No-sand floor refinishing uses a liquid etching compound to prepare the floor for a new top coat. The process is less labor intensive and time consuming than finishing a floor with the traditional sanding method. Kits are available, allowing the homeowner to finish his own floors with this method.
No-sand floor refinishing works best on floors with normal wear and shallow scratches. The chemical etching reduces the slick surface so that the new coat adheres and fills the small scratches, providing a long-wearing top coat. Scratches that cut through the finish into the wood are more difficult to conceal without sanding. Sometimes it is possible to use a stain before applying the top coat, to help conceal the scratch. However, in other cases, the new finish makes this type of scratch more visible.
Floors with water damage, high traffic areas or wax do not work with this method. The etching chemical stains bare wood, such as in high traffic areas, and does not remove water stains. It does not work well with flaking finishes. It does not remove wax, so the new finish cannot adhere to the surface. Test for wax by applying a few drops of mineral oil, allowing them to stand, and wiping with a white cloth. If the mineral oil turns brown, wax is present. For floors with these problems, standard sanding and refinishing is the best option.