Sections of the floor in our dining room have worn sections, where the polyurethane coating has worn through to the bare wood. Having the room emptied and properly refinished isn't really an option at the moment. I understand that you really can't stay in the house while the pros are using their giant floor sanders and spraying polyurethane, and that it takes several days.

Can I sand the section of floor by hand and paint or spray polyurethane on the damaged sections? Is there any way of doing this so it'll last for more than a few months? Or are we best off simply waiting the several months or so it'll be until we can have this done properly?

The research I've done has yielded several opinions on the subject. This one, for example, seems to outline a procedure I could do on my own, but can I do this to just a section of the floor?

  • does the wood show signs of wear also? Urethane over damaged wood will lock in and highlight the defects. Actual refinishing urethane is easy, but restoring the color of the wood can be tricky. Can you elaborate on the condition a bit? Feb 29, 2012 at 10:58

1 Answer 1


I have had repairs done on oak floors that resulted in refinishing small areas. It looks remarkably good. The process is straightforward: sand the area, clean it with a solvent afterwards (denatured alcohol), apply polyurethane, let dry.

Use solvent based polyurethane and get the same finish type (gloss, satin, etc.) and apply a few thick coats.

  • Good to hear. I didn't finish these floors, how do I tell what finish was used? (Or is that an entirely different question?) Feb 29, 2012 at 4:48
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    Always use thin coats of urethane, let dry, lightly sand, clean dust off with a damp cloth, let dry and add more coats. Never try to rush the job with heavy coats. It will take forever to dry, collect dust and look uneven. Feb 29, 2012 at 11:01

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