How to Refinish Your Hardwood Floor (under Carpet)

Introduction: How to Refinish Your Hardwood Floor (under Carpet)

About: Art is the science of what could be.

When we bought our house, a GC just bought and flipped it. Luckily for us he had to sit on it for a while, dropping the price little by little until we came along. He put the same carpet throughout the house, and all of the walls are a neutral color. It was time to start making it ours.Alittle

Step 1: Check for Hardwood

I didn't think ahead here for photos, but if you go to a corner of your room and grab the carpet with pliers, you should be able to pull up a few inches to check what's underneath. If the foam under the carpet doesn't lift with the carpet, just lift it with your fingers. BEWARE THE SPIKE STRIP AROUND THE EDGES! This stuff will poke your fingers without remorse. Be careful.

Step 2: Remove Carpet and Padding (foam)

Once you decide you want to travel down this road, mark the area you want to cut out, so you can visualize it and make your cuts (mostly) straight. Use a razor to cut the carpet and padding and pull it up and discard.

This is the point where I thought about making this instructable. So the photos really start here.

Once you remove the carpet and padding, there will be staples and the spike strips that you have to remove. The staples should come out easily with pliers, and the spike strip will pop off with a crowbar or the nailremover side of a hammer.

Step 3: Install Edging for Remaining Carpet

Now that the area is cleaned off, we need to secure the remaining carpet so no one trips on it and animals don't burrow under it.

I bought these strips from HomeDepot for a couple bucks. They are shaped like an L and have a couple different parts:

  • The spikes
  • The edging

The spikes grab the carpet and prevent it from sliding around. The edging folds over the carpet, pinning it to the spikes so it doesn't come loose. These strips weren't the right size, so I just measured them and bent them back and forth at the break to get them to size. I then straightened the corner with pliersto get a nice fit.

Once they are the right size, lift of the edge of the carpet and slide the strip under with the spikes facing up. Take a few short screws and secure the strip (under the edge of the carpet) to the wood floor.

Once the strip is screwed down, pull the carpet over the spikes and it should snag on them. These strips were pretty cheap and took some manhandling to get the carpet to snag on the spikes. Then you bend the edging over the carpet to hold it in place. Give the edging some gentle taps with a hammer and make sure the edge is buried into the carpet so no one trips on it.

Once this edge strip is installed, we can refinish the floor.

Step 4: Sand Your Wood

Our Hardwood was painted white. At first I thought this was a horrible thing to do, but with this being the entry into the house, I think the paint protected the wood from quite a bit of moisture.

I didn't have many options on how to go about this. It took two days of sanding with my vibrating sander. I put my shopvac on the porch and turned it on while sanding to contain most of the dust. There was still dust everywhere.

If your floors are already stained (not painted) you can probably give them a light sanding and then move to the next step, I had to sand off paint, and the previous stain to get the floor looking ready.

Step 5: STAIN and Your Done.

I bought some stain/sealer that was just a regular brown (I don't recall the name). and went to town. After the first coat with a foam brush had dried, it looked uneven. I proceeded to do a second coat that evened out the color. The second coat also gave the wood a nice sheen.

This project was mostly to determine the ability to refinish our floors. After all this we are going to tile the entryway and have a contractor come and finish the floors in the rest of the rooms.

I had no idea what I was getting into and just winged the project, I think it turned out ok. This is my first Instructable, so let me know what I missed.

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    3 years ago

    You also should have put some more coats of polyurethane finish, sanding in-between coats, especially since that's the entryway and it gets lots of foot traffic. The stain you were using probably had some polyurethane finish combined with the stain, but I always just use regular penetrating stain, then multiple coats of poly. The more the better, but somewhere around 7 coats is standard. And for an entryway, I'd do even more coats.the more coats, the shinier it will be, and the longer it will last before needing more finish, but you could always renew it by cleaning, buffing, and adding a coat or two every year. But who really is going to do that? Get the coats on now, while you're already working on it. Just takes a bit more time and saves you loads of time/effort years later, when you're older and don't want to exert yourself.


    3 years ago on Step 4

    Home Depot or any larger hardware store has a 'paint-eater' type of rotating sanding disc. It will strip the paint without damaging chemicals. Then you can sand the wood in successive grits, starting at 60 or lower and ending at 100 or higher, depending on how you think it looks. You could also rent a floor edger sander for a small area and be done in a matter of hours, rather than two days. Only cost like 25-50 bucks to rent, even Home Depot rents such tools, depending on your location. I swear I just shop at Home Depot, I don't work there.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very well done for a first instructable!

    It looks like you did a great job on the entryway. Thanks for sharing this!