Can You Refinish Pre-finished Hardwood Floors?

First and foremost, let’s answer the question that brought you here: Can you refinish pre-finished hardwood floors? The short answer is yes! You absolutely can. But the process is a little more complicated than refinishing traditional, site-finished hardwood floors. In this article, we’re going to guide you through the entire process of refinishing your pre-finished hardwood floors.

Pre Finished Hardwood Floors

What Are Pre-finished Hardwood Floors?

Pre-finished hardwood floors are hardwood flooring planks that are sanded, stained, and sealed by the manufacturer before they are installed in your home. This is in contrast to site-finished hardwood floors, which are installed raw and then finished on site. One key feature of pre-finished floors is the bevelled edges which help the planks fit together seamlessly.

Refinishing Pre-finished Hardwood Floors: The Process

Just like any hardwood floor, pre-finished floors can be refinished to restore their original luster or change their color. However, there are a few more steps involved. Here’s a general overview:

cleaning hardwood floors

1. Preparing the Floor

Preparing the floor is crucial for the refinishing process. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove Furniture: Begin by removing all the furniture, rugs, or any other objects from the room. This will provide you with a clear space to work and prevent any damages to your belongings.
  • Clean the Floor: Using a hardwood floor cleaner, thoroughly clean the surface of your floor. This step is necessary to remove any dirt, dust, or grime that has accumulated. If left, this can interfere with the sanding and refinishing process.

Sanding Hardwood Floors

2. Sanding

Sanding is the most labor-intensive part of the process.

  • Start with the Edges: Using an edge sander, start sanding down the bevelled edges of the pre-finished floor. This step is unique to pre-finished floors because of the “micro-bevel” that manufacturers apply. This bevel must be sanded down flat before you proceed.
  • Main Floor Sanding: For the main floor area, use a drum sander, which can be rented from most home improvement stores. Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the old finish and scratches, then gradually move to finer grits for a smooth finish. Make sure to sand evenly and avoid creating dips or gouges in the wood.
Staining Hardwood Floors

3. Staining

Staining is where you get to choose the new color of your floor.

  • Choose the Stain: There are countless colors and tones to choose from, so pick one that complements your room’s aesthetic.
  • Apply the Stain: Using a rag or a brush, apply the stain evenly to the floor. Always follow the wood grain and try to apply a consistent layer across the surface.
  • Wipe Excess Stain: After a few minutes (check the stain’s instructions), wipe away the excess stain with a clean rag. Make sure to wipe in the direction of the wood grain to avoid streaks or spots.

4. Sealing

After the stain has dried, the final step is to apply a sealer.

  • Choose the Sealer: There are several types of sealers available, such as polyurethane (oil-based or water-based), varnish, and lacquer. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so choose one that fits your needs.
  • Apply the Sealer: Using a lamb’s wool applicator, apply the sealer evenly across the floor. Be sure to follow the wood grain for the best results.
  • Dry and Recoat: Allow the sealer to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Most hardwood floor sealers require you to apply several coats, so be prepared to repeat this process a few times.

Remember, refinishing pre-finished floors is a significant project that requires time, effort, and patience. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, consider hiring a professional. They have the skills and experience to ensure your floors look beautiful once refinished.

If you’re interested in learning more about the time it takes to refinish hardwood floors, check out our blog post, How Long Does It Take to Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Considerations and Tips For Refinishing

Refinishing pre-finished hardwood floors requires some skill and patience. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Hire a Professional: If you’re not confident in your DIY skills, consider hiring a professional to do the job for you. They have the expertise and the tools necessary to ensure the job is done right.
  2. Test a Small Area First: If you’re doing the job yourself, test the stain and sealer on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire floor. This will give you an idea of what the final result will look like.
  3. Be Patient: Remember, good things come to those who wait. Allow plenty of time for the stain and sealer to dry before moving furniture back into the room.

In conclusion, yes, you can refinish pre-finished hardwood floors. It may require a bit more work, but the results can be well worth it. If you’d like to know more about hardwood floor refinishing or are interested in our professional services, please visit Matt’s Professional Flooring

FAQ About Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors

How long do pre-finished hardwood floors last?

Pre-finished hardwood floors, also known as factory-finished hardwood floors, can last up to 25 years before needing refinishing. They are durable due to multiple layers of a protective coating applied during the factory finishing process. Factors such as foot traffic and maintenance practices can affect their lifespan. When signs of wear appear, refinishing involves sanding and applying a new protective coating. Overall, pre-finished hardwood floors offer a long-lasting flooring option with proper care.

What are the cons of pre-finished hardwood?

  1. Limited customization options due to pre-applied finishes.
  2. Difficult repairs may require replacing entire boards or sections.
  3. Visible seams between boards can be less aesthetically pleasing.
  4. Higher upfront cost compared to unfinished hardwood.
  5. Refinishing options are limited due to the need for complete sanding of the existing finish.

Is pre-finished hardwood the same as engineered?

No, pre-finished hardwood and engineered hardwood are not the same.

Prefinished hardwood refers to solid hardwood planks that are factory-finished with multiple layers of a protective coating before installation. It retains the natural beauty and characteristics of solid wood.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood consists of a real wood veneer or top layer bonded to multiple layers of plywood or high-density fiberboard (HDF). This construction provides stability and resistance to moisture, making it suitable for areas where solid hardwood may not be recommended, such as basements.

What are pre-finished hardwood floors finished with?

Prefinished hardwood floors are typically finished with a durable protective coating, commonly an aluminum oxide-based finish. This finish provides excellent resistance to scratches, stains, and wear, ensuring the longevity and beauty of the floor. Other finishes like polyurethane or acrylic may also be used. The exact finish can vary by manufacturer and product line. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific information on the finish used for a particular prefinished hardwood floor.

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