How to Restore Hardwood Floors in Milwaukee, WI

How to Restore Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a timeless and elegant choice for any home, but over time, they can become worn, scratched, and dull. Restoring your hardwood floors can breathe new life into your living space and increase the value of your property.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of restoring your hardwood floors, from preparation to the final finish.

Preparation: Setting the Stage for Success

The first step in restoring your hardwood floors is proper preparation. This involves clearing the room of all furniture and thoroughly cleaning the surface. Use a hardwood flooring cleaner or a mix of water and vinegar to remove any dirt, debris, or old finish. Be sure to close all windows and doors to contain the dust generated during the sanding process.

Sanding: Smoothing the Surface

Sanding is the key to achieving a flawless finish on your hardwood floors. Start by hand-sanding the perimeter and any areas that the buffer can’t reach, using 180-grit sandpaper. This will ensure a smooth transition between the sanded and unsanded areas.

Next, use a buffer with a maroon buffing pad to sand the main floor area. Move the buffer side to side, following the direction of the wood grain. Vacuum the floor periodically to remove any dust and debris, as this will help ensure a smooth, even finish.

Read more: Can You Use a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors?

Applying the Finish: Protecting and Enhancing

Once the sanding is complete, it’s time to apply the finish. You can choose between a water-based polyurethane or an oil-based finish, depending on your personal preference and the specific needs of your hardwood floors.

Water-based polyurethane is a popular choice as it dries quickly, is low in odor, and provides a clear, durable finish. Oil-based finishes, on the other hand, offer a richer, more traditional look and tend to be more durable over time.

Regardless of the finish you choose, it’s important to apply a base coat before the final finish. This will help prevent discoloration and ensure a consistent, even appearance.

Cost Considerations: Balancing DIY and Professional Services

Restoring hardwood floors can be a significant investment, but the benefits often outweigh the costs. DIY refinishing can cost around $500 per 275 square feet, which is significantly cheaper than replacing the floors entirely.

The costs associated with DIY refinishing include:

ItemApproximate Cost
Renting sanding equipment$50 – $100
Sanding pads$20 – $50
Wood stain$20 – $50
Brushes$10 – $20
Finish (polyurethane or oil-based)$30 – $100

If you’re not comfortable tackling the project yourself, you can hire a professional hardwood floor refinishing service. The cost for professional services can range from $3 to $8 per square foot, depending on the size of the project, the complexity of the work, and your location.

Benefits of Restoring Hardwood Floors

Restoring your hardwood floors offers a range of benefits that can enhance your living space and increase the value of your home.

  1. Aesthetic Appeal: Refinishing your hardwood floors can restore their natural beauty and luster, transforming the look and feel of your home.
  2. Increased Home Value: Well-maintained hardwood floors are a highly desirable feature for homebuyers, and can significantly increase the value of your property.
  3. Improved Indoor Air Quality: Refinishing your floors can remove old finishes, allergens, and other contaminants, improving the overall air quality in your home.
  4. Durability: A properly refinished hardwood floor can last for decades, providing a long-lasting and low-maintenance solution for your home.
  5. Cost-Effective: Compared to the cost of replacing your floors, refinishing can be a more affordable option that preserves the existing hardwood.

DIY vs. Professional Refinishing: Weighing the Options

Deciding whether to tackle the hardwood floor restoration project yourself or hire a professional can be a challenging decision. Here are some factors to consider:

DIY Refinishing:

  • Cost-Effective: Doing it yourself can save you a significant amount of money compared to hiring a professional.
  • Hands-On Experience: Refinishing your floors can be a rewarding DIY project that allows you to learn new skills.
  • Time-Consuming: The sanding and finishing process can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, especially for larger areas.

Professional Refinishing:

  • Expertise: Experienced professionals have the knowledge and skills to achieve a high-quality, long-lasting finish.
  • Time-Saving: Hiring a professional can save you the time and effort of doing the work yourself.
  • Warranty: Many professional services offer a warranty on their work, providing added peace of mind.

Ultimately, the decision to DIY or hire a professional will depend on your budget, the size of your project, your DIY experience, and your personal preferences.

Maintaining Your Restored Hardwood Floors

Proper maintenance is key to preserving the beauty and longevity of your restored hardwood floors. Here are some tips to keep your floors looking their best:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Sweep or vacuum your floors regularly to remove dirt and debris. Avoid using water or harsh cleaners, as they can damage the finish.
  2. Protective Mats: Place area rugs or floor mats in high-traffic areas to protect your floors from wear and tear.
  3. Furniture Pads: Use felt pads or coasters under furniture legs to prevent scratches and dents.
  4. Reapply Finish: Reapply a fresh coat of polyurethane or oil-based finish every two years or when the floor starts to look worn.
  5. Professional Maintenance: Consider having your floors professionally maintained every few years to ensure they continue to look their best.

By following these maintenance tips, you can extend the life of your restored hardwood floors and enjoy their beauty for years to come.


Restoring your hardwood floors is a rewarding project that can transform the look and feel of your home. Whether you choose to tackle the job yourself or hire a professional, the benefits of a beautifully refinished floor are undeniable. From increased home value to improved indoor air quality, the investment in restoring your hardwood floors is one that can pay dividends for years to come.

So, if your hardwood floors are looking a little worse for wear, don’t hesitate to take on the restoration project. With the right preparation, sanding, and finishing techniques, you can breathe new life into the heart of your home and enjoy the timeless beauty of your hardwood floors for many years to come.

MKE Bathroom Remodeling is a family-owned and operated company that has been transforming bathrooms in Milwaukee for decades. They offer a comprehensive design-build approach, ensuring seamless project management from start to finish. Their team is known for attention to detail, excellent communication, and high-quality workmanship in hardwood flooring installation and refinishing.


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