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Yes, you can refinish a hardwood floor.