How to Remove Polyurethane From Hardwood Floors

Removing the polyurethane finish from hardwood can be the first step to a beautiful new-looking floor.
Removing the polyurethane coating can remove scratches from the floor.Removing the polyurethane coating can remove scratches from the floor.
Polyurethane is often used as a top coat for hardwood floors. The durable substance adds a layer of protection and adds shine to a newly finished floor. As time goes by, small scratches and scuffs dull the polyurethane and makes its removal necessary. When starting this process, take into consideration the time and effort needed before undertaking the project.

Step 1

Clear all movable items from the room and clean the floor. Dust or sweep the area with a clean cloth to remove as much dirt and dust as possible.

Step 2

Apply chemical stripper to the floor. Use a paintbrush to apply a uniform coat of the stripper to all areas of the floor. Be careful around corners, being sure to get the corners without touching the walls.

Step 3

Scrape the polyurethane off. After the chemical stripper has set the manufacturer's recommended amount of time, the polyurethane will begin to bubble and turn loose. Use a putty or floor scraper to remove from the floor. Collect and dispose of the scrapings.

Step 4

Sand the floor lightly to remove any remaining polyurethane. Small bits may stick even after stripping. Lightly hand sand these areas to get any remaining bits.

Step 5

Sweep or wipe down the floor to get rid of any remaining loose debris.

Things You Will Need

  • Paintbrush
  • Chemical stripper
  • Floor or putty scraper
  • Sandpaper

About the Author

Sidney Johns began her writing career in 1993 after moving to Florida. The former teacher and surgical technician worked in the home improvement industry prior to earning a Bachelor of Science in education from Indiana University. While on hiatus in 2004, Johns studied holistic healing and organic growth and gardening.