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Screening and Recoating: The Best-Kept Secret in the Hardwood Flooring World

What is Screening & Recoating?

Screening and recoating, also known as the “buff and coat” technique, is a super cool and budget-friendly way to give your hardwood floors a fresh lease on life! Think of it as a spa day for your floors, where they get a light exfoliation and a new coat of protective finish, without the fuss and cost of a complete makeover.

Here’s how it works: the process involves gently scuffing the existing finish on your hardwood floor with a special sanding screen. This creates a slightly rough surface that the new finish can easily stick to. After that, a shiny new coat of polyurethane or another type of finish is applied to make your floors look fab and protect them from everyday wear and tear.

The best part? Screening and recoating is way more affordable and time-saving than full floor sanding and refinishing. Plus, it’s perfect for fixing those pesky little scratches and scuffs without the need for a major renovation. You get to keep the natural beauty of your hardwood floors and enjoy their warm vibes for an extended period.

Not only is this method easy on your wallet, but it’s also eco-friendly! Screening and recoating produces less dust and waste compared to full refinishing, which means cleaner air in your home and a healthier living environment. Go green and save some green, too!

So, why not give your hardwood floors the love they deserve with the screening and recoating process? It’s a smart, cost-effective, and efficient way to refresh your floors, offering protection and a renewed look that will keep your home looking stylish and inviting for years to come. Trust us, your floors will thank you!

When Should You Consider a Recoat?

There are a number of reasons to recoat your hardwood floors. You might want to recoat if:

  1. The floor’s protective layer has worn thin or has light scratches, making it more susceptible to damage.
  2. You want to change the sheen or appearance of the floor without fully refinishing it.
  3. Your floors have been maintained with silicon oil soaps or other products that make it impossible to recoat.
  4. You want to extend the life of your hardwood floors by adding a new coat of finish.

Recoating every few years can keep your hardwood floors looking their best while preventing more extensive and expensive refinishing processes.

What Are The Steps To Refinishing Hardwood Floors?

  1. Preparation: Remove all furniture and items from the room, and thoroughly vacuum the floor to remove any dirt or debris. If the floor has any contaminants like wax, oil, or silicon-based products, remove them with ammonia or paint thinner.
  2. Screening: Using a buffer or floor sander fitted with a sanding screen, lightly abrade the existing finish across the entire floor. This scuffing or buffing process, also called screening, helps create a surface for the new coat of finish to adhere.
  3. Cleaning: Vacuum the floor again to remove dust from the screening process, then wipe it down with a damp cloth to ensure a clean surface.
  4. Recoating: Apply a fresh coat of finish, such as water-based or oil-based polyurethane, to the prepared hardwood floor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you are using.
  5. Drying: Allow the new coat of finish to dry completely, typically 24 to 48 hours, before moving furniture back into the room and using the floor as normal.

Can Any Wood Floor Be Screened and Recoated?

Most hardwood floors that have been finished with a polyurethane coating can be screened and recoated. However, some exceptions may apply, such as:

  1. Floors with deep scratches or gouges that require full floor sanding and refinishing.
  2. Wax-finished floors or floors maintained with silicon oil soaps, which make it difficult for a new coat to adhere.
  3. Certain exotic hardwoods, which may require specific refinishing techniques due to their unique properties.

Always consult a professional to assess your hardwood floors and determine the best course of action.

What do I need to recoat my hardwood floors?

To recoat your hardwood floors, you’ll need:

  1. A buffer or floor sander with a sanding screen
  2. A vacuum cleaner
  3. Ammonia or paint thinner (if needed to remove contaminants)
  4. A damp cloth for cleaning
  5. The desired finish (e.g., water-based or oil-based polyurethane)
  6. A paint roller, brush, or applicator pad for applying the finish
  7. Protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific products you are using and consult a professional if you are unsure about any aspect of the recoating process.

Why would I want to recoat my hardwood floors?

