DIY Buff and coat?

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Q: I recently moved into a home with hardwood floors, and although they’re in good shape they look as though they could use an extra layer of protection. I’m wondering if there is a DIY way to add a layer of protection, like polyurethane (or something better) that will still leave the floors with a nice shine but will also protect against heavy foot traffic, dogs, kids and frequently dropped things.

A: I would never recommend this trade as DIY work. If you are intent on doing it yourself I can only offer a few tips. Make sure you first clean the floor with, for example TSP to hopefully remove any contaminants from the floor surface. Denatured alcohol would also be a good substitute for this. Then the floor must be thoroughly buffed and de-glossed with a fine abrasive and all dust removed before coating. Use a polyurethane that can be applied with a roller such as Poloplaz Primero. Cut in the edges and roll the field. Thin coats are always best. Avoid any moving air across the floor for several hours after applying.

Also see DIY Refinish Hardwood Floors.

Related Q: I bought a house that is 10 years old. The hard wood floor is in not very good condition.

I have two issues: 1) Two areas are worn, which are about 1-2 sq. ft. I would like to sand them lightly and restain the floor (I think I found the closest match stain color)

2) The floor is not very shiny, however most of the surface area kept the original protection coating. I guess it is semi-gloss coating.

I don’t want to sand the whole floor at all, but prefer to clean it thoroughly and recoat with minwax clear semi-gloss Polyurethane. Can you please tell me if this is a doable? Urethane coating directly on another finished coating from 10 years ago? Do I have to sand off the original coating?

I don’t know if the original wood floor is prefinished or finished on site.

A: This type of work isn’t as easy as many people think. If the floor is bevelled on the edges it is probably pre finished. Very difficult to buff and re-coat. The odds wouldn’t be in your favour. You also don’t know what contaminants may be on the floor to react with the polyurethane you want to apply. Why don’t you buff thoroughly a spot behind the door or off in a corner and see what happens?

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