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How to Sand, Repair and Varnish your Hardwood Floor

Last modified: 2020-05-18 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

Is your hardwood floor in need of maintenance? Are you thinking about renovating it? is here to explain certain techniques that can be used to sand and varnish the floor in your house.

Wooden floors are one of the most popular floor covering materials for interior decors. However, given that wood is a living matter, it has to be treated to a little bit of TLC once in a while. Learn more about the different ways that you can make your wooden floor look brand new:

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How to check the state of your hardwood floor

Before you start renovating the floor, you have to make sure that it is still in good condition. If you notice that certain floorboards have deteriorated, you will have to replace them. To replace a damaged floorboard, you will have to saw it on each extremity. Next, create a hole that is big enough so you can insert a saw blade inside the board.

The third step consists of sawing the floorboard over its entire length. You can break it using a hammer and a screwdriver. Once you are done, don't forget to check the joists that are underneath the floorboards.

Only after having completed the previous steps will you be able to install a new floorboard that you will nail onto the joists. While doing that, you should also take this opportunity to check for holes or cracks in the floor. If such is the case, you can use a resin-based wood filler to repair them. This product is sold with a tint. Make sure you choose one that matches the colour of your floor.

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Sanding the wooden floor

You will have to use a special knife to apply the product. Don't forget to remove the excess wood filler before it hardens up. After you have finished repairing the cracks and holes and/or replacing the floorboards, you will be ready to sand the floor. For this next step, always sand in the same direction as the wood, moving a few centimetres off with each passage.

Different finishing products for hardwood floors

Now that your floor has been sanded properly, you have to choose the finish that will cover the surface of the floor. There are three main types of finishes, each one having their respective pros and cons.

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This is the most popular option. Varnish is a durable product that protects the floor from different harmful events and objects such as stains and impacts. It is possible to choose between several finishes such as shiny, satin and matte. There are many different possibilities, depending on what you like! Varnish is also known for being relatively inexpensive. However, it doesn't look as good as the two following options.


Using oil products to finish a wooden floor will give off a traditional look, in addition to making it very resistant and easy to maintain. Because it is plant-based, it adds a nice natural aspect to your floor. The main drawback of this product is that it is irreversible, as the wood is deeply permeated with the oil. Moreover, it demands regular maintenance, approximately every six months.


Wax is a natural finishing product that is less resistant than varnish. It is mostly easy to apply and it feeds and protects the surface of the floor. Wax creates a unique satin finish. However, it wears out quicker than varnish does and it requires additional maintenance. For example: if a stain appears on the floor, you will have to sand the spot and apply a new coat of wax.

If you want to know how to install a hardwood floor, check out our article "How to install hardwood floors".

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The cost to sand and varnish a wooden floor

Type of varnish and/or work  Average prices (products and labour)
Low-end varnish and sanding $1.50 to $1.75/ square foot
Standard varnish and sanding $2 to $2.50/square foot
High-end varnish (high traffic) $3 to $3.50/square foot
Adding stain Approximately $1/square foot
Floor repairs $10 to $40/floor board

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