Alternatives to Refinishing Hardwood Floors

By Cezar

Hardwood floors give a room its character, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the state of those hardwood floors. That’s why many people look into refinishing. The problem is that refinishing hardwood floors can be more expensive than some people are willing to spend.

Fortunately, there are easy and affordable ways to revitalize your hardwood floors without fully refinishing them. Read on to learn how.

Sandless Refinishing

With sandless refinishing, a flooring professional (or, in some cases, brave do-it-yourselfers) screen/buff hardwood floors and apply a coat of polyurethane. The impact to the floor is much less than with sanding, involving only a light scuffing. In addition to this method being cheaper and less intensive on your floors, it has another benefit in creating far less dust than sanding done.

Sandless refinishing is more of a touch up to hardwood floors than a serious overhaul like refinishing is. It’s a good revitalizer for old, dull floors, or floors with minor problems such as paint splatter or light stains.

Sandless refinishing can’t fix scratches, deep dents, sun fade, or pet stains that have set too long. It also doesn’t remove strip away old stain or finish, so you can’t apply new colour to your floor, if that’s what you want.

Sandless refinishing is one of the best of the easy and affordable ways to revitalize hardwood floors, but it’s only effective on goods that are in generally good condition and need a minor spruce-up.

Also, sandless refinishing is a good option for floors that are too thin for full sanding. Hardwood floors can only be refinished so many times before they’re worn too thin. At that point, sandless refinishing can be a good option.

While this method isn’t as intensive as doing a full refinishing with the sanding that comes with it, it’s still a job that some people opt to hire pros for.

Buffing and Recoating

Buffing and recoating is also sometimes called “screening and recoating.” Whichever term is used, it involves using a buffer with a mesh sanding screen or abrasive pad to abrade the finish on a hardwood floor in order to prep it for a new coat of finish.

Like sandless refinishing, this method has limited effectiveness and is best suited to floors with minor damage. Rather than working on the wood itself, you’re really just replacing the finish.

In addition to this being one of the easy and affordable ways to revitalize your floors without a full refinishing, it’s one of the easiest. It doesn’t require any sanding, and as anyone who has refinished floors will tell you, sanding is the most labor-intensive, messy, and difficult part.

If you go this route, take time to pick the finish that’s right for you. Not all finish is equal either in terms of quality or final appearance, so do a little research before settling on which finish you use.

Use a Chemical Abrasion Kit

Chemical abrasion kits can be purchased readily from home improvement stores or websites. This method involves etching away old finish with the chemical in the kit. The etching process prepares the floor to receive a new coat of finish. It doesn’t require any sanding, which is a major bonus.

To use this method, start by clearing the room of any furniture and then cleaning the floor. Apply the liquid in the abrasion kit with an abrasive pad attached to a broom handle, or simply applied by hand. Follow that by cleaning the floor with water mixed with two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid.

If you’re applying stain to the floor, now is the time you’ll do it. There is no sanding involved. You use the chemical to etch the finish away, but don’t do any sanding to the exposed wood.

Now, you apply the finish.

Applying a Revitalizer

Applying revitalizer is probably the most DIY-friendly option of this list. A revitalizer is a chemical designed to, well, revitalize your hardwood floors (duh). This process no sanding or application of new finish. You simply start by cleaning your floor with microfiber, mopping, and then applying the revitalizer.

There is some care involved. You have to be careful to spread the revitalizer evenly. Open windows while doing the work to prevent inhaling too much of the fumes. Wait for about 24 hours (follow the directions on the revitalizer you choose), and you’re done.

This method can give beautiful colour to your hardwood floors without the need for sanding or applying new finish. A little bit of cleaning before and after the process is about all the labor it takes.


If you want to bring some zest back to your hardwood floors but don’t want to break the bank to do it, follow the easy, affordable alternatives described above. If your hardwood floors are more damaged than is appropriate for the methods listed above, consider contacting a professional refinisher. The cost might not be as high as you think, and there are ways that you can mitigate it.

Whichever solution is right for you, we wish you the best of luck with your home-improvement effort. You will be surprised at how much a new coat of finish can improve the feeling of your home.

There is no “one size fits all” solution here! Each wood floor and its condition are unique. We will provide you with the best and most cost-efficient solution for your floors.

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As a general rule, professionally refinished hardwood floors last 5 times longer vs DIY.