Hardwood Floor Refinishing; The Sanding & Filling Process

A hardwood floor refinishing project we performed in Redmond, Wa. This video was taken with my phone and includes some shots of me rough belt sanding and edging, then performing a “full trowel” filling and finally a bit of fine belt sanding. Realizing that most people, including many of the homeowners who are contemplating the idea of hiring a contractor to perform this service haven’t actually seen the process in action, I shot this video in an attempt to provide you with a taste for what’s involved. For more information, pictures and creative inspiration for your next hardwood flooring project, give us a follow on our G+page Thanks!

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21 Responses to Hardwood Floor Refinishing; The Sanding & Filling Process

  1. I’m always happy to discuss/field questions about wood floors and offer my personal thanks to all of our G+ supporters for your +1’s, shares and comments!

  2. I’m looking at doing my own refinishing. What was the resin you used to fill the gaps? I’ve seen bona mix & fill but cant find it here in the US.  Any ideas for a DIY-er?  Thanks!

  3. Help. I watched a vid on youtube and this guy did it wrong. Now I have scratch in all 1150 sq ft of my floor.  The hardwood floor was refinish at least once by the previous owner as I found a higher spot near the wall and  a few gouges on the floor.  some of the rooms were covered up by carpet before I pulled it up.  My boys room had scuff marks where it removed the poly.  My husband scuff his home office and the area is like 2 ft by 2 ft,  So I decide to do all the hardwood floor.   
    How can i fix the scratches on my floor which caused by sanding against grain with a drum sander? HOne Depot guy told me to use grit 34, then 60, then 120.
    THe floor was smooth to begin off with, but the home depot guy said I needed 34 to remove everything.  I  assume there is stain under the poly because there is a coloring to my floor and an amber color from poly yellowing in time.   I should have tried with grit 60. 

    HOw can I fix the problem.  NOw I cannot stain my floor because scratches will show up even more with stain. I want to make the scratches less noticeable, then I just use poly over it.  Help!  

  4. Why didn’t you pull up the trim and do complete job instead of sanding around it ?

  5. Hey great video, I have a question. Why the filling on this particular project?  and what did you fill with? i’ve installed a few brand new hardwood floors that turned out great but i’m refinishing one in my Grandmother’s house she passed away. there’s some noticable gaps in parts of the floor but not all of it by any means. do you think i can fill gaps that look to be caused by some water damage and the wood shrinking?  i’d like to see how you guys refinished it and what products you used exactly thanks :). great video again well done man lol

  6. Its better to go from the left to the right with your Lagler Hummel belt sander. (manufacturers recommendation)

  7. Hi Brian — Great video. I really appreciate the fact that you devoted an entire segment to full-trowel filling, which most hardwood floor refinishing videos neglect to even mention. Not surprisingly, your floors turn out much better than the others I’ve seen. With regard to the filling process, could you clarify when you would typically apply the filler relative to the sanding passes? For example, a common grit schedule for an old floor that the owner intends to fully refinish by sanding, staining, and applying polyurethane might go 36-50-80 (with a few buffing passes here and there). According to that schedule, when would you suggest he or she do the filling — in between the 36 and 50, or between the 50 and 80? Put another way: how aggressively does the filler need to be sanded? Thanks again for posting the video and sharing your expertise.

  8. Hay Brian, I enjoyed you video. I have a project at home to refinish the floors, they were not filled when they were first finished. I want to use the full trowel method, what brand of filler do you suggest and where will I find this product?

  9. Hello Brian, I am about to install some unfinished red oak flooring into a house that my father left me. I have refinished floors once before with my dad but it was quite a while ago. I have been researching quite a bit but I would like to get your opinion before I order all my supplies and start in. I was thinking of using Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat Clear Matte Sanding Sealer, Varathane Clear Semi-gloss Water-based Polyurethane and some type of grain filler. I just don’t know what grain filler to apply or the exact order and sanding schedule to use. Any suggestions?

  10. Hi, Steve. There are several brands of latex based wood fillers available. Woodwise makes a great product, although you probably can’t go wrong with another brand. Some box store’s will carry what you’re looking for. If not, you can check various hardwood flooring distributors or local floor refinishing companies to see what they have in stock. Hope that helps. Best of luck!!

  11. Brian Johnston if the floor is unfinished and raw…do you still need to do a rough sand before putting Woodwise down?

  12. Thanks for the question! Yes, I’d always recommend performing at least a quick rough sanding before filling an unfinished, “raw”, floor. Reason being, there’s usually some small variances between the final thickness of each board after the milling process. We refer to this as “overwood”. The high points make it a bit more difficult to trowel, and excess filler usually builds up in the lows. However, on the contrary, when dealing with larger gaps I usually recommend spot filling these trouble spots first and then the full troweling between sanding passes, as most products have a tendency of shrinking a little as they dries. Hope this helps, and best of luck! :)

  13. @Brain Johnston Im refinishing my floors….disregarding time could i fill in the grooves individually ? or does apply the filler over the entire floor benefit the rest of the process such as staining and the polyurethane ?

  14. Yeah, you could go ahead and just spot fill, if you like. Some floors are tighter than others, depending on seasonality and whatnot. Although sometimes it actually takes longer than full toweling. Another benefit to filling the entire floor is the ease in which it makes fine sanding. No longer do you have to worry about leaving behind rough scratches, as it’s far more noticeable if you miss a spot.

  15. Hi Brian, Thanks for the video. I’m considering sanding, filling, sanding, staining, and clear coating my OSB floor. Have you ever tried this? Have any helpful tips or know of any reason to absolutely not do it? Some of the area is high traffic.

  16. “Always sand from left to right. This ensures that the left-hand lateral
    wheel always runs over the newly sanded surface, making the surface
    more even with each sanding pass and preventing waviness.
    One sanding pass comprises a forward and reverse movement
    over the same track without offset. Avoid a sanding track offset of
    more than 85%.” -Lagler

  17. Hello Brian. A shout out to a fellow PNW boy. Hey, what kind of filler do you use? What brand do you recommend? I’m refinishing some Red Oak floors. Thanks.

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