Hardwood floors in older homes can be hidden treasures. You may not realize it, but under the dark finish, scuffs and scratches is probably a beautiful hardwood floor just waiting to shine through. Sanding off the old finish gives you a chance to get down to the bare wood and erase many of the scratches and dents. Then you can choose a stain that is more to your liking, or just put a clearcoat on the floor for a pleasant, warm appearance.
An oscillating floor sander is essentially a 100 lb. palm sander. The sanding pad moves in an orbital direction. This type of sander is usually the easiest to use. However it is not a very aggressive sander and is appropriate if you are sanding off old finish and the floorboards are not warped or cupped. If your floor has adhesive from another floor that was over the hardwood or if you need to sand extra deep to remove flaws, you should consider using a drum sander. In that case, check out our tutorial on refinishing hardwood floors – drum sander.
Restoring the hardwood floor in a room can be done in a weekend. Plan ahead and have some helpers lined up to move out the furniture in the room. The finished floor will need to cure for a week, so find an out of the way place for the furniture. You will also need to rent sanding equipment, so make sure it is available on the days you plan to tackle this project.