DIY buff and coat for worn and scratched wood floor

Q: I have a wide plank soft pine floor, 20×20, with a polyurethane finish. It has worn spots and my dog has left scratches. *I* want to re finish and would appreciate any info/how-to.

A: The best advice I can give you is to leave this work to a professional. If however, the finish is not scratched off, leaving dark discolored areas on the floor, it may only require a buff with fine sandpaper and a couple of coats of finish.

If that was something you would do yourself, You will need to make sure the finish is free of contaminants such as oily soaps, etc. Thoroughly buff the floor with the grain and clean up well. Apply a coat of Poloplaz Primero with a roller (1/4 or 3/8 nap). When dry, and if needed, buff it again with fine sandpaper and do it all again. I recommend Primero because it is very tough when fully cured and rolls beautifully.

Related Q: We have a room with oak floors and polyurethane finish. In the high traffic areas the finish is worn, with no damage to the floor itself. Can we clean the floor (with what?), lightly hand sand, and put down a coat or two of poly (what kind?) What is the downside of this approach, if any? The floor was finished in 1991.

A: If the floor finish is not totally worn off, discoloring the wood itself, then a fine sanding with the grain, with a fine abrasive to thoroughly scuff the finish, will be needed. It may be a good idea to clean the floor first to remove possible contaminants. A good polyurethane cleaner is important to use. A mild tri sodium solution may work too. Don’t soak the floor. When dry, buff and coat. Any good quality polyurethane will work. I prefer and recommend Poloplaz finishes, and in particular Primero. It is very difficult to do this in just a spot touch up fashion. Best to do the entire area/room, especially given the length of time between coats.

Similar Q: I have red oak flooring with water based semi gloss that was installed 17 years ago. There has been some movement of the boards. I have filled them with a colored putty. My question is can I now lightly sand the floors by hand with 120 grit then a 220 grit and apply a gloss water based poly?

A: Yes, by all means you can do this. You don’t have to use two different grits of sand paper. With the solvent/oil based coatings I use I rub the edges with 120 grit and use a polisher with a screen mesh with 180 or 150 grit. If you are doing it all by hand 120 should be okay. As long as there are no contaminants on the floor such as over spray from furniture polish, similar products or oil soaps, etc., it should work out fine. You have to be thorough and not miss any spots.