Redo Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

60 Year Old Floors and Above, and How To Work With Them

For a long time, the knee-jerk reaction to fixing any issue with a wood floor was to sand it. Didn’t make any difference what the problem was, the solution was to sand it down. And while the floors were being sanded, there was always the question: “How many times can a floor be sanded?” Well folks, that question is being answered and believe me, a lot of homeowners don’t like what they are hearing.

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A Very Old Floor in Need of Restoring

Sandless Floor Refinishing

The majority of my work has been in old houses so I expect to see 100+ year old homes with heavily worn floors. But in recent years, I am seeing homes built in the 1930s and ‘40s with floors that can’t be sanded anymore because they have already lost too much wood. These are some of the most desirable homes, in the most desirable neighborhoods you will find in any city and their floors have lost more wood than homes twice their age! It is pretty disturbing to see a floor that is splitting and disintegrating because of unnecessary sanding. Take a look at the photo to the right if you need some proof. As a result of this wasting of fine old wood floors, I thought a war was in order; a war to save what wood remains in these old floors.

No Sanding Wood Floor Refinishing

Redo hardwood floors without sanding: that has been my philosophy. Sanding a floor is the absolute last option you want to pursue. You exhaust every option out there before you sand the floor. You recoat them. You use Passive Refinishing®. You use non-standard sanding equipment. You paint them. And in some cases, you just walk away from them and let that sleeping dog lie. Because losing an original old wood floor is losing the most significant original surface in the house. Period! And they can be a nightmare to replace.

100 Year Old Hardwood Floors: Redo Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

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Drum sanders can destroy your old 100 year floor.

I strongly recommend that if you own a home that is over 60 years old you do not hire a crew that uses the standard means of sanding a wood floor. Their only machinery can’t just be the belt or drum sander and the edger. These machines will literally melt the old, brittle wood floors. And they are going to do the work as quickly as possible because that is how they have been trained to work. There is little, if any, concern for how much or little wood is removed. The focus is on “getting in and getting out” as quickly as possible. It is a no-win situation for you and your old wood floor. Just redo hardwood floors without sanding!

So do yourself, your home and your wood floors a favor. Don’t assume that you have plenty of wood to spare. If the house was built before 1950, you probably don’t. Make sure that any contractor you hire (a) has a track record of working on older homes and (b) has equipment other than the traditional machines that take too much wood off. Your home is an important investment and you want to manage and steward it well. Let’s make sure your wood floors are an asset, not a liability.