If you bought a home with hardwood flooring that the previous owner decided to paint, and you hate the look of painted hardwood floors, then you can always strip off the ugly paint and refinish the hardwood back to its original glory. While hardwood floor refinishing projects are never quick, simple, or without some serious physical labor, you can refinish the floors yourself if you choose.
If you've decided to strip off the paint and redo the painted floors, then follow this procedure:
Step 1: Test Your Paint Stripper on the Closet's Floor
When working with vintage hardwood flooring, it's vital you test your paint stripper in a closet or other inconspicuous location. If something goes wrong, then the damage will be behind your closed closet door where no one can see it, or you can replace the closet's flooring. It isn't so simple if you test the floor stripping agent in the middle of your living room floor, and something goes wrong.
Step 2: Strip the Paint Off With a Chemical Paint Stripping Agent Designed for Hardwood Flooring
Before you start sanding the hardwood floors, first you need to strip off all of the paint. While you can technically sand it off, the project will go a lot smoother and faster if you strip it with a chemical stripping agent. When you purchase the paint stripper, make sure you get one designed specifically for use with hardwood flooring and then follow the directions very carefully.
Step 3: Sand with an Orbital Floor Sander
Once the majority of the paint has been chemically removed, then you need to sand the wood. This will allow you to remove any paint that's left behind and also to prepare the floors for adding a protective clear coat. The best tool you can use to sand hardwood floors is a rented orbital sander.
After you have finished sanding all of the dust needs to be removed. Use a shop vac and go over the floors many times to ensure you get all of the dust. The more dust you remove, then the better the finished floors will look.
Step 4: Apply a Layer of Clear Polyurethane
Finally, to protect the hardwood floors from damage, it's vital you seal them with a clear coat. The best clear coat to use on vintage floors is polyurethane. You can purchase polyurethane with either a glossy or matte finish, and you must purchase a product that is manufactured specifically for use on flooring. Follow the directions from the polyurethane manufacture listed on the can and you will achieve professional results.
To learn more about hardwood floor refinishing, consult a resource in your area.