Refinishing & Resurfacing Guide

For Prefinished Wood and Bamboo Flooring

Before You Begin

Resurfacing your wood countertops? Read our wood countertop refinishing guide.

Refinishing vs Resurfacing

What is Refinishing?

The change of color or texture and a new surface treatment for most already–finished wood surfaces. This involves sanding down the top layer of floor and applying fresh stain over the existing wood floor.

What is Resurfacing?

Buffing the top layer of existing finish followed by recoating or adding a polish to top layer, while maintaining the same coloration. Resurfacing is a customary practice for bamboo surfaces.

Personal Protective Equipment

It is important for you to prepare yourself and the project environment before starting your project.

Please ensure you have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for the refinishing and resurfacing process. We recommend gloves, protective eyewear and face masks to protect yourself from splinters and sawdust that can occur while refinishing or resurfacing a wood surface.

PPE gear should be worn during each step of your project.

Preparing Your Project Area

When preparing a room where wood flooring is being refinished or resurfaced, please ensure that all furniture, rugs, and window fixtures are safely removed without causing any damage to the flooring’s surface.

Cover electrical outlets and vents to keep out saw dust, and hard-to-move furniture with plastic.

Remove all base molding and corresponding nails with a pry bar or molding remover before turning your attention to the floor.

Refinishing Hardwood

Step 1: Patch & Repair

After the room is properly prepared (see above section for details), conduct an initial surface check to identify any loose boards, unsecured nails, or holes that need to be filled with a wood filler or putty.

Use a Putty Knife

A putty knife can be used in this process to apply the filler or putty to the flooring’s surface.

How Much Filler?

The amount of filler product used during this process depends on the level of existing damage.

After Filler Dries

After the filler is applied and completely dried, wipe down the surface with a damp rag to remove any dust or residue before sanding.

Allow Floor to Dry

Wait for the floor to completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Sand & Buff

Multiple rounds of sanding may be needed to remove all imperfections.

Begin Sanding

Begin by sanding following the grain of the boards with your preferred sander.

Tools for Sanding

During this step, a drum sander or belt sander are typically used. An orbital sander is also recommended to get into corners, edges, and hard-to-reach areas.

Grit Levels

While sanding, it is important to gradually increase the grit level, starting with a course grit level (30-40), then medium (60-80), and finally a finer grit level (100-120).

Buff the Floor

After the sanding is complete, use a floor buffer equipped with a fine grit level pad to level out any uneven areas.

Floor & Decor Pro Tip

If you are unfamiliar with sanders and buffers, we recommend partnering with a licensed professional.

Step 3: Prep for Finish

After sanding and buffing the floor, you will want to make sure the surface is free from sawdust and other small debris.

Remove Debris

Sweep and vacuum the floor and using a tack cloth to remove any leftover residue.

Use Soft Bristles

The broom and any brush heads used with the shop vacuum should have soft bristles.

Mopping the Floor

It is also recommended to damp mop the surface to ensure the flooring is truly clean.

Let It Dry

Let the flooring dry completely before applying a stain and finish.

Step 4: Stain & Seal

Once the flooring is free from all dust and debris, it is ready for staining!

Staining the Floor

Please put on PPE gear and properly ventilate your room before you begin.


Apply the stain by using a lambswool rag or staining sponge, and wipe away excess liquids to avoid pooling on the flooring’s surface.

Small Sections

The stain should be applied in small sections at a time while following the grain of the flooring. Wipe excess stain away before moving to your next section and use your staining sponge for even transition between sections.

Let It Dry

Allow the stain to dry completely before sealing - this may take up to 24 hours.

Touch Ups

Once the stain has dried, look for imperfections. Address any imperfections by lightly hand sanding the area and applying more stain.

Selecting a Stain

If your goal is to alter the coloring of your floor, select an oil-based stain in your desired color.

Sealing the Floor

Whether you skip staining or if your stain is applied and dried completely, sealing is required to protect your flooring from dings and scratches.


Apply the protective coat or finish of your choosing in a well-ventilated area while wearing PPE gear. Apply the protective finish with a lambswool rag following the grain.

Adding Coats

Multiple coats may be needed depending on the type of finish.

Dry Between Coats

Allow each coat to dry completely and buff the surface before applying the next coat.

Let It Dry

Wait 24 hours before walking on the floor and reattaching the base moldings, and 72 hours after application to place any rugs and furniture on the flooring. Adhering to this dry time will ensure lasting beauty to your refinished floors!

Selecting a Finish

If you decide on a natural oil finish, oil treatments will be needed periodically throughout the life of the flooring. Please ensure that your finish is compatible with any stain that is used.

Resurfacing Bamboo

Step 1: Patch & Repair

While bamboo flooring can only be resurfaced as opposed to refinished, the first step of the resurfacing process is the same. After the room is clean and free from obstructions the flooring should be inspected for any loose boards, nails, or existing holes in the floor that need to be filled. After these bigger imperfections are corrected the smaller imperfections can be addressed during Step 2.

Step 2: Sand and Buff

Unlike the refinishing process, resurfacing only requires the top surface to be removed, and can be done by buffing instead of sanding. This is a gentler method of removing the top layer and ensures that the flooring does not become too thin.

Floor & Decor Pro Tip

If you are unfamiliar with sanders and buffers, we recommend partnering with a licensed professional.

Step 3: Prep for Finish

While resurfacing does not require an extensive amount of sanding, you should still be sure to clean the surface of any leftover sawdust or debris before moving on to the final step. Cleaning the surface of any residue will ensure that the finish will be properly applied.

Step 4: Seal

Unlike the refinishing process, resurfacing your bamboo floor does not call for stain, but instead a new application of the protective finish. Once the fresh surface is free from any residue your preferred protective finish can be applied. Let the finish dry according to manufacturer guidelines, reattach the removed base moldings, and enjoy your refreshed flooring!

Floor & Decor Pro Tip

For best results, test cleaners, treatments, and sealers in a small, isolated area before implementing a broader application.

*Since every application is different, the suggestions mentioned above are general recommendations only. Depending on the products used it could take up to several days to cure. Please follow all manufacturer guidelines. We strongly suggest consulting a licensed professional who has experience with your material type and specific situation. It is also recommended that cleaners, treatments, and sealers are tested in a small, isolated area to ensure desired results.

Review your warranty sheet for specifics regarding your flooring, and any scenario that could void the manufacturer warranty.