How To Buff Hardwood Floors Yourself |Expert Tips

How To Buff Hardwood Floors Yourself
How To Buff Hardwood Floors Yourself

How To Buff Hardwood Floors Yourself: Buffing hardwood floors can be one of the easiest ways to make your hardwood floors shine again. However, not many who have hardwood floors in their home know how to buff them nicely without employing the services of a professional.

Knowing that hardwood floors are a true investment that gives the home or office improved aesthetics and of course, increases the property value over the years. Proper care should be given priority every day so as not to defeat the above-mentioned advantages.

Now that’s where knowing how to buff your hardwood floors by yourself comes into play. Not to worry, you don’t have to worry about how to make that happen. 

In this guide, we have put together details on how to properly care for hardwood floors in order to extend their lifespan and durability as well. The knowledge of buffing hardwood floors is essential, especially for those whose hardwood flooring requires refinishing or replacing altogether. 

However, before taking such a drastic step, consider buffing. Here you will find a step-by-step guide on how to buff hardwood floors by yourself. This in turn you may find to be a better solution.

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What Is Buffing Hardwood Floors?

Buffing is a finishing process that requires the use of a loose abrasive on a wheel to polish a workpiece. The buffing process is usually used to remove small surface irregularities stage by stage from coarse.

The endpoint of buffing is to make the metal or wood surface almost perfectly smooth when all the small wood irregularities are out of the way. 

Is Buffing The Same As Sanding?

Both sanding and buffing are finishing processes that can be used on hardwood floors but both are not the same. 

Sanding hardwood floors requires the use of coarse sanding equipment to remove all the finish, sealer, and stain from your floors while making it smooth. Sanding is a more intensive process that strips wood from everything used on it while bringing out the shining natural wood underneath.

Buffing on the other hand is a finishing process that requires you to remove scratches or small surface irregularities from hardwood floors. Unlike sanding, buffing can be done by hand or by using buffing equipment.

Buffing majorly addresses damage, irregularities, and imperfections on hardwoods thereby protecting your hardwood floors. Many would rather buff a hardwood floor looking dull and scratched than sand it.

Buffing vs. Sanding Hardwood Floors





High-speed rotary machine

Drum sander or orbital sander


Remove light scratches, scuff marks, and dullness

Remove deep scratches, stains, imperfections


Less aggressive

More aggressive


Suitable for floors with minimal damage

Suitable for floors with significant wear and tear


Enhances the existing finish

Removes the top layer for a complete refinishing

Here is our list of 13 Best Wood Floor Polish You Can Use Easily

What Are The Benefits of Buffing Hardwood Floors?

The major benefit of buffing hardwood floorings is to make them look good again. Older floors can get their charm back after a good buff that will remove the scratches from pets.

Secondly, buffing hardwood floors is cost-effective. What this means is that the amount of money you spend to buff is lesser than the amount of money you spend to replace or reinstall new hardwood floors.

Furthermore, buffing is a time-saving solution. Just like buffing is cost-effective it is also timesaving as it does not require much work especially if you know how to buff hardwood floors by yourself.

When buffing is completed properly, it can rejuvenate the floor’s beauty, conceal damages and add a protective layer. Buffing is a good idea either way.

How to Buff Hardwood Floors By Yourself In A Step-by-step Guide 

The good news, buffing does not always require the services of a professional. You can buff hardwood floors by yourself if you know what to do.

Before you proceed to buff your wood floors, you need to know the condition of the wood planks and if they require buffing or other finishing processes. 

Keep in mind that you only buff hardwoods if they require concealing numerous minor scratches or blemishes. If the floor has deep gouges, splintered wood, and other issues, buffing may not be the ideal finishing process.

Once you are surely buffing the floor is the best option for your space, here are the steps on how to buff your hardwood floors by yourself;.

#1. Get the Floor Ready 

To get the floor ready, you have to remove every layer of oil or wax on it first. To do this easily and effectively, you can use mineral spirit or a wax stripping product to remove any of the external substances.

