How To: Clean And Revive Wooden Floors

What you will need

  • Belt sander or floor sander
  • Small orbital or mouse sander
  • Sanding discs of various grades
  • Floor varnish
  • Roller
  • Wide paint brush
  • Hammer & nails (if required)
  • Wood filler (if required)
  • Safety goggles
  • Face mask
  • Vacuum cleaner


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  • 1 Clear the room of all furniture. As a lot of dust will be generated, use masking tape to seal the doors to other parts of the house.
  • 2 Examine the floor for any protruding nails, loose floorboards or small holes in the floor. Hammer in any protruding nails so they are flush with the floor; fix any loose boards in position; and fill any small holes with wood filler.
  • 3 If the area is small, you may be able to do the job with a portable belt sander.
  • 4 For larger floors it is advisable to hire a specially designed floor sander. Load the sander with a rough sanding sheet and start to remove the top layer of the existing stain. If floors are in good condition you may want to use medium grade grit. Start in one corner and work diagonally across the room. Make sure to sand the whole floor. Top Tip: make sure to wear your goggles and dust mask when sanding as there will be a lot of dust. Open any windows and external doors in the room.
  • 5 Vaccum the room and then sand the floor again at a right angle to the first sanding. Vacuum the room again.
  • 6 Then using a medium sheet, sand again, this time going in the direction of the floorboards. Vacuum the room again.
  • 7 Then sand a final time in the direction of the floorboards with a fine sheet and vacuum again. Note: The amount of times you need to sand and the grade of sandpaper you start with will depend on the condition of your wooden floor. In some instances, like previously varnished floors, it is possible to go straight to sanding in the direction of the floorboards with a medium or fine grade, just to provide a key for the varnish to adhere to.
  • 8 The floor should look dull, flat and clean when it is done.
  • 9 Vacuum the floor thoroughly after you’ve finished sanding. The room should be free of dust before sealing.
  • 10 Sand around edges and in corners using a small orbital or mouse sander. Top Tip: If possible leave the room for 24 hours after sanding to allow the dust to settle.
  • 11 Choose the type of floor varnish you wish to put on the floor. For a natural look a good option is Ronseal Clear Floor Varnish. For best results a minimum of 3 coats should be applied to ensure maximum durability.
  • 12 Using a wide brush or roller apply the varnish evenly painting in the direction of the wood grain. For best results apply to 3-4 floorboards at a time to avoid overlaps. Do not over-brush as this will spread the finish too thinly and affect performance.
  • 13 Plan how you will varnish the room to ensure that you finish the job at the door into the room.
  • 14 Before applying the final coat, lightly rub down with fine sandpaper and wipe over with a damp cloth then allow to dry. Do not use wire wool.
  • 15 The floor is ready to walk on after 8 hours but allow 72 hours before subjecting to heavy foot traffic.