If you have wood floors that are old and dull, look tired, have a worn finish, or you just want to spruce them up without spending a fortune, there is a way to do it yourself. You can do a whole room in less than a day, and this method will bring back the beauty of the grain and the character of the wood.
Expensive Professional Method
Professional refinishing of wood floors is extremely expensive and time consuming. The floors are usually sanded more than once. The finish is applied and allowed to dry then sanding begins again. This process can be repeated many times to achieve that mirror bright shine that many people are looking for. Of course, with this process you are losing a lot of the wood surface and wood floors can only be sanded down so many times before you have to replace them.
Inexpensive Do-it-yourself Method
There is another way to achieve a similar result with a lot less work and expense, as well as less actual wood loss from your floor. Simply use an electric palm sander (if you can operate one smoothly), or a simple hand sanding block. Make sure to keep the sandpaper in firm flat contact with the floor in order to prevent rutting the wood or causing rough spots.
1. Go over the entire floor with medium grit sandpaper. Sweep and mop with vinegar to remove all the sawdust. Wipe the floor down with mineral spirits and let it dry. (Wait about an hour.)
2. Repeat the same process with fine sandpaper. Sweep and then mop with vinegar and water. Apply the mineral spirits and allow the floor to dry.
3. Using a paintbrush, apply a thin coat of Tung Oil to the entire floor. Wait 5 minutes and wipe it down with a soft cloth (much like you polish furniture). It will remain slightly sticky for several hours.
4. Once it has completely dried, decide if you like the way it looks or whether you would like more shine. To get the floor shinier and protect it better, additional coats of Tung Oil may be applied after the previous one has dried. Always allow the previous coat to dry thoroughly before applying another.
One coat of Tung Oil will bring a deep rich color to the floor, but it will not be shiny. The more coats of Tung Oil you apply the shinier and more waterproof the floor will be. You can reapply Tung Oil at any time after cleaning the floor without any sanding being necessary.
This is an especially good method for very old antique, distressed and previously refinished floors that you do not want to have to replace. This method will allow you to salvage an old wood floor that a flooring professional would be advising you to replace. After all, old and distressed are all the fashion today, but distressed does not mean it cannot be beautiful while maintaining its antique character.