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what can you put on hardwood floors to make them look better without sanding?

I bought an old house that has had carpet for probably 30 years. Underneath the carpet, there are 1 inch oak hardwood floors. They are in pretty good shape, but have some paint drops and are dull. I can't afford to have them refinished, but thought about maybe light sanding with a hand sander. I'm a petite female and don't think I could handle the big sanders that you can rent. Will it work to sand them just a little, then stain & polyurethane? I'm planning on a dark stain. I thought dark would cover imperfections better....and mistakes I might make. Does anyone have any suggestions? I appreciate any help I can get.

Thanks again!

Building Supplies
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1 Answer from this member:
Christopher Pope
Older wood floors can be beautiful. One obstacle with wood floors is a uniform finish. Unfortunately if the surface is not smooth and consistent it can show through in your stain. For example if there is any old finish left behind after sanding, the new stain will look different in those areas. Also a darker stain may show more imperfections than a lighter stain. You may want to contact a local flooring professional for an estimate. You can find a local professional by visiting
by Christopher Pope Earned 502 community points in Building Supplies
January 31st, 2010
Answered in 8 hours
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