What's The Best Approach to Finishing Hickory Flooring?

You can enhance the appearance of your hickory flooring by finishing it with an appropriate coating. Do-it-yourself homeowners can finish their hickory floors in one to two days if they follow the proper procedures. Here are some tips on the tools and techniques needed to complete the job. Good luck.

  • Tools you'll need: Floor sander, edge sander, orbital sander, floor buffer with screen, cotton rags, stain, polyurethane finish
  • Sanding: Sand the floor with a belt sander made for hardwood floors. A belt sander resembles an upright vacuum cleaner and must be pushed across the floor by hand. Sand with the grain of the wood, beginning with an 80-grit belt to even the floor boards. Use a 120-grit belt to smooth the floor, and a 220 belt to add a finishing touch. Use the edging sander and orbital sander to reach areas of the floor near the wall and in corners.
  • Wood conditioner: Apply wood conditioner to the floor using a cotton rag. The conditioner will seal any imperfect wood grain and prevent blotches. Allow the conditioner to dry for two to four hours before applying the stain.
  • Staining: Apply wood stain to the hickory flooring using a large stain brush and cotton rag. Use the brush to apply the stain and the cotton rag to wipe away any excess. Use gel stain for a deep ambient color and lighter color stains to accent the black and brown wood grains. Clear or lighter color stains keep the contrasting appearance intact while darker colors obscure it.
  • Polyurethane finishing: Now apply the first coat of polyurethane finish to your hickory floor using a foam applicator. Pour the polyurethane onto the floor and spread it out with the applicator. Cut in the areas near the walls and in the corners first. After the first coat has dried, use the floor polisher to remove the raised grain of the wood. The polyurethane finish will raise the grain of the hickory, making it rough. The floor polisher should be loaded with 120-grit sanding screen. After the grain has been smoothed, add another coat of finish. You can add up to five coats of finish and make sure you sand between coats.

You can rent the tools you need for the job and purchase stains and finishes at a hardware store or online. You can also order prefinished or unfinished hickory flooring from flooring websites. Prefinished hickory hardwood flooring minimizes the time and effort for installing a hardwood hickory floor, as the boards are finished and need no sealing. Prefinished hardwood can replace an entire floor or blend in with the old to replace part of a floor.


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