Ultimate Guide to Hardwood Flooring

Finishing the Floor

Installing hardwood floors on your own can be an arduous task. You may not want to make your job any harder by deciding to finish the floor yourself, too. Remember, you can always use pre-finished wood. But if you'd rather do it all yourself, you can get a professional look on your own. It just takes planning.

Here's a quick list of what you need to do to finish the floor yourself.


  • Let the wood rest at the site before attempting to finish it.
  • Prepare the room by sealing off doorways with plastic. This will help maintain a consistent temperature and level of humidity.
  • Hardwood floors need to be sealed on all sides. You may want to pre-coat areas that you won't be able to reach after installation. You don't need to seal the back of strip flooring, but it is recommended for wide plank flooring.
  • Hardwood floors require a minimum of three sandings. Each one with increasingly finer grades of sandpaper. Make sure you sweep and vacuum up dust thoroughly after each sanding.
  • Apply stain generously with a brush or rag. Let the stain sink in and then remove the excess.
  • Brush on the finish coat when the stain is dry. Let it dry according to the product's directions.
  • Sand the floor with 150-to-180 grit sandpaper, steel wool or an abrasive pad. Then, wipe the surface clean.
  • Sand, clean and coat the floors again. It usually takes multiple coats to get the look you want.