Repairing your home's timber floors is often best left to a professional, as the job is more complicated and involved than you may realize. Even a small scratch may need some special skills and know-how to be addressed properly so that it doesn't get worse and so that your repair job doesn't stand out from the rest of the floor's surface. If you do want to tackle a repair or refinishing job on your own, however, note a few common DIY mistakes to avoid, so your home's timber floors look as stunning after the repair as they did when they were first installed.
Removing old finish
It's easy to think that you've removed all the old finish from a timber floor if the floor looks properly stripped, or you might assume that it's okay to keep some finish on the floor since you're just going to add a new layer over it. This can be a mistake, as old finish mixing with new finish, or two types of finishes mixed together, can actually give timber a greenish tinge! You may also be able to see very visible, noticeable areas where the two different finishes don't mix, so the flooring surface looks patchy and uneven. Always ensure you remove all traces of old finish before putting down any new coating, to avoid these unsightly areas.
Using the wrong machine
Handheld orbital sanders are too lightweight even for a small area of timber flooring, and a large machine like a concrete buffer might be too heavy for interior floors, and may damage the timber. Never assume that all finishing machines and sanders are alike, but only use a timber floor refinisher that is meant for the type of flooring you have in particular. This will help to avoid swirl marks, dents, and other damage.
Not understanding the cause of damage
If your timber floors are warped because of humidity in the home, simply sanding them down so they're even won't address this problem permanently; you need to remove that humidity, or the floor will continue to cup and bow. If the floors sag because the subfloor is rotted or has suffered termite damage, trying to fill those timber slats in with a filler also won't fix this problem permanently. The timber boards may even crack because of not having enough support. If you don't understand and address the cause of damage to your floors, you may wind up performing the same fix over and over or may overlook the risk of even more damage in the future.