How to Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

By Cezar

One of the most time-consuming aspects of restoring hardwood floors is the sanding. The process of sanding can also damage your hardwood floors. If you refinish your hardwood floors too many times, in fact, you can harm them irreparably.

Are there any alternatives? Read on to find out.

Can I Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding?

Yes, you can restore hardwood floors without sanding. In many cases, it’s the better alternative, anyway. A full restoration is only really necessary if your hardwood floors are significantly worn, stained, or damaged.

There are multiple alternatives you can use to restore hardwood floors. In the following sections, we’ll explore some of them.

Buffing and Recoating Your Hardwood Floors

This is one of the best methods you can use to restore hardwood floors without sanding. Rather than sanding the hardwood floors, with this method you abrade them before refinishing. Follow the steps below to restore hardwood floors without sanding:

  • Ensure that the previous finish on your hardwood floors wasn’t wax. Buffing and recoating hardwood floors with a wax finish will create distortions and unsightly bubbles. To check this, wipe a small spot on your hardwood floors with thinner or mineral spirits. Rub the spot with a white rug or other white material that you don’t mind staining. If material turns brown or yellow, the previous finish might have been wax. If you determine that the previous finish was wax, you’ll need to use a buffing machine to polish your hardwood floors. If the previous finish was not wax, then go ahead with buffing and recoating.
  • After checking the previous finish to make sure it wasn’t wax, you can now clear your room of furniture, carpets, and anything else on the hardwood floors. Fill holes with wood putty. Remember to allow some time for the putty to dry.
  • Next, sweep the hardwood floors and hammer down any nails that are protruding above the surface. Use a commercial wood cleaner to mop. Let the water dry.
  • Lightly abrade your hardwood floors to remove imperfections. You can do this with a buffing machine or by hand. If you use the buffing machine, do so lightly and carefully.
  • Vacuum the hardwood floors. Do not sweep, as dust might get trapped in cracks in the floor. Vacuum with soft bristles if you have the option.
  • Now we get to the real meat of restoring hardwood floors without sanding: applying the finish or lacquer. You may want to use a respirator to save yourself from noxious vapors. Apply the lacquer or finish and let it dry for 3 hours or more.
  • After the first coat has dried, apply a second.
  • Wait a few days for things to fully dry. Then you can move your furniture back into the room.

This is one of the most popular methods for wood floor refinishing without sanding. It’s not the only option to restore hardwood floors without sanding, though. Let’s discuss another.

Chemical Restoration of Hardwood Floors

The chemical restoration of hardwood floors is another method for restoration without sanding. For this, you’ll need a chemical etching kit.

This method is best for hardwood floors that are not too badly scratched or worn. You don’t have to sand or buff. This method also won’t work on floors with a wax finish.

  • Buy a refinishing kit from your local hardware store or home center or buy one online.
  • Get the items that your kit requires, which most likely will be a shop vacuum, a paint tray, painter’s tape, shoe cover, abrasive pads, a sponge mop, a paintbrush, and possibly other materials.
  • Clean the floor thoroughly.
  • Apply liquid etcher with your device’s abrasive pad to roughen the floor surface.
  • Mop the floor with a solution of two tablespoons of liquid dishwasher to one-gallon warm water to neutralize the etcher.
  • Smooth out scratches by applying matching stain with an artist’s brush. Use a hairdryer to dry them and use the finish that comes with your kit to seal them.
  • Use your kit’s applicator pad to apply finish. Follow your particular kit’s instructions.


Sanding floors is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Fortunately, there are alternatives to finishing hardwood floors that don’t require sanding. Unless your floor is badly damaged, the alternatives presented here will probably be all you need.

Of course, there’s no shame in your deciding to hire professionals to do the work for you. Flooring experts work more efficiently than amateurs every could and know how to do the work safely and effectively. Consider checking out a pro if the work above sounds too intensive or too complicated. Many wise people choose that route!

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.

Get a Free In-Home Consultation & Estimation from one of our flooring experts

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