Then wipe the floor with a damp mop or rag and allow it to dry then sweep the floor.

#2. Gather All The Supplies and Equipment You Will Need For Buffing 

If the irregularities on your wood floors are not much you can do that with your hand or a simple tool. However, if it’s a big deal, you should plan to rent a buffing machine from your local home improvement store. 

Also, purchase buffing and polishing pads if they are not part of the equipment rental. Lastly, you need to get a finishing product to use with the buffer. Ensure all these supplies are ready if you’re to buff your floors yourself.

#3. Ensure All Things Are Safe. 

Although buffing is an easy finishing process, you should be careful while at it. Safety should be your focus while using any of the buffing equipment or supplies. 

Some of the safety concerns that you should plan ahead for include working with work gloves and safety glasses on. Also, you need a respirator mask to protect you from the noxious fumes that emanate from the finishing product and the particles that fly in the air during the process.

#4. Work Strategically

To buff hardwood floors, you have to be strategic in your approach. Here is how to go about it;

  • First, apply the finishing product to the floor following the instructions on the label. 
  • Set the buffing equipment to rotate in a clockwise position. 
  • Then inspect the buff pad condition and replace it if it is worn out, damaged, or filthy. 
  • Proceed to run the buffing equipment lightly over the floor in a left-to-right sweeping motion. 
  • Start from a location that will allow you to work backward and not alter where you have buffed already. 
  • While buffing, ensure the buffing machine does not remain in one position for a long time. Carry out this step twice for the best results.

This is a perfect guide on how to buff hardwood floors by yourself without the assistance or services of a professional. You can be sure and confident doing the work yourself after which your floor’s beauty is restored and protected from additional damage.

 To Use To Buff Hardwood Floors

When it comes to buffing hardwood floors, there are a few tools and materials that you can use to achieve a smooth and polished finish. One option is to use a buffing machine, which can be rented from a hardware store or home improvement center.

This machine is equipped with a rotating pad that can effectively remove scratches and scuffs from the surface of the floor. Another option is to use a buffing pad or buffer attachment for a regular floor buffer.

These pads come in a range of materials and abrasiveness levels, so be sure to choose the right one for your particular type of hardwood flooring. In addition to the buffing machine or pad, you will also need a quality hardwood floor cleaner and a microfiber mop to prepare the floor for buffing and to remove any debris or dust after the buffing process is complete.’

How Much Does it Cost to Sand and Refinish Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors have long been cherished for their strength, durability, and timeless appeal. They possess the remarkable ability to add significant value to homes while requiring minimal maintenance. However, even hardwood floors need care and attention over time. With daily wear and tear, they can develop cracks and dents. To preserve the elegance and longevity of your hardwood floor, refinishing becomes essential. In this section, we will explore the cost and benefits of hardwood floor refinishing, providing you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

1. The Cost of Hardwood Floor Refinishing: Refinishing hardwood floors is an investment that pays off in the long run. On average, homeowners spend between $1,074 and $2,400 on refinishing projects. For more complex refinishing projects that require additional effort, the cost can go up to $4,000. However, if you have a larger floor area to cover, you may be eligible for discounts on hardwood floor installation in Atlanta.

2. Sanding and Staining Hardwood Floors: Sanding is a crucial step in the refinishing process. The cost of sanding an average 12X14 foot room typically ranges from $0.50 to $3 per square foot, amounting to approximately $80 to $500. The final cost depends on factors such as your location and the number of sanding passes required. Additionally, staining the hardwood floor will incur an additional cost of $1 to $3 per square foot. The actual expenses will be influenced by the quality of the stain used and the hourly labor rate of your chosen contractor.

3. Finishing and Coating Options: When it comes to finishing and coating your newly refinished hardwood floor, there are different options available. Recoating, which costs $1 to $2 per square foot, is a more affordable alternative to complete refinishing. Recoating is suitable for floors with minimal scratches and gouges and offers a convenient way to revitalize the floor’s appearance without the need for extensive sanding. For an oil-based coating, you can expect to pay around $20 to $40 per gallon, while water-based coatings range from $25 to $50 per gallon.

