How to Refinish Soft Wood Floors

Refinishing the floors in your home is a great way to add life to aging wood. This process will get rid of large slashes and holes which may be in the wood and will refresh the look of the entire room. Wooden floors can be made out of either hardwood such as oak, or softwood such as pine. If you're floors are made out of a softer wood, they can still be refinished with some care.

  1. Clear all the furniture out of the room you will be working on . If you are replacing the baseboards, take them down at this point. If not, leave them on the wall.

  2. Attach the 36-grit sand paper to the belt sander. Start in one corner and move the sander across the floor in a straight row in the direction of the wood grain.

  3. Once you have one row done, start sanding the next row, overlapping at least one board. Repeat this process to sand the entire room.

  4. Sand until 85 percent of the existing finish is gone. Use the palm sander with 36-grit sandpaper to sand the areas you can't reach with the sander.

  5. Switch out the 36-grit paper for the 80-grit sand paper and re-sand the room. This will help get rid of any scratches left by the initial sanding and will smooth out the floor. Sand in the same direction that you used in the first sanding.

  6. Switch out the sandpaper on the belt sander for the 100-grit paper and sand the floor one more time. This increases the smoothness of the floor.

  7. Attach 100-grit sand paper to the buffer. Move the buffer in a back and forth motion until the entire room has been buffed.

  8. Let the dust settle for at least an hour. Thoroughly vacuum up any saw dust which has settled on the floor.

  9. Paint the stain on the wood with a paint brush, applying in direction of the grain. Let the stain soak in for a few seconds, then wipe away any excess with a lint free rag. The goal is to let each section of wood soak up the same amount of stain so it all looks the same.


  • Softwood is very fragile so it is imperative you take your time with this type of wood. It is very easy to damage.
  • Make sure you don't stay in one spot too long with the sander as you can sand a hole in the wood.

About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.