How to Refinish Floors While Living at Home

By Cezar

Hardwood floors have a number of advantages, one of which is that they can be refinished multiple times throughout their lifespan. During floor refinishing, the top layer of your hardwood is sanded off, leaving unfinished wood flooring beneath. This floor can then be stained and a new finish applied. There are many reasons you might need to refinish your hardwood floors. Whether it’s to repair the damage, to change the stain, or just as part of your regular maintenance process, you might find yourself needing to renew your floor’s finish. Before it’s time to sand the floors, many homeowners ask: “Can I stay in my house while my floors are refinished?” The answer is usually yes. If you’d like to read about the best ways to prepare for and manage the refinishing process, read on!

Benefits of Refinishing Floors

Refinishing your floors brings about a myriad of advantages that extend beyond just the aesthetic aspect:

  • Enhanced Appearance: Refinishing floors revitalizes the wood, restoring its original beauty and lustre. It removes scratches, dents, and discolourations, giving your floors a fresh and new appearance.
  • Increased Home Value: A beautifully refinished floor is a significant asset, adding to the overall appeal and market value of your home. It attracts potential buyers, offering you a competitive edge in the real estate market.
  • Improved Durability: Proper refinishing bolsters the durability of your floors. It provides an additional layer of protection against wear and tear, ensuring your floors withstand the test of time and frequent use.
  • Cost-Efficient: Refinishing floors is far more affordable than replacing them entirely. It allows you to retain your existing flooring while giving it a complete makeover, saving both money and resources.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Refinishing your existing floors is an environmentally friendly option, as it reduces the demand for new wood and other related resources. It contributes to sustainability by minimizing waste and conserving natural resources.
  • Enhanced Comfort and Hygiene: A well-refinished floor is easier to clean and maintain. It offers a smooth, non-porous surface. This prevents dust, allergens, and microbes from gathering, leading to a healthier living environment.

Step-by-Step Floor Refinishing Guide

Embarking on the journey of refinishing your floors while living in the house involves several critical steps. Below is a more detailed step-by-step guide to ensure that the refinishing process goes smoothly and efficiently:

Choosing the Right Time

Timing is crucial. It’s essential to plan the project during a period where there’s minimal household disruption, possibly when family members are away, or during dry weather conditions which are optimal for the drying process.


Remove Furniture: Ensure to remove all furniture and other items from the area where work will take place. This action will prevent damage to your belongings and provide ample space for efficient work.
Clean the Floor: Spotless the floor, ensuring its free from dust, debris, or any other particles that might hinder the sanding process.
Repair Damages: Repair any visible damage, such as cracks, splinters, or loose boards, yourself. It helps in achieving a smooth, even finish and extends the longevity of your flooring.


Choose the Right Sander: Different floors may require different types of sanders. Ensure you decide one that is appropriate for your floor type. Research and consult experts if necessary.
Sanding Process: Sand the floor evenly, ensuring you remove all old finish and imperfections. Pay attention to corners and edges which might require manual sanding.


Select the Appropriate Stain: The choice of stain affects the final appearance of your floor. Decide a colour that complements your home’s decor and meets your aesthetic preferences.
Application: Apply the stain evenly on the floor and give it adequate time to dry. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is crucial in this step.


Select a Quality Sealer: A high-quality sealer will provide a durable finish, protecting your floor from damage and enhancing its appearance.
Application: Apply the sealer evenly according to the manufacturer’s instructions and allow it to dry completely.

After completing all the above steps, conduct a final inspection to ensure that every aspect is up to par. Check the floor for any missed spots, uneven staining or sealing, and other potential issues. Addressing these immediately ensures the longevity and beauty of your refinished floor.
Each step in the refinishing process plays a crucial role in ensuring the project’s success. Meticulous attention to detail, patience, and adherence to the recommended practices and products guarantees excellent results, transforming your living space and enhancing the overall ambience of your home.

Tips for Living in the House During the Process

Refinishing your floors while still living in the house can pose a challenge. However, with strategic planning and a bit of patience, completing the task efficiently is achievable. This approach will ensure minimal disruptions in your household. Below are some practical tips to help you manage the process:

Section Off the Area

— Use plastic sheeting or tarps to section off the area being worked on. It will help contain the dust and debris, keeping the rest of your home clean and livable.
— Ensure that the sectioned-off area is well-ventilated to expedite the drying process and mitigate fumes.

Coordinate with Your Schedule

— Plan the refinishing tasks around your schedule, ensuring they do not clash with your daily activities or routines.
— Consider the drying and curing times. You might need to avoid using the refinished area for a certain period.

Relocate Temporarily

— If possible, consider temporarily relocating essential furniture and activities to another part of the house.
— Create a makeshift living or sleeping area to avoid the inconvenience of the refinishing process.

Take Care of Pets and Children

— Ensure you keep pets and children away from the work area. Dust, debris, and fumes can harm them, and they can damage the wet finish.
— Plan activities for them away from the refinishing area, or consider temporary accommodation

Preparation and Clean-Up

— Be prepared for some amount of dust and debris. Have a cleaning plan in place for post-refinishing cleanup.
— Ensure all tools and materials are safely stored away at the end of each day to avoid accidents or mishaps.

Be Prepared for Noise and Disruption

— Refinishing tasks can be noisy, and machinery may cause disturbances. Be mentally prepared and plan accordingly.
— Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to mitigate the noise, and communicate with neighbours about the temporary disruption.

Safety Precautions

— Prioritize safety by using appropriate safety gear such as masks, gloves, and eye protection.
— Ensure the work area is adequately ventilated and take frequent breaks to avoid excessive exposure to fumes and dust.

By implementing these practical tips, you can effectively manage living in your house while the floor refinishing process is underway, ensuring safety, efficiency, and the utmost convenience throughout the project.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, refinishing floors while living in the house is manageable with correct planning and execution. Follow the outlined steps and tips for a smooth process. This approach will enhance the beauty and durability of your floors. It allows continuous living in your home with minimal disruption.

As you can ask anyone who’s stayed in the house during refinishing, it’s not necessarily fun! However, with a little preparation many of these issues can be overcome. Particularly for hardwood floor refinishing work, staying in the house is significantly easier than finding another place to live, and cheaper too!