DIY - refinishing hardwood floors

When we were buying our new home, we decided to go with hardwood floors throughout.  
The only place in here that had carpet was the upper floor where our bedroom is.

It's hard to tell in these photos, but the carpet has a sort of peach tint to it.

The carpet was in really good condition for being 20 years old.
Since we've had Bella, our pug, we've decided it's much easier to clean and maintain hardwood floors than carpet.

We started by pulling up the carpet and removing all the staples.
It's kind of tedious, but I actually enjoyed the process!

Once the staples were all out and any popped nail heads hammered in, Jon sanded the floors using a combination floor sander and palm sander (for around the base board edges).
Make sure you wear a mask and gloves when using any sander and stain product!
Safety goggles / glasses are a good idea too with all of the dust that comes up.

We used 36 grit to start with and then worked down to 60, then 80 grit.
The floor sander took off all the initial crud and surface, but we were cautious with going down to raw wood because of the age of the floor and seeing nail heads.
It didn't take off all the original stain, and because of this, we decided to use Varathane wood stain.
We only needed one quart for our bedroom, and we still have a tiny bit left over.
We chose American Walnut as the color.

Our initial test spot seemed to even out what the sander couldn't get down to raw wood.

I didn't want a super dark stain, just something in a medium-dark tone.
We wanted something slightly darker than the original oak floor color that is on the main floor, but not too trendy of a color (dark brown) for our bedroom area.

Working in small sections, Jon applied the stain with a floor pad applicator, and then went over it with a rag, feathering it out by hand.
It was amazing to see the difference the rag technique added to the smoothness of the color.

We only applied one coat of stain.
It covered all the floor well and evened out the tone.

Even though the can says "dries in one hour", it actually took about 48 hours for it to be truly dry, (not seeing any stain on the bottom of our socks) and about 4 days for it to not be tacky when walking on it.
That may be attributed to the fact that we didn't go down to the bare wood?
Anyway, we really liked it as far as application and coverage.

Our next plan is to work on the second bedroom in the same way.
We're currently using it as a walk in closet, and hope to convert it to a master bathroom in the future.  We want to keep the wood floors for the bathroom, and will probably need to put a marine varnish on it for inevitable water drips and splashes in the bath.
After that, the staircase!
Once everything is finished, I will go around the quarter round edges and touch up the floor board trim with white paint.

We are really enjoying our new floors!
We will have an area rug arriving soon for some softness and warmth around the edge of the bed.
The room is still taking shape and we are adding in features here and there as our project list grows.

I hope our little DIY project inspires you to take on your own floor refinishing!

I was not contacted or compensated in any way for any product used in this post.  All opinions are my own and we chose the products used in this post based on our own needs and research for our project.


  1. So, you didn't apply polyurethane or any top coat, over the floor, after you stained it?

    1. Hi Sharon! No, we didn't. We didn't want a shiny finish of any kind and a more rustic look in our upstairs area. You definitely can add it afterwards- and we will add some kind of heavy duty varnish when we add a bathroom up here in the future.

  2. Love your floors and I like the matte finish too!


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