Considered as a softwood, hemlock belongs in the same category as fir and pine. A hemlock is easily recognizable because of its natural light brown tint. Sometimes, it comes with moderate grain patterns that are hard to distinguish. Hemlock is an ideal product to use for wood flooring. Compared to hardwood flooring, a hemlock floor follows a different finishing procedure. If you are looking to do the finishing on your hemlock floor by yourself, expect the work to last for a day or two, depending on scope and size of the project.

You Will Need

  •  Belt sander
  •  Edge sander
  •  Orbital sander
  •  Floor polisher and sanding screens
  •  Polyurethane finish
  •  Shop vacuum
  •  Finish applicator


  •  1. Using a belt sander, sand the floor in order to eliminate any imperfections in the wood and to even the surface of the floorboards. In order to smoothen the irregularities and imperfections when the hemlock is installed, sanding the surface is recommended. Start out with a 60-grit sandpaper in order to smoothen the wood. Next, make use of your 80-grit sandpaper to eliminate any sanding marks in the wood. Lastly, utilize the 120-grit sandpaper to smoothen the wood until it has a fine texture.
  •  2. Using an edge sander, sand the edges of the hemlock flooring. An edge sander looks like a hand router but the difference is that the edge sanders come with a rotary disc on the bottom where you can attach the sandpaper. Start with the 60-grit sandpaper and finish the edges using a 120-grit sandpaper. Make sure that you keep the edge sander moving from right to left and vice versa along the flooring closest to the wall.
  •  3. Next, screen the flooring using a buffing machine and sanding screen. If you don’t have a buffing machine, you can rent one from a tool rental store. You need to attach a 120-grit sanding screen on the bottom of the buffing machine to smoothen the wooden surface of the floor. The sanding screen, on the other hand, will be the one responsible for eliminating any sanding marks left by the belt sander. This will leave the wood feeling and be looking smooth.
  •  4. Using a shop vacuum, remove the dust from the hemlock floor. Before you start any finishing job, always make sure that all dust are properly removed. Using a light-colored wood filler, fill any cracks or nail holes in the floor. After the filler has completely dried up, sand the surface using a hand sander.
  •  5. The edges of the hemlock floor closest to the corners and walls need to be brushed with a polyurethane finish. Use an applicator when applying a polyurethane finish to the large areas of the hemlock flooring. The applicator is available in either foam or lamb’s wool. Attach the applicator to the end of a pole. Pour the polyurethane finish onto the surface of the floor and evenly distribute it using the applicator. Make sure to not leave any thick finish on the floor surface.
  •  6. Apply three coats of polyurethane finish to the hemlock flooring, sanding between each coat. After each coat has dried up, use the buffing machine and 220-grit sandpaper to sand any visible raised grain. Do not sand the last coat of finish.


  •  When sanding the floor using a belt sander, make sure that you don’t leave the sander running one spot on your wood. This will remove a huge portion of the wood and will leave ruts in the flooring.

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