How to Restore Hardwood Floors Under Carpet

how to restore hardwood floors

You’ve Discovered Hardwood Under Your Carpet

Now you may be asking yourself, “How should I uncover, restore, and refinish the hardwood?”

Restoring hardwood that has been under carpet can be a big job. In some cases where the carpet has been on the floor for years and an old adhesive was used to glue the carpet to the floor, you may want to have a flooring professional do it for you from start to finish.

Below we have provided the steps used to restore and refinish hardwood flooring, in order to assist you in determining if you want to tackle all or part of the job yourself, or leave it to a flooring professional. So… here it goes:

1. Prepare the Room: Cover all doorways and vents with plastic; this is a messy, dirty, dusty job, and you don’t want the dirt and dust floating into your other rooms, closets, or getting into your vents.

2. Pull up the carpet and padding, along with tack strips, staples, and nails: Start at a corner, or a vent, and pull up the carpet and padding and throw it out. Pull up the Tack Strips. You may see old staples or nails in the floor. You can remove them, or leave them for a “distressed” look to your hardwood. If you remove them, you can use wood filler to fill the holes. Pet or other stains may be found, or pieces of the floor may be missing. Pet stains can usually be sanded off, and missing wood can be replaced from unseen areas such as the back of closets.

Hardwood Flooring Guide3. Scrape old padding and glue off floor: You may find chunks of padding stuck to the floor with glue. Take a plastic edge scraper attached to a long handle (find at big box stores), and scrape the leftover padding/glue off the floor. This will take some manpower, depending upon how long the carpet has been in place. Some glue may require a chemical remover. If so, follow the remover instructions for dry time and ventilation before moving on to the next step.

4. Sand the Floor and clean up the dust as you go: Now for the fun part. Sand. Sand. Sand. Use a utility vacuum to suck up the heavy sawdust. There are several machines that can be used to sand the floor. Floor-buffing machines outfitted with sandpaper can do a fine job. A random orbital sander or a square sander can also be used. Drum Sanders are used almost exclusively by professionals; novice users can easily damage a floor with a drum sander by sanding too far into the wood. Regardless of the machine you decide to use, you will start with coarse sandpaper to remove the old finish and smooth the hardwood. Once the floor is bare and smooth, switch to a the recommended sandpaper grit to refine the smoothness of the hardwood.

5. Clean the floor: Once you have sanded the floor, to clean the floor, use a roller with mineral spirits or other hardwood floor cleaner before staining and applying polyurethane

6. Apply Stain: Once you have chosen the stain color, you can use a roller, or use an old rag, and a dry “buffing” rag to apply it. Wear rubber gloves. Start in the far corner of the room and work your way towards the door. Allow the floor to dry 24 hours before applying the Polyurethane.

7. Apply Polyurethane: Polyurethane is the finishing touch that gives the hardwood floor its deep shine and luster. There are oil-based and water-based polyurethane products; each has pros and cons. Be sure to read the directions thoroughly when determining which product to use, and make sure the room is well ventilated. Do not walk on, or move furniture into the room for 24 hours (refer to the instructions on the can of polyurethane).

In summary, these are the steps for restoring hardwood

  • Prepare the Room
  • Pull up the Carpet, Padding, tack strips, staples, nails
  • Scrape old padding and glue off the floor
  • Sand the floor
  • Clean the floor (if necessary)
  • Apply Stain
  • Apply Polyurethane

If you decide to tackle the job yourself, it can be done using the steps above. If you find you do not have the time or desire to do it, the flooring professionals at Just Around The Corner would be happy to take care of it for you.

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