Asked on Aug 27, 2012

Help!Newly refinished wood floor is too rough

Vicki H
by Vicki H
my husband sanded and finished our oak hardwood floors.We have 3 coats of Minwax oil based glossy finish on them,but they are still very rough.Any advice on how to get a smooth finish? Thanks!
  8 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 27, 2012
    When I do floors I like to work from my rough sand ( 40 grit) up through 80 or 100. I then apply the first layer of poly, the first and second coats get a light "screening" with 120 or 150 before the finish is applied. Also before the finish is applied, the floor is completely vacuumed and then wiped with a thinner moist tack cloth...this shows if any trouble areas were missed in the sanding operation. and removes all traces of sawdust contamination Since you have three coats next best option would be to "screen" the floor and then use a tack cloth after vacuuming. The screening will dull the finish a bit so you will need to apply a 4 th coat. I would screen with a 180 or 220 grit. I normally use a 4" wide china bristle brush, and work from my hands and knees...with a gloss finish is it important to use good low angle light to ensure you do not miss some spots. A lot of folks use a lambs wool pad...but you need to be careful not to over apply When I screen I use a standard 17" floor orbital with a red buff pad between the brush driver and the sanding screen...this is more gentle than a hard rubber faced sanding disc. Here is an article I wrote with some extra Info
  • Both posters hit it on the head. To get a good smooth shiny finish, you need to clean, clean and then clean again. Using finer and finer sand paper as you go before the finish is important. Once it is sanded, then tack cloth clean and apply the first stain coat. Once dry, a light sanding again then clean and tack cloth. Next coat, same pattern, light sand, clean, Final coat then should go on using a lambs wool applicator, that has been washed if new prior to using. Lots of lint will come off and you do not want that in your finish. Sense you now have a finish on it, You should do as KMS talked about, using a screen sander with a fine mesh, you go over the entire floor with it. This will remove just the top coat of finish if you do it carefully. Once done, clean real well, use a tack cloth and then apply your final finish coat on the surface. The only other thing I would tell you is that, if the finish is fairly fresh, it will tend to gum up the sanding screen, so be sure that you have enough on hand and change them out as soon as the gum up process begins. Otherwise you will end up with scratches all over the floor.
  • Vicki H Vicki H on Aug 28, 2012
    Thank you for your replies We rented a drum sander and started with a 36 grit followed by an 80 grit and finished with a 120 grit.The wood felt as smooth as glass before the first coat of polyurethane was put down.We are using Minwax oil base gloss polyurethane for floors.The can says no sanding between coats required.we are going to put a fourth coat on this evening but I will lightly sand and be sure it`s very clean before we do it.The 3 coats were rolled on with a roller as advised by a home depot employee.I bought a lambswool applicator today to use on this coat.I will be following all of your expert advice and I thank you so much for it!
  • Be sure to only stir the sealer. and not shake. That will entrap air into the product that will cause the floor to be rough once again. Also using a roller will cause bubbles to form on the sealer as well. That may have been the issue all along. Good luck and let us know how you make out.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 29, 2012
    The "gumming" can be a issue with new installs....When I do "screen and Recoat" the floors have aged for years and the finish is nicely cured and hard...this results in a fine flour like sawdust. Which is much easier to clean up with a tack cloth.
  • Jane Jane on Mar 29, 2015
    Sometimes, you just have to get the professional to do the job. This might be one of those times, to come in & put the finishing touch to it.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 01, 2015
    Good for you in tackling this project. I always get a pro - less time consuming and aggravation. To me, it's money well spent.
  • Lori Johansen Lori Johansen on Nov 01, 2015
    To be honest, I used to LOVE shiny hardwood flooring...but, we've just finished laying pine in our master bedroom (mountain cabin) and opted to go with a satin finish. I'm SO glad we did! Matches our previously finished flooring so much better. We did the same, sanding from course to finer grain sandpaper without a problem. Very happy with it. I wondered about the over stirring as well as we had a problem with that after our first coat of Poly.