4. Cost Variations by Wood Floor Type: The cost of refinishing hardwood floors can vary based on the type of wood. Oak floors, a popular choice known for their durability, typically require a budget of $3 to $5 per square foot for refinishing. This cost range also applies to other common types of hardwood, including cherry, parquet floors, and engineered hardwood.

Benefits of Hardwood Floor Refinishing: Refinishing your hardwood floors offers numerous advantages that surpass the cost considerations. Let’s explore the key benefits:

a) Cost-Effective Solution: Refinishing your hardwood floors is more cost-effective than replacing them entirely. It allows you to restore the floor’s original beauty and durability without breaking the bank.

b) Enhanced Durability: The refinishing process strengthens the floor, making it more resistant to daily wear and tear. By eliminating cracks, dents, and scratches, your hardwood floor can withstand heavy foot traffic for years to come.

c) Restored Elegance: Over time, hardwood floors may lose their luster due to exposure and use. Refinishing brings back the floor’s former glory, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.

5. Buffing and Polishing Hardwood Floors: In addition to refinishing, buffing and polishing are essential for maintaining the shine and smoothness of your hardwood floors. Buffing or screening a 225 square foot room costs between $1

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Can I Buff Hardwood Floors By Hand?

Yes, you can buff hardwood floors by hand all by yourself. This is a good alternative when the finishing process is not a tedious or tasking one. 

To buff out a small scratch in your floor polish by hand all you have to do is;

  • Rub brass wool over the damaged area until the scratch has been leveled out till an invisible point. 
  • Then, proceed to re-polish the area by applying hardwood floor wax with a terrycloth towel and rubbing it into the area. 
  • Use a buffing pad to finish off by rubbing the area to make it as shiny as the other parts of your floor.

Can I Use A Buffing Machine To Buff Hardwood Floors?

Buffing machines are required when you want to buff your entire floor or your home. All you have to do is to rent a buffing machine from your local home improvement store. 

Buffing The Hardwood Floors With Machines Or Hand Which Is Better?

You can buff your floors either by hand or with stand-behind buffing machinery. Either way, both processes are viable however, it all depends on the extent of rejuvenation.

How To Make Wood Floors Look New Again our expert advice

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Buff Hardwood Floors By Yourself

How long does it take to buff hardwood floors?

Depending on the product used, and the current weather conditions, each coat could take either hours or days. Figure at least two days for the “sand and poly” job or three to seven days for a full refinishing project, plus at least one day if you’re adding color.

What Things Do I Need To Buff Hardwood Floors?

Whether you’re buffing by hand or using a machine, you will need the following items;
1. Vacuum
2. Dry mop
3. Terry cloths
4. Soft buffing pads
5. Deep cleaning product (for your floor finish)

Can You Buff Out Scratches On Hardwood Floors?

Yes, you can buff out scratches on hardwood floors easily. All you have to do is use little elbow grease, a small can of stain, and fine-grit sandpaper with which you can repair scratches on any wood floor.

What Product Do You Use To Buff Wooden Floors?

All it takes is a flat-head mop with a microfiber cleaning pad and commercial wood floor polish, which comes in low- or high-gloss sheens to achieve your desired look.

Do You Buff A Floor With It Dry Or Wet?

Ensure that the floor to be buffed is completely dry before you begin buffing and finishing

What is Cheaper –Refinishing or Replacing?

Hardwood floor refinishing in Atlanta typically costs 50 percent less than replacing hardwood flooring in Atlanta.

Can I Refinish a Floor Without Sanding?

When refinishing a floor, you will first have to remove layers of old finish, and prepare it for new finish by smoothing out the surface.

How Long Does Sanding and Refinishing Typically Take?

5 hours/100 sq.ft.

how to use a buffer machine


It’s practically possible to buff hardwood floors by yourself all you have to do is follow the step-by-step guide we have stated above. To achieve maximum results, do not skip a step.

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