Home & Garden Architecture

How to Sand & Varnish a Floor

    • 1). Remove all furniture from the room. Clean the floor. Sweep, mop and dry. Remove oil or grease spots with degreaser.

    • 2). Remove or drive any nail heads into the floor with a hammer and wrecking bar. If there are holes or cracks in the floor fill with wood putty that matches the color of the flooring. Use a non-shrinking putty (check the label). Let the putty dry before sanding.

    • 3). Ventilate the room by opening windows, doors and using fans. Wear a dust mask and safety goggles. Put a coarse sanding belt on the electric floor sander and begin sanding. As far as possible move the sander back and forth, following the grain of the wood to avoid cross grain scratches. Sand lightly if the floors are in good condition--just enough to remove the old coat. Repeat with medium and fine grade sanding belts till smooth. Hand sand areas along the walls and in tight areas where the sander can't reach.

    • 4). Damp mop or vacuum to remove sawdust. You'll want to dust the room with a damp cloth or vacuum hose to remove any sawdust clinging to the walls and ceilings. Wash the floor with mineral turpentine if you are using an oil-based stain and varnish or with methylated spirits if using a water-based stain and varnish. Dry the floor thoroughly.

    • 5). Apply stain to the floor if you are restoring the color or changing it and using a separate stain and varnish (recommended). Wipe on the stain, allow it to sit for a few seconds before wiping off with a cloth or rag mop. Allow stain to dry to touch.

    • 6). Varnish the floor using a floor pad applicator. Dip the pad in the container and load the pad with varnish. Choose a corner of the room to start in and begin wiping on the varnish with back and forth strokes in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Allow the first coat to dry hard enough to walk on, about two hours.

    • 7). Lightly sand the floor between coats, then go over it with a damp mop and a rag dampened with paint thinner to remove all dust and debris. Apply a second coat, this time starting from the opposite corner of the room and working your way back. Repeat drying, sanding and cleaning and the apply a third coat. Allow the final coat to sit and cure.

    • 8). Apply floor wax and buff to a high shine before replacing the furniture.

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