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How To Apply Polyurethane To Hardwood Flooring

It’s safe to say that there is no house without some kind of hardwood flooring.

Most of the time, we have wood floor in our living room, bedroom, and other similar rooms.

However, you may notice your hardwood floors losing their good looks after some time. Luckily, there are ways to recover any wooden surface area in a few simple steps. This is easily achieved by simply applying polyurethane to a hardwood floor.

How To Apply Polyurethane To Hardwood Floors?

Of course, you need to invest some time and material into restoring freshness of your hardwood floors.

In addition, applying polyurethane takes a little skill and patience in avoiding air bubbles, for example. For this reason, we’ll explain exactly how to apply polyurethane to a wood floor.

Continue reading if you want to know how to make your hardwood floor as fresh as new.

What Do You Need Before The Start

We’re looking to use polyurethane for protection and shine of our hardwood floors. Furthermore, it’s important to mention that you should have enough time for this project, especially if you’ve never done it before.

Of course, you need specific tools and items to make this easier. Naturally, applying polyurethane isn’t the easiest project to do by yourself, but if you have time and follow our steps, you can easily do it.

Finally, we’ve made a list of the things you’ll need before starting. This way, you won’t have to stop the project and run to the craft store for some things you forgot.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Exhaust fan
  2. Masking tape
  3. Orbital polishing sander
  4. Vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors
  5. Mop and clean cloths
  6. Organic vapor respirator
  7. Lamb’s wool applicator
  8. Split-flex tubing
  9. Sanding paper 220, 120 and 150 grit
  10. Pole sander
  11. Mineral spirits

If you’ve never applying polyurethane to hardwood floors, this may seem like a lot of items.

However, once you start the project, you’ll see how crucial each of these tools is. In addition, we’re sure that you already have some of these items lying in your garage.

Please, don’t feel discouraged if you’ve never done this before. Yes, we said it isn’t a very easy project, but with these tools and our help, you’re going to do just fine.

List Of Steps

1/ Preparations

Logically, you can’t just jump into this without any preparations. As a matter of fact, you must prepare your floors if you want to apply polyurethane successfully.

First and foremost, you have to make sure that your floor is completely clean.

Learn here how to clean your hardwood floor.

When we say clean, we mean smooth and spotless surface from which you’ll have to remove any existing covering. 

If you already have a layer of polyurethane, you have to remove that first. However, if your floor is new all you have to do is scuff sand it.

Once you do that, vacuum the dust and clean your floor with mop and cloths. 

On another note, if you already have a previous coat of polyurethane on your floor, you must remove it first.

2/ Precautions

Just like with any other DIY project, there are some safety precautions you should take.

First, you should wear a vapor respirator if you’re sensitive to fumes.

Also, make sure that your fan is facing out your window.

We suggest you also open a window on another side of the room just to create air circulation.

Naturally, avoid any fans blowing near the space you’re working on at the time. At last, it doesn’t matter whether you choose water based or oil based polyurethane since both of them are poisonous.

Open all the windows and make sure to wear a mask.

3/ Applying Polyurethane

If you’ve prepared your floor and taken all the safety precautions we suggested, you can get started with applying polyurethane. No doubt, we’re not all born with experience, so it’s okay to take the time you need.

As a matter of fact, we’re sure that everyone can do it, regardless of their experience. As long as you follow our guide, you can be sure you’ll have shiny floors at the end.

Give your polyurethane a good stir before you start applying it. Furthermore, if you have a paint tray, you can use it to pour some polyurethane into it. Normally, this makes the application much easier.

First layer:

  1. Apply a thin layer of polyurethane starting at the furthest point of your room and continue applying it to the door.
  2. Remember not to cover areas you’ve covered already. Make sure not to stop until you cover the entire surface.
  3. Once you’re done with this, you have your fist coat of polyurethane. We suggest you let this first coat dry for at least 4 to 8 hours.
  4. After that, you should sand that coat. In our opinion, the best sandpaper for this is the 220 grit. Note, it’s important that you sand in the direction of the grain of the wood. Once you’re done with sanding, make sure to clean up all the dust that’s left behind.

Second layer:

  1. The second layer usually requires mixing the polyurethane. We suggest you mix mineral spirits and polyurethane 10:1.This will make your polyurethane thinner, which is why it’s an important step.
  2. Once you do that, apply the mixture the same way as you did the first coat.
  3. At last, let it dry one more time before you sand the floor again.
  4. Now you can finally apply the final, third coat of polyurethane and mineral spirits mixture. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to sand the floor now because this coat is final.
  5. Let this coat dry for at least a day before you walk over it. 
  6. Lastly, we suggest you don’t add any furniture or rugs and carpets for at least three days of allowing the polyurethane to dry.


Finally, once your coats are dry, you can go on to cleaning the floor and using rungs and furniture.

Simply, when you’re sure that everything is well dried, you’re also ready to use your new floors. Hopefully, we were able to help you learn how to add polyurethane to your hardwood floors.

More so, you can see by yourself that this project takes time but it’s not impossible to do. In addition, simply follow the steps and you can rest assured that you’ll be successful.

Of course, polyurethane adds shine and protection. For this reason, adding polyurethane is important and now you can finally do it yourself.

Have you ever applied polyurethane to hardwood floors by yourself? Do you think this would be hard for you to do? Please, feel free to join the conversation in the comment section below.


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