Floor Refinishing Prep Work – Part 1

Floor Refinishing Prep Work hardwood floors

Today I am sharing our floor refinishing prep work! This January, we finally decided to tackle refinishing the floors! This isn’t a simple process, which is why we put it off so long, but I plan to share the entire process along the way!

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If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that we are in the process of refinishing our hardwood floors which means there is a lot of refinishing prep work! 

This March we will have lived in our home for 10 years, and this project has always been on my wish list. It’s such a huge and intimidating job that we kept putting it off, but in December we finally decided that 2022 would be the year!

Our home was built in the 1930’s, and we have beautiful red oak flooring. Over the years, however, the finish has not only been damaged in several areas, but it’s also yellowed tremendously over time. 

You can see in some of the photos below just how red/orange it looks now, and we’d love to neutralize those red tones with a different stain that will really show off the beautiful details in our hardwood floors. 

Orange toned flooring that needs to be prepped to refinish
Red Oak flooring in cottage style home to be refinished
Red Oak and Orange warm stain finish prior to floor refinishing prep and sanding

I plan on breaking this project up into three separate parts – floor refinishing prep work, sanding, and staining. It’s just so much information that I really didn’t want to cram it all into one blog post. I can’t wait to take you guys along!

Now those of you that know me (or my husband, for that matter), know that we never hire jobs out. Every single project in this home we have tackled ourselves, and the floors were no exception. 

Personally, I’m so glad we went the DIY route, and I’ll explain why in a future post. Today I want to talk about all of the prep work that is involved in refinishing your floors. 

Floor Refinishing Prep Work Step One – Move Everything Out 

The very first thing that needs to be done in order to prep for sanding is to move everything out. 

Now if you wanted to, you could rent a storage space or a U-haul for the duration of your project. We simply moved as much as we could into the downstairs bedrooms and sealed it off. 

With the doors closed and sealed, there was minimal dust that entered into the bedrooms. I was actually pretty pleased when all the sanding was done! 

Removing all items as part of floor refinishing prep process when refinishing floors

And since it’s January and I usually love to give the entire house a good deep clean this month, I didn’t mind a little bit of cleaning. As I bring things out of the bedroom and back into the main living areas, I will wipe everything down.

We ended up leaving larger items like our couch, the piano, our corner cabinet and our dining room table out since there was really no place to put them. We simply moved them from room to room as we worked, making sure they were protected with plastic, which leads me to step two!

Floor Refinishing Prep Work Step Two – Use Plastic Sheeting to Minimize Dust

So after moving everything out and vacuuming all of the floors, we decided to use plastic sheeting in order to minimize the spread of dust

Floor refinishing prep works covering items with plastic to prevent dust

We used painters tape and covered all of the entrance points, the television, the fireplace, even the windows. I didn’t want to take down my shades or blinds so I wanted those to be protected. 

Using painters tape and plastic to protect areas while refinishing floors

Like I said before, we also covered larger pieces of furniture with plastic as well. 

Do not be lazy with this step. Taking the time to tape everything off and hang plastic wherever necessary will save you so much time once you’re ready for clean up. I was so pleasantly surprised by how well the plastic stopped dust from spreading. 

Refinishing hardwood floors and the floor refinishing prep involved in the process

One area I wish I had used plastic was on my light fixtures – but honestly my fans and lights all need a good deep clean anyway and I knew that. They are just extra dirty now haha!

Floor Refinishing Prep Work Step Three – Removal of Baseboards

Once everything has been protected and covered, you’ll need to remove your baseboards so that you’re able to sand as close to the wall as possible. 

This is another tedious step, but it has to be done. My husband used a crowbar and a hammer to remover ours, and a lot of it was so damaged (our home is almost 100 years old) that it broke in pieces as he pulled it off. 

We are going to have to replace some of ours with new, and I will be sure to factor that into the cost once we are completely done with our floors, since a lot of you have asked how pricey this project is! He didn’t have to pull off the entire baseboard, just the quarter round at the base of ours. 

I forgot to snap photos of this part, but here’s a picture of our baseboards without the quarter round.

Removing baseboard as floor prep step before sanding and refinishing

Here’s a tip – do your best to keep track of where your baseboards fit after removing them so that i’t not a puzzle when you’re trying to reattach it all! Label them or organize them in a way that will be simple to remember. 

Organizing removed baseboard for when you need to replace it

Once your furniture is cleared out, you’ve hung plastic everywhere you can, and your baseboards are removed, your refinishing prep is done – it’s time to start sanding! Yay! The most exciting part. 

Taping off everything as part of floor refinishing prep to refinish

So if you are considering refinishing your floors like we are, be sure to remember these three floor refinishing prep steps, they are very important for a successful project:

  • Move everything out
  • Use plastic sheets to minimize dust
  • Remove the baseboards

As I type this, the floors are completely sanded. I can’t even believe how amazing they already look. I plan to share all about the sanding process next week – so stay tuned! 

And if you just can’t wait and you’d like to see a little more of the floor refinishing prep so far, I have some stories saved in a highlight over on Instagram! Thank you friends!

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Floor Refinishing Prep Work hardwood floors


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    1. How exciting! You are blessed to have old wood floors. I would love to live in an old house restored. It will seem like extra work with the floors being uneven but will be totally worth it in the end. I look forward to the next video!

  1. I’m so excited for you! Your floors have such beautiful character, the way each room kind of frames itself. So pretty! And thank you as always for “real life”! I love all the treasures you showed under your couch.😄 It’s always an interesting prospect when we do this at our house. The kids get so excited finding missing pieces.

  2. You are very brave to tackle this with all you have going on. Also very blessed with a husband who shared your vision.

  3. We had ours done the year before COVID. They are beautiful! It took us a full 7 days before we could get back into our downstairs floor. We stayed with our daughter for a week so it would be good and dry before moving back in. I didn’t put my rugs back down for an additional week. It will be tough in the winter for it to dry. Our floors were 30 years old at the time. Also, ours was done in the summer. Good luck and enjoy your new floors. I think I have a post on my website etsieandme.blogspot.com if you would like to see the process of ours.

  4. How exciting! What a great husband you have also. He tackles anything that comes his way. I can’t wait to see the end results. Thank you for sharing this!!!

  5. Thank you, I have just been searching for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have come upon till now. floor refinishing

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