and edge sander with a shop vacuum.

Step 12

Dampen a microfiber mop with mineral spirits. Wipe the entire wooden floor with the dampened microfiber mop until you remove all sanding dust.

Step 13

Repair cracks, gouges or small holes within the wood of the floor with wood putty. Push the wood putty into the damaged wood and smooth it even with the surrounding floor using a putty knife. Allow the wood putty to dry according to the package directions.

Step 14

Attach a fine-grit sanding disc to the drum sander and sand the wooden floor using the same techniques as before.

Step 15

Sand the edges and areas left alone by the drum sander with the edge sander equipped with a fine-grit piece of sandpaper.

Step 16

Vacuum the wooden floor clean with the shop vacuum.

Step 17

Apply polyurethane finish onto the edges of the wooden floor with a large paintbrush.

Step 18

Wipe the polyurethane finish onto the remaining areas of the wooden floor with a finish applicator pad. Allow the finish to dry overnight.

Step 19

Sand the dried finish coat with a piece of fine-grit sandpaper to remove the small bubbles that may have appeared.

Step 20

Vacuum all of the sanding dust away with the shop vacuum.

Step 21

Apply a second coat of polyurethane finish as you did the first, allowing the second coat to dry, and then using the fine-grit sandpaper to sand away any bubbles. Vacuum the sanding dust before applying the third and final coat of finish.

Step 22

Brush the third and final coat of polyurethane finish onto the wooden floor as you did the first and second coats. You will not have to sand the third coat. Allow the finish to dry overnight before moving furniture back into the space.

Rachel Turner

Rachel Turner has been writing professionally since 2000, focusing on gardening and home improvement topics. Her articles have appeared online at SlowTravel and in publications such as the "Arkansas Gardeners," "One Step Ahead" and "Writers Now." Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.