How To Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

After years of faithful service, your hardwood floor looks like it’s in decline. Just looking at it sends disgust over your body. Now, you’re contemplating rugs and other ways to hide it from visitors. You’ve inquired about replacing, and that bill is not something you can afford at the moment.

How To Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

Well, what if I told you there’s a way you could get that floor looking all brand new again without replacing it? Also, this doesn’t have to do with sanding, which could take so much time. Within a day, your floor is looking good as new. Are you interested now? Then, let’s get into it!

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Steps to Refinish Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

While there are various ways of refinishing a hardwood floor without sanding, this article will walk you through the method of using a buffer and polyurethane as the finish. It will also highlight the pros and cons of using this method.

1. Rent a Buffer

There’s a high chance you don’t own a buffer. Head out to the local improvement store to rent a buffer. However, you must make sure that you’re ready to use the machine before borrowing it. The time for rental counts, and your bill increases every minute you leave the buffer lying around idle.

Source: Rentabuffer 

2. Clean the Room

Clear the room of all the furniture and sweep out all of the dust. If there are any tough marks, eliminate them using spirits. Also, if you notice deep scratches, exposed nails, or areas stripped of finish, mark these areas with tape. When done with the cleaning, return to these marked parts and fix each one. You can use mineral spirits for the deep scratches to make them darker.

First, for parts stripped of finish, wet them with a polyurethane coat. Then, add a layer of polyurethane. Allow drying for two days before buffing. It will be better to finish with this before getting the buffer.

Finally, mop the floor with a hardwood flooring cleaner or a homemade solution of vinegar and water made in the ratio of 1:10. Then, wipe the floor squeaky clean off the solution using a clean mop. To make sure the dust doesn’t spread to other rooms, close the doors and windows of the room you’re sanding.

3. Scuff-sand the Floor’s Finish

You’ll generate a lot of dust from the buffing process. Open windows, place fans in them, close ducts, and seal off the working area to prepare the space. Cover any doorways to the affected room with sheeting, and use duct tape to seal the seams and slip the sheeting open. Wear a dust mask if possible.

Place a sanding screen on the buffer. You’ll need a couple of buffing pads for this process. It’s vital to realize that buffing pads frequently wear out after 10-15 minutes of use, even before switching on the buffer. You should check for grit buildup every few minutes and remove any large particles that could scratch the floor. When a screen wears out, flip it over or replace it.

Move the buffer from side to side across the floor, overlapping each the previous movement by a few inches. Clean the pad using the suction feature at 5-minute intervals. However, make sure the buffer isn’t staying idle throughout the process. The old finish turns to powder as you go, making it easier to see where you’ve covered. Ask for a brief training at the home improvement store when you rent the tool. They’ll also inform you that you should lock the adjustable handle in place before you start using the machine.

4. Tack and Vacuum

Replace the vacuum’s filter and sweep the floor using a felt-bottomed attachment. Sweep through the flooring strips in line with the flooring strips to remove any powder that has settled between the boards. Finally, use a microfiber cloth to dry-tack the floor with the grain.

5. Make a Cut Along the Edges

Wear booties over your shoes and a respirator containing organic vapor canisters over your nose and mouth. Pour some of the strained finish into a small plastic container placed in a gargabe bag. This will help prevent spillage of the finish. At the farthest position from your exit door, paint a 3-inch-wide stripe alongside the baseboards.

If the stripe’s edge starts to dry, you’ll get lap marks, so stop after 10 minutes and move on to the following stage.

6. Spread the Polyurethane

Polyurethane is the greatest finish option for a DIYer because it is more durable and easier to work with than the other options. When you’re at the home improvement store, ask a salesperson if you want to use an oil-based urethane or a water-based urethane for your polyurethane finish.

There are a few differences between both types of finish. For example, the oil-based polyurethane finish dries faster than the water-based type. Hence, the former gives you more time to spread out the finish. Also, you can apply the oil-based finish with a natural brush, while the water-based finish requires a synthetic brush. So, you have to consider all these factors before picking a finish.

Pour a 1-inch-wide stripe of finish in the grain direction—as much as you can distribute in 10 minutes. Roll out the finish with the grain, then across it, using a long-handled roller with a 14-inch nap cover. To preserve a moist edge, overlap each pass and work fast.

Brush more finish along the edge after 10 minutes, then pour and roll for another 10 minutes. Carry going until the floor is completely covered. Wait three hours before repainting and a week before reassembling furniture.

Pros and Cons of Refinish Hardwood Floors Without Sanding


  • This method is the best DIY approach to use.
  • The finish lasts for an extended period.
  • It involves a potent way to prepare your hardwood floor for a new finish.


  • You have to do a lot of work.
  • It produces a lot of dust and requires extensive cleanup.
  • You need to rent a tool (buffer) that can increase your costs.


While this method is really effective, you could also try other methods, such as using a revitalizer or a chemical abrasion kit. These two make up the three popular ways of restoring your hardwood floor without sanding it. Before picking any method, speak to the pros in this field to make the best decision for your floors.

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