Alternatives to Refinishing Hardwood Floors

By Cezar

Hardwood floors possess a unique charm that can greatly enhance the character of any room. However, their appeal can be compromised depending on their condition. Many individuals contemplate refinishing their hardwood floors to restore their allure, but the cost involved can deter some people from pursuing this option.

Fortunately, there are accessible and budget-friendly alternatives to fully refinishing your hardwood floors. Read on to discover various methods to revitalize your hardwood floors without undertaking a complete refinishing project.

Sandless Refinishing

Sandless refinishing involves lightly buffing or screening the hardwood floors and applying a coat of polyurethane. Unlike traditional sanding methods, this process minimally affects the floor’s surface while providing a rejuvenated look. Moreover, sandless refinishing generates significantly less dust compared to conventional sanding techniques.

While sandless refinishing is not a comprehensive solution like refinishing, it effectively revitalizes old, lackluster floors or addresses minor issues such as paint splatters or light stains. However, it cannot repair deep scratches, dents, sun fading, or stubborn pet stains. Additionally, sandless refinishing does not strip away the existing stain or finish, making it unsuitable for those seeking to apply a new color to their floors.

This method is particularly useful for floors that are too thin to undergo full sanding. Over time, hardwood floors become susceptible to wear and tear, limiting the number of times they can be refinished. When your floors reach this point, sandless refinishing becomes an excellent alternative.

While sandless refinishing requires less effort than a complete refinishing project, some individuals may still prefer hiring professionals to ensure a satisfactory outcome.

Sandless Refinishing

Buffing and Recoating

Buffing and recoating, sometimes referred to as “screening and recoating,” involves using a buffer equipped with a mesh sanding screen or abrasive pad to abrade the existing finish on hardwood floors, preparing them for a fresh coat of finish. Similar to sandless refinishing, this method is best suited for floors with minor damage and primarily focuses on replacing the finish rather than addressing the wood itself.

This technique offers one of the simplest and most affordable ways to revitalize your floors without undertaking a full refinishing project. Unlike sanding, it does not require the labor-intensive and messy process of sanding, making it an appealing option for many. When opting for this method, take the time to select a finish that aligns with your preferences, considering both quality and final appearance.

Using a Chemical Abrasion Kit

Chemical abrasion kits are readily available at home improvement stores or online. This method involves using the chemical solution provided in the kit to etch away the old finish, preparing the floor for a fresh coat of finish. The significant advantage of this technique is that it eliminates the need for sanding.

To utilize this method, start by clearing the room of furniture and thoroughly cleaning the floor. Apply the liquid from the abrasion kit using an abrasive pad attached to a broom handle or by hand. Follow this step by cleaning the floor with a mixture of water and two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid.

If desired, apply stain to the floor at this stage. Note that sanding is not involved, as the chemical etches the finish away without exposing the wood surface.

Finally, apply the chosen finish to complete the process.

Applying a Revitalizer

Applying a revitalizer is perhaps the most do-it-yourself-friendly option on this list. A revitalizer is a chemical solution designed to revive the appearance of hardwood floors. This method requires no sanding or application of a new finish.

Let’s explore how you can easily revitalize your hardwood floors using a revitalizer:

  1. Prepare the Surface

Before applying the revitalizer, ensure that the floor is free from any dust, dirt, or debris. Begin by thoroughly cleaning the floor using a soft microfiber cloth or mop. This step ensures that the revitalizer adheres effectively to the surface and maximizes its revitalizing impact.

  1. Apply the Revitalizer

Following the instructions provided with the revitalizer, apply the solution evenly across the hardwood floor. Take care to spread the revitalizer in a consistent manner, ensuring that every part of the floor receives the treatment. This step can be accomplished by using a clean cloth, mop, or applicator recommended by the revitalizer manufacturer.

  1. Ventilation and Drying Time

During the application process, it is important to maintain proper ventilation in the room. Open windows or doors to allow fresh air to circulate and prevent the accumulation of fumes. After applying the revitalizer, allow the floor to dry completely. Follow the specified drying time mentioned in the instructions to achieve optimal results.

  1. Enjoy the Refreshed Floors

Once the revitalizer has dried, you can enjoy the renewed appearance of your hardwood floors. The revitalizer effectively restores the natural beauty and luster of the wood, enhancing the overall ambiance of the room. It’s remarkable how a simple application of the revitalizer can breathe new life into your flooring.

Remember, each revitalizer may have specific instructions and recommendations, so be sure to carefully read and follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer. With a little time and attention, you’ll be amazed at the remarkable transformation and the renewed charm your hardwood floors will exude. Enjoy your revitalized space!


By choosing one of these alternatives, you can transform the appearance of your hardwood floors with minimal effort and achieve impressive results. Whether you opt for sandless refinishing, buffing and recoating, using a chemical abrasion kit, or applying a revitalizer, you can revitalize your floors and give your space a fresh, updated look.