Sanding down to your floors’ bare wood takes time and money, but refinishing the floor is simpler and less pricey. You can have new-looking floors in just a few hours of work.

Here are some steps to help you transform your hardwood floors:

  1. Clean up the floor

Take the furniture out of the room, and apply a hardwood flooring cleaner. Then, wipe the floor using a terry-cloth mop. Be sure to close the windows and doors to keep dust trapped in the room you will sand.

  1. Get the perimeter ready

Using your hands, sand the perimeter of the room with 180-grit sandpaper. Sand the grain 4 to 6 inches from the baseboard until the finish has dulled and a powder forms.

  1. Sand the Finish

Put on a dust mask, and apply a maroon buffing pad to the buffer. Move the buffer across the floor in the direction of the grain, and overlap each run by 6 inches. Be sure to keep the buffer moving, but pause every 5 minutes to vacuum the pad.

  1. Vacuum, then tack

Leave the room to let the powder settle – give it about 10 to 15 minutes. Insert a clean filter in the vacuum, then sweep the floor with a felt-bottomed attachment. Move across the floor to get any powder that may have settled between the floor boards. Then, dry-tack the floor using a microfiber cloth, moving with the grain.

  1. Cut the edges

Put booties over your shoes and a respirator with organic vapor canisters over your mouth. Strain the finish into a clean plastic watering can and pour some of the finish into a small plastic container. Using a brush, coat a 3-inch stripe beside the baseboards. Stop after 10 minutes and go to the next step to prevent lap marks.

  1. Apply the poly

Keeping in mind how much you can spread in 10 minutes, pour out a 1-inch-wide stripe of finish in line with the grain. Use a roller with a long handle and ¼ inch nap cover to roll the finish with the grain. Overlap the passes and work quickly. After 10 minutes. Apply more finish along the edge of your stopping point and pour and roll again for another 10 minutes. Continue until floor is covered. Wait at least 3 hours before recoating and 1 week before moving the furniture back in.