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How To Restore Hardwood Floors Under Carpet

by Canadian Sanders

How to restore hardwood under carpet

How to restore wood floors under carpet 

You have just moved into a new home and were surprised to find hardwood floors underneath the carpet. If you’re wondering how to bring the floor back to its former glory, hardwood floors can be a great center feature for your home. There are several steps you can take to restore your wood floors and give them a new life. In this article, we will guide you through the process of restoring your hardwood floors that are hiding under your carpet.

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Tools You Will Need To Remove Carpet

  • Safety glasses – Eye protection is A Must.
  • Knee pads – Knee protection is a Must. 
  • Utility knife –cutting up carpet into sections 
  • Prybar – removing the tack strips
  • Hammer – Removing any nails
  • Pliers – Removing any staples
  • Masking tape or duct tape – optional- Helps to secure carpet for removal
  • Broom/vacuum – clean up


Before restoring your floors, it’s essential to assess their condition. Sometimes, damaged wood floors can be concealed by carpets or other flooring materials. If you notice any gaps, dark spots, or missing boards, it’s best to seek professional help. A skilled professional can locate matching floorboards and flawlessly repair the damage. In case it’s not possible to obtain the same flooring, some professionals can mill new floorboards. However, if your floors are in good condition, they may only need light sanding and a fresh coat of finish. In some instances, cleaning the floors and adding a coat of polish can restore them to their former glory.

How To Remove The Carpet off a hardwood floor

When removing carpet, it’s best to cut it into smaller sections for easy transportation. However, you should be careful not to cut the wood floors underneath, especially if they are in excellent condition. Once you have cut the carpet into sections, roll them up into bundles and carry them away for disposal or transportation. You may find some underlay underneath the carpet; cut it into sections, then remove it and dispose of it. It’s important to note that there may be a lot of dust under the carpet, so wear a dust mask. Additionally, the floor may have carpet tack strips that must be removed. These tacks are usually nailed to the floor, so you should remove them carefully to avoid causing any more damage to the floor.

After removing the carpet, assess the floor for restoration.

Refinishing your hardwood floors can be done using various techniques. It is possible that your floor only requires a thorough cleaning with a hardwood floor cleaner and the use of a store-bought polish.

If your floor looks dull and unattractive even after cleaning and polishing, consider getting it recoated professionally. This process involves lightly sanding the floors without sanding into the wood and applying one or two coats of polyurethane. Although this won’t change the color of your floor, it will restore the polyurethane topcoat and give it a fresh, new look.

If you notice worn areas, stains, or missing boards on your hardwood floor, it is crucial to perform a complete restoration. This involves replacing the missing boards and sanding a layer of wood off the floor, then applying three coats of poly for a quality and long-lasting finish. Applying three coats of poly is highly recommended to achieve optimal results.

Sanding and Refinishing after removing carpet. 

After removing all the carpet, underlay, and any adhesive that may have been stuck to the floor, the next step is to sand the floor to its former glory. If you have a wooden floor with a lot of glue adhesive adhered to it, you might need to sand it down to raw wood to restore its original state.

To start refinishing your floor, you can rent a drum sander from your local store. Begin with a coarse grit that can remove the finish and any stubborn glue or adhesive that may be stuck to your floor. It is important to wear a dust mask while you sand because the rental equipment does not provide the same dustless sanding equipment that professionals use.

To properly sand a floor, it is important to repeat the sanding steps until the entire floor is sanded through 80 grit. Once you have established the sanding pattern, it’s vital to continue sanding without skipping grits until you reach the 80- or 100-grit level. If you plan to stain your floors or are sanding a maple floor, it is highly recommended that you use 100 grit as the finishing grit.

Stain your floors 

When planning to stain your floor, it’s important to remember that even the smallest flaws in your sanding job can be highlighted in the process. This is because the particles in the stain pigment can get trapped in scratches, gouges, and pores in the wood, making them more visible. Therefore, it’s always best to ensure your sanding job is done correctly before staining. If you want to learn more about the staining process, you can find additional information on the topic.

Sealing And Finishing

Protecting your floors against everyday wear and tear caused by foot traffic is crucial. You can choose any finish you prefer for your floor, with various sheen options available. You can make the colors pop with a high reflective finish, or you can go for a more natural feel with a low sheen. The two most common types of finishes are oil-based and water-based. Sealing and finishing can be challenging, so it’s important to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to achieve an even, bubble-free, and durable finish that lasts for years.


If you’ve removed your carpet and want to restore your hardwood floors, you might find the task daunting. However, with patience, dedication, and hard work, you can achieve great results with DIY refinishing. Follow these steps to breathe new life into your floors. If you prefer a professional to handle the job, you can always get an estimate.


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