Once you’ve got your old floor looking good as new, it’s time to make it shine. Finishing a wooden floor is a satisfying and visibly rewarding job. And as with sanding, you can easily do this yourself at home—but it’s essential to be well prepared.
Equipment you’ll need
- Choice of hard floor varnish
- Wide Brush
What type of floor finish should I use?
What finish is best to use depends entirely on the look you’re trying to achieve. For example, some wood floor stains will dramatically alter the colour of your boards, while others will simply add a gentle sheen.
Some varnishes can be very strong – with lots of odour and a gleaming finish – which some people like to use for parquet style flooring. Meanwhile, oils will generally look more natural, particularly those at the fainter end.
Drying times will vary; however, it’s best not to subject a newly coated floor to heavy traffic within the first three days.
Preparing the floor
- Start by vacuuming and cleaning the floor with a rag, ensuring you’ve cleared any dust left over from sanding.
- Inspect the floor carefully. Spot fill missed cracks and nail holes. Allow the filler to dry hard, then sand with the same grit paper as the final machine sanding sheet.
- Get your brush or roller. Check the instructions on your varnish or oil tin to determine how many coats are needed.
- If you can’t complete the varnishing in 24 hours, lightly sand the floor before applying another coat the next day.
How to apply floor varnish
- Open the windows in the room to ensure it’s well ventilated.
- Stir the floor varnish well. Then, use a broad brush to begin applying the varnish in the direction of the wood grain. Be careful not to overbrush, or you will spread the varnish too thinly.
- Before the final coat, lightly rub-down the floor with fine sandpaper and wipe over with a damp cloth.
- Leave to dry for the product’s recommended drying time.
How do I oil a floor?
Oiling a floor is the same as varnishing a floor. You simply need to clean the surface, apply the recommended number of coats with a brush while following the grain, and leave to dry.
How long does it take to sand a floor?
It’s hard to say without knowing the size and condition of your flooring. But with the right tools (like a drum sander and edger), you should do three sanding passes in an average-sized living room or bedroom in a day.
Do I need to sand a floor before varnishing?
Applying another layer of finish on top of existing varnish or oil – or indeed years of dirt – can have unpredictable and undesirable outcomes. To varnish a floor, it’s always best to strip any existing topcoat off through sanding.
How do I maintain the floor afterwards?
You can keep your varnished floor looking good day-to-day through sweeping and vacuuming. Avoid using an excess of water on a varnished floor, and blot and dab any spills or marks instead of scrubbing.
There are many specialist varnished floor products for when your boards need a deeper clean, including polish, which revives the finish and repairs scratches to the coat.
And that’s that! With just a few days’ effort you’ll have a rejuvenated wood floor that looks and feels brand new. If you’re planning to sand your floors as part of a wider renovation project, you’ll find all kinds of useful tips and guides on our HSS Blog. Or you can head to our hire store, where you’ll find all the tools you need to transform every part of your home.