Recoating your hardwood floors provides numerous benefits:

  1. Preservation: A new coat of polyurethane or other finish protects the wood from wear and tear, extending its lifespan.
  2. Appearance: Recoating refreshes the look of your hardwood floors, making them appear newer and more vibrant.
  3. Cost-effective: Recoating is typically less expensive than a full refinishing or replacement of hardwood floors.
  4. Less invasive: The process is less time-consuming and less disruptive to your home compared to full refinishing or replacement.
  5. Versatility: You can change the sheen or color of the existing finish, giving your floors a new look without a complete overhaul.

How do I prepare my hardwood floor before recoating?

Before recoating, it’s essential to properly prepare your hardwood floor:

  1. Remove all furniture and items from the room.
  2. Vacuum and clean the floor thoroughly to eliminate any dirt, debris, or contaminants.
  3. Assess the floor for any damage, such as deep scratches, gouges, or areas where the finish is worn away. These may need additional attention or repair before recoating.
  4. Determine the type of finish on the floor (e.g., water-based or oil-based polyurethane) to ensure compatibility with the new coat you’ll be applying.

Is it cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

In most cases, refinishing or recoating hardwood floors is more cost-effective than replacing them. Replacement involves removing the existing floor, purchasing and installing new flooring material, and potentially addressing any subfloor issues. On the other hand, refinishing or recoating only involves addressing the existing finish, which is typically less expensive and less labor-intensive.

However, the specific cost will depend on factors such as the condition of your floors, the size of the area, the materials used, and labor costs in your area. It’s essential to consult a professional to evaluate your specific situation and provide an accurate cost estimate.

Premium Wood Floors: Your Local Hardwood Floor Specialists!

At Premium Wood Floors, we pride ourselves on being the go-to experts for all your hardwood flooring needs. From screening and recoating to full refinishing, our team of skilled professionals is committed to delivering the highest quality results to keep your floors looking their best. Contact us today for a consultation and let us help you extend the life of your beautiful hardwood floors.


Screening and recoating your hardwood floors is a cost-effective, efficient way to refresh their appearance and extend their lifespan. By properly maintaining your floors and periodically recoating, you can preserve their beauty and functionality for many years to come. If you’re considering recoating your hardwood floors, consult with a professional flooring specialist like Premium Wood Floors to ensure the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How often should I recoat my hardwood floors? It is generally recommended to recoat your hardwood floors every 3-5 years, depending on the level of foot traffic and wear. Regular maintenance and proper care can help extend the time between recoats.
  2. Can I change the color of my hardwood floors with a recoat? A simple recoat will not change the color of your hardwood floors, as it only involves applying a new layer of protective finish. To change the color, you would need to fully refinish the floors, which includes sanding and applying a new stain before the finish.
  3. How long does the recoating process take? The recoating process typically takes 1-2 days, including drying time. However, the exact time frame can vary depending on the size of the area and the type of finish used.
  4. Can I recoat my hardwood floors myself, or should I hire a professional? While it is possible to recoat your hardwood floors yourself, hiring a professional is recommended to ensure the best results. Professionals have the expertise, tools, and experience to properly prepare and finish your floors, minimizing the risk of errors or damage.
  5. How long do I need to wait before walking on my recoated floors? It is generally recommended to wait at least 24 hours before walking on freshly recoated floors, but it can vary depending on the type of finish used. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines.
  6. Is there a difference between water-based and oil-based polyurethane in the recoating process? Both water-based and oil-based polyurethane can be used for recoating, but they have different drying times, sheens, and durability. Water-based polyurethane dries faster and has a lower odor, while oil-based polyurethane tends to have a longer drying time and offers more durability.
  7. What should I look for in a professional hardwood flooring specialist for recoating services? When searching for a hardwood flooring specialist, look for experience, positive customer reviews, a strong portfolio of completed projects, and clear communication regarding costs, timelines, and processes.
  8. Can engineered hardwood floors be screened and recoated? Yes, engineered hardwood floors can be screened and recoated, provided that the wear layer is thick enough to withstand the screening process. It’s essential to consult with a flooring professional to assess your specific engineered hardwood flooring.

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