How To Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding?

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.!

Sanding is one of the most common ways to restore your hardwood floors. But what if there was a situation where you couldn’t sand the floors down?

Would you be stuck in an endless loop of thinking of other ways to restore hardwood floors and giving up eventually? Not until we are present to help you out.

You can restore hardwood floors without sanding by deep cleaning and removing varnish using liquid or gel-based strippers. Then, stain and seal the floors to bring back their lost luster. This process helps revive neglected hardwood floors without the need for sanding.

Restoring Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

However, there are other ways as well that you might find interesting when it comes to restoring hardwood floors.

Have a look at all the methods mentioned below and decide which one you like the most or find the easiest.

How To Restore Hardwood Floors Without Sanding?

There are a number of ways to restore hardwood floors without sanding such as using a chemical abrasion kit or taking aid from mechanical/ chemical adhesion techniques.

All of them work equally effectively and serve different purposes.

Hence, depending upon the condition of your hardwood floors, the condition of the varnish (if any), and the type of restoration you want, you might need a different method.

Go through all methods to find out which one suits your situation the best.

Chemical Abrasion Kit

A chemical abrasion kit is suitable for restoring hardwood floors without sanding them.

However, if you still want to try restoring by sanding, do check out my guide on how to sand hardwood floors by hand.

If your hardwood floors have reached their sanding limit or your flooring specialist has strictly advised against sanding, but you still want to restore your hardwood floors, an abrasion kit would be very fruitful for you.

It works chemically to free the floors of all the buildup and other unwanted substances which might have crusted on the surface.

Chemical Abrasion Kit

The chemical erosion of these substances prevents the need to sand the floors. The kit includes everything required to clean hardwood floors and remove all the buildup from the past years so they can be restored to their original shine.

You can also perk up old hardwood floors by maintaining a regular cleaning routine.

It is best to have a helper along with you so the task can be done easily, as in most cases, executing the procedure for the abrasion kit can’t be possible if there is only one person.

If you have the abrasion kit, you can start immediately to get your hardwood floors restored without sanding.

Clear Any Traffic

Firstly, you must clear the area of any traffic or items if you want to use the abrasion kit and don’t want to leave any portion out.

Clear Any Traffic

You must remove all furniture or items from the floor and ensure no traffic is expected on the floors for the rest of the day.

Besides, it is also recommended that once the process has been completed, you must not step on the floor or place any item on it for 48 hours.

Apply The Chemicals

Now that the surface has been cleared, it is time to start the restoration process. Pour the liquid abrasive on the surface and scrub it with a scrubbing brush.

You can also use a towel for this purpose, but it will require additional effort. Let the chemicals sit on the surface for some time to allow erosion to occur.

If you need more clarification about the time required, check the instructions on the kit or let it stay for 3-5 minutes approximately.

After this, it is time to clean the surface, so you need to attach the abrasive pad to the handle of your mop/broom if you are using one.

However, wearing gloves and a full-sleeve shirt is compulsory to limit skin exposure to the chemicals.

Scrub & Dry

Once you are done scrubbing, you must rinse the floor thoroughly with a solution of water and 2 tbsp dishwashing liquid to remove all the dirt and grime that has been scrubbed off the surface.

You can use a towel or mop if necessary, but ensure there are as few remnants behind as possible.

Scrub & Dry

Make sure to wring out the cloth/towel/mop you are using for rinsing, as too much exposure to water or moisture can dampen your hardwood floors and damage them.

In many situations where there are deep scratches on the hardwood boards, apply more stain on them and blot it with a rag to allow the color to blend properly.

In addition, once the stain has dried, it is time to coat the surface with a finish which is most probably included in your kit.


Now that you are done cleaning the floor, use the finish provided in the kit to coat the hardwood floors to protect them from future dangers and rough treatment.

However, you must be quick while performing this step as the finish is a fast-drying solution, so you must work along the floor quickly.

If you remain slow, you can smoothen out the finish, which might result. It would be best to wait before the finish dries as it requires at least 24 hours.

Before this time has passed, no object should be placed on the surface, and walking on the floor is strictly prohibited.

Mechanical & Chemical Adhesion

Another way to restore or refinish hardwood floors without sanding is to use an adhesion method.

Both of these are advanced recoating methods that are not very widely used in the market but exist and are suitable options if you don’t want to sand your hardwood floors.

Mechanical Adhesion

Mechanical adhesion, as evident by its name, is an adhesion technique that involves mechanical buffing and abrading the floors.

With the help of machinery and other tools, the floors are lightly abraded and buffed. The process is also known as screening and recoating in everyday language in the flooring industry.

The best part about this process is that it only partially removes the existing finish of your hardwood floors.

The light abrading causes micro scratches on the surface of the existing finish. This provides a medium for the new coat to immerse and bond with the older one.

Hence, the hardwood floors achieve dual coat protection where the old and new coats are merged to make one stronger coat.

This method restores the shine and appearance of the hardwood floors without sanding and gives even stronger protection which is much more efficient and long-lasting as compared to the usual alternatives.

Chemical Adhesion

Chemical adhesion is another useful method to recoat and restore hardwood floors without sanding them.

If you don’t want to remove the existing finish using an abrasion kit and the mechanical adhesion facility is not available in your area, chemical adhesion is the best option you will have.

The process uses an adhesion promoter or bonding agent, allowing the new coat to bond with the existing one.

The basic principle is the same as mechanical adhesion, but the only difference is that here chemicals are used instead of automated procedures, which makes the process much easier and cheaper.

Once the bonding agent has worked its charm, the new coat will stick to the old one just as a double-sided tape and will provide an added amount of protection to the hardwood floors.

This process is highly suitable if the hardwood floors have a partially worn-out finish.

You don’t need to perform sanding or abrasion on the varnish in this case, as there is still a substance that will protect your floors.

Hence, adding another coat is the most practical idea to ensure that the floors are given optimum protection.

Besides, simply applying another layer of finish would not do the same job as it does not guarantee the same level of adhesion, and you might have to remove both layers after some time.

Without proper adhesion, the newer layer might start to move when pressure is placed and hence would not be able to provide any significant resistance to wear and tear factors.

In addition, such an unsupported finish layer is also prone to cracks and breaking if the problem is not solved on time.

Deep Cleansing The Floors

Another way to restore hardwood floors without sanding them is to provide them with the treatment that they have been deprived of for a long time.

Usually, hardwood floors reach a point where they require restoration either due to years of untimely maintenance or because of a lack of care and attention toward them.

The latter is seen to be the most common reason as most of the hardwood floors which have been neglected for some time, start to show signs of damage very quickly.

Deep Cleansing The Floors

Hence, sanding them down is not a suitable option as you would be compromising the thickness of the boards unnecessarily.

Hence, deep cleansing the floors to give them their lost shine and restore their original appearance is one of the best-suited ways to restore hardwood floors without sanding.

Moreover, if you are concerned about exposing your wooden boards to various chemicals, rest assured as this process does not require the flooring to be treated with chemicals.

Remove The Dry Dust

Firstly, you must remove all the dust which is present on the surface and clear it so you can work your way into the wood’s surface to restore it.

You can either use a vacuum to clear away all the dust and residues of food and other items or use a mop to clear unwanted substances such as lint or furs, that might be present on the floor.

As these dust particles and remnants are not stuck on the surface, they can be swept away with a vacuum and a mop.

You don’t want these to get trapped on the surface; hence, it is only wise to remove them immediately.

You can’t wet mop the floor right away because if the floor is too dirty, you may create a puddle of mud and water or move dirt around.

Soften The Buildup Layer

If you expect to clean the sticky layer on hardwood floors immediately, you are wrong. In most cases, the layer of dirt and debris which has accumulated on the top has hardened due to years of negligence.

Hence, once you’re done vacuuming, take a bucket of water and mop the surface to eliminate any remnants and dust particles the vacuum could’ve missed.

Wetting the surface and the layer would soften it a bit and make it a little easier for you when you proceed toward the next few steps.

After that, clean the surface with a wet towel or cloth to remove any dust that may have accumulated in the corners or edges, which might have been missed by the mop or the vacuum due to the inability to access the areas.

Remove The Buildup Layer

Once the buildup layer has been softened through wet mopping, it is time to remove the layer using commercial or homemade cleaning products which can cut into the surface of the layer and loosen it up.

You can only return them to their original form if you use an effective cleaning solution that has effective cleaning abilities and is strong enough to clean the floors and combat all the impurities crusted on the top.

If the surface hasn’t been cleaned for a long time and there is crusted dust, you can use a mild brush or a used toothbrush to scrub it.

This will remove all the dirt and grime stuck on the flooring boards. Mix your preferred cleaning solution in water according to the recommended concentration and apply it on the surface with a clean cloth or sponge.

Scrub the surface with a scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush to remove the layer from the top. Make sure to have a bucket of clean water nearby to clean up the cloth or sponge periodically.

Once this is done, collect all the dirt and grime which has come off the surface and clean the old wooden floors with a damp cloth only.

Then, you must use a paper towel to wipe the surface dry. This will remove any stickiness which is not visible to the naked eye.

Make sure to clean the corners and edges properly. Good scrubbing can prevent dust and grime from accumulating in the intersection points and under the corners.

Stain & Seal

Once the process has been completed, it is now time to bring back the original shine and glossy appearance of the hardwood floors.

If the floors are not sealed, use a wood stain to enrich the luster and fill up any scratches or minor dents.

You can use a different colored stain to change the appearance of the floors and make them look as if you’ve replaced them.

Stain & Seal

Now that the stain has dried, use a suitable varnish and apply it to the surface.

Allow it to dry and your hardwood floors will be restored to their original grace without the need to sand them down.

However, if the floors are already sealed, you can only recoat them without any chemicals if it is a wax finish.

If not, you will either have to remove the previous layer of the finish by using a liquid or gel-based stripper and then perform the mentioned process.

I have also written a whole blog on removing varnish from hardwood floors that will definitely help you out.

Related: Cleaning Old Wood Floors Without Refinishing

Final Thoughts

By using any of the methods mentioned above, you can easily restore your hardwood floors without having to sand them.

While some methods might be a bit more complex than others; for instance, mechanical and chemical adhesion are hard to get by while chemical abrasion and deep cleaning are much easier, all of the methods are equally effective.

There is no need to hire expensive services for the restoration of your vintage floors through sanding and refinishing.

You can complete this project on your own without any help even if you do not have any prior knowledge or experience.

Let this article be a walk-through guide for you to restore your old hardwood floors without sanding.

So, if you also have hardwood floors in your home that are not maintained at all and direly need a facelift, this is your sign to use this guide and give them the makeover that they deserve.

Sharing Is Caring!

Leave a Comment