Can You Restain Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors add value to your home and provide a classic appearance with any design. However, they are prone to tear and wear and may appear dull, plain, and uninviting after some time.

If your hardwood floor appearance is far from pristine, it might be time to refinish them. Restaining your hardwood floor is a great way to spruce up your home and make it feel brand new without installing new flooring.

I have had a lot of questions about restaining hardwood floors and thought it would be best to answer them in one post.

So the first question is Can you restain hardwood floors?

Can you Restain Hardwood Floors?

The short answer is yes. Restaining is a great way to make the material look brand new without installing new flooring. Restaining will give it a pop of color and provide an extra layer of protection from elements. In addition, the paint odor repels insects and protects the wood from dust and moisture.

Restaining requires roughing up the floor first before applying a new finish. Instead of using an abrasive liquid, you will rent a buffer from the nearest home improvement store. Buffing roughs the surface to get rid of the existing finish allowing the new finish to bond better with the hardwood floor

How to Restain Hardwood Floors

  1. Prepare the area by removing rugs, all the furniture, and other items in the room and sweep the floor. Remove all the dust and debris, as it may affect how the finish sticks to the surface. Take note of areas with a stripped finish, dents, or deep scratches and repair them.
  2. Check for the existing finish and remove it. You can use sandpaper or sander to remove the current finish and stain. The process involves stripping the wood down to its natural state. The process should be carefully done to avoid excessive sanding in one area.
  3. Again, clean the floor area to remove the dust or debris left after sanding. Sweep or vacuum the area. You can also use a damp mop or cloth to wipe the floor and allow it to dry thoroughly.
  4. Sunk the protruding nails properly, as they can damage the buffer.
  5. Apply the new stain. First, determine a stain colour that will match your desired outcome. Use a brush or rag to apply the stain following the manufacturer’s instructions. Begin stain application from the corner of your room towards the exit to avoid stepping on the wet paint.
  6. After stain application, use a clean rug or cloth to remove any excess stain not absorbed by the wood. The step is instrumental to achieving an even color.
  7. Allow the stain to dry before using the floor. The drying time is included in the instructions given by the manufacturers. Also, ensure the room is well-ventilated during the drying time. Often, the drying time is between 24-48 hours.
  8. Add a protective finish. The finish is applied once the stain is dry. The finish may include varnish or polyurethane, which helps seal the wood and protect it from wear and tear. Also, be sensitive to the manufacturer’s instructions on applying the finish.
  9. Allow the finish to cure. The finish should be given sufficient time to cure before removing the furniture or allowing heavy foot traffic. The curing time will depend on the type of finish you have used and the prevailing weather conditions.

Can you Restain Hardwood Floors Darker?

 YES. When you refinish your floor, you can change the color of your flooring. Hardwood floors can be made darker, lighter, redder, or anywhere. The solid hardwood is first sanded and refinished in a different stain for a different appearance.

How to Refinish Wood Floors

If your floor has minor scratches or a dull finish, you can add a new coat of varnish. However, if your floors need a complete makeover, refinishing hardwood is manageable, and you can do it yourself. Follow the following steps to refinish your hardwood floors with a professional quality result.

Tools and materials Needed 

  • Spackle knife
  • Belt floor sander
  • Edger sander
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Painters tape
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Wood filler
  • Spackle knife
  • Respirator mask, 
  • 40, 60, 80, and 120 grit sandpaper
  • Sanding pole
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Smooth foam roller, polyurethane

Step 1: Prepare the room

Remove all the furniture, window treatment, and cover vents and electrical boxes with painter’s tape to prevent dust from getting into ducts. You can also use plastic sheeting to cover doors if you only refinish one room. Finally, use a pry bar to remove base molding gently and needle-nosed pliers to remove any nails and staples and nail loose boards.

Step 2: Patch and Repair

Check for cracks and holes on the floor. Repair the cracks using a wood filler and a spackle knife. Use a trowel filler or a thinner wood filler that spreads and covers a larger area if your floor is heavily damaged. Let the filler dry out completely and wipe the floor with a damp rag to remove debris and dust. Allow it to dry completely before sanding.

Step 3: Sand the floor

Start sanding with heavy-duty 40 grit sandpaper to remove scratches, ding, and old finish, but it will leave behind a course surface. Instead, move with the wood grain, and work in 3 to 4-foot sections. Move across the floor at a slow, steady pace, as stopping can create a permanent mark on the floor. Each piece of sandpaper will be good for about 20 square feet. Check it regularly and change the sandpaper whenever it appears worn.

Use a different sander on the room edges. Use the same grit sandpaper on the edge sander to sand up to the wall. Repeat the same process with 60, 80, and 120 grit paper on both drum sander and edge sander, with each round revealing a smoother surface. Vacuum and wipe dust the floor from each step

Step 4: Buff the floor

Buff the floor removes tiny sanding marks giving it a completely smooth finish. You can use a pole sander or rent an industrial floor buffer. Buff the floor along each board, moving back and forth with each grain using a 120 grit sanding screen.

Step 5: Prepare for sealer or stain

Any small sand, hair, or dust will affect your finish; hence wipe down walls to prevent dust from falling to the floor as the finish dries. For the stain to penetrate the wood evenly, use the ‘water popping’ technique. Mix a solution of one part denatured alcohol to two parts alcohol. Spray the floor using a pump sprayer, covering the floor completely. Run a mop over the floor to evenly distribute the solution. The process causes the wood to rise and better accept the stain, allowing the floor to dry for about 30 minutes.

Step 6: Apply the stain

This is an optional process. If you want to change the color of the wood, add a stain. You can pick an oil-based stain in the color of your choice. Ensure the room is properly ventilated. Dip the staining sponge in the stain and wring out excess liquid. Work from a far corner towards the door.

Step 7: Seal the floor

Sealing protects the floor from water damage and scratches and adds luster and shine to bring out the beauty of the wood. Polyurethane is the most used hardwood sealer available in water and oil. Apply the polyurethane with a smooth sponge roller and use a paintbrush around the edges. The polyurethane requires multi coats; let the product dry completely and buff the floor between the coats.

Can you Change the Color of your Hardwood Floors?

Yes. You can change your hardwood floors to any colour you desire by staining, painting, or refinishing them. Hardwood floors can be made lighter, darker, redder, or any other colour that will complement your room’s interior or design. However, you must prepare the floor first and sand the wood surface before you apply the new stain.  

Moreover, if it is your first time intending to change the color of your wood floor, you can adopt the below methods based on your desired outcome and the condition of the existing floor.

Consider the below Methods to change the color of your wood floors.

  1. Staining– if you have hardwood floors, staining is one of the most convenient and easy ways to change their colours. You can achieve your desired look by choosing from various stain colours. However, before you apply the new stain to your floor, you must sand down the existing finish to expose the bare wood. Then, use a rag or brush following the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the new stain. Allow the paint to dry, and apply a protective finish like polyurethane to seal the wood.
  2. Refinishing– this method will be a perfect choice if you want to change the color of your wood floors entirely or when they are severely worn out. Like staining, this method also involves sanding the existing finish, removing imperfections, and cleaning the floor by vacuuming or sweeping before applying a new stain or finish. Once you have applied the stain of choice, finish the process by adding a protective finish.
  3. Painting– This is another excellent way to change the color of your hardwood floor. Painting is a more drastic approach that will entirely cover the natural grain of your hardwood. However, the process involves cleaning, sanding, and priming the floor before you apply the paint. Choose a high-quality floor paint and apply it multiple coats while allowing for the drying time between every application to enhance your hardwood floor’s durability.

However, you must be sure that you want to use the painting method as it is a long-term commitment that removing over a short time can be challenging and costly. However, it offers a perfect option to change your hardwood floors’ colours.

Typically, changing hardwood floor colours is essential when you want to improve your home or floor appearance and provide it with that new look.

Other methods, like painting, can be time-consuming and challenging if you are doing it for the first time. Consult an expert to realize the desired outcome if unsure of the process. However, with proper guidance on how to paint hardwood floors and following the manufacturer’s instructions, you can effectively perform the process and saves on time and costs of hiring a professional or expert.

Changing hardwood floor colours can be one way to maintain longevity or enhance durability.

Can you use acetone on hardwood floors and restain

Most modern hardwood floor finishes cure as they dry; hence you can’t strip them with acetone. The installers used shellac or varnish on the past floor as a finish. You can soften them by moistening them with a solvent like acetone and stripping them when soft, but doing so isn’t the best way to go.

What can you do with old wood floors?

The wood flooring is environmentally friendly and extremely durable. The old floors can be used as bench tops, table tops, wall shelves, laundry room countertops, or Christmas ornaments, and you can also turn the old frames into coastal wall art.

How long does refinishing hardwood floors take?

You will need to vacate your premises when refinishing your floors because you can’t walk on the finish while it’s wet. Sanding the floor may take a day or two, but the stain in the three coats of finish will need to dry before another coat completely. Depending on your product and weather, each coat can take several hours or days to dry. Thus, you will require at least two days for the sand and poly task, three to seven days for the full refinishing project, and another day if you’re adding color. 

The below video shows how to sand and refinish hardwood floors.

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

Q1. Can you restain hardwood floors a different color?

If your floor has a deep rich color, it’s not the wood’s original color. Having your floor screened and polyed won’t affect the stain, and if you’re doing full refinishing, the stain will be removed in the process, making the appearance much lighter. You can stain it to its original color or choose a new color. Grey, white and chocolate brown are amongst the most popular choices today. 

Q2. Can you restain hardwood floors without sanding them?

It would be best if you sanded the hardwood floor to restain or change the color of your floor. However, you cannot just add stain or paint on finished floors. It will not look good and won’t last. The appearance is not attractive, and the stain will peel off.

Q3. How much does it cost to change the color of hardwood floors?

If you plan on DIY-ing your hardwood floor, you will use less than $ 500 per square foot. The average range tends to be between $1000 to $2000. The total cost includes renting sanding equipment, and purchasing sanding pads, wood stain, brushes, and finish. 

Q4. Is it cheaper to restain hardwood floors or replace them with vinyl?

It is more expensive to replace the hardwood floor with vinyl than restaining. When considering refinishing or replacing a hardwood floor, price is the first thing people consider. The truth is, it’s always cheaper to refinish your floor than to replace them.

Q5. Can you restain oak hardwood floors a different color

The answer is YES. You can change the color of hardwood flooring when you finish your floors. You can go light, dark, red, or anywhere in between. Staining, refinishing, or painting the flooring color can be changed.

Q6. How much does it cost to change the color of wood flooring?

Wood flooring costs between $3-$8 per square foot to change the colour. As such, a single bedroom could cost you between $300-$800, while a whole home would range between $2400-$6000. The price variations are affected by factors like wood size, the size of the area to be refinished, the condition of the existing flooring, and your preference’s specific colour and finish.

Also, this cost could be affected by labour costs that vary with your location and the expertise of the professionals you hire.


Restaining your hardwood floor is a manageable and rewarding do-it-yourself job that can save a lot of money. 

Restaining wood floors is essential to bring back the original value and aesthetic appeal. However, the process can be labour-intensive and time-consuming. As such, if you are unsure of handling the project by yourself, you can hire a professional flooring contractor with the equipment and needed expertise to accomplish the desired results.

The processes we have illustrated in the article are, however, easy to follow and execute. It will help save you the time and costs of hiring a professional. We hope this helps. Regards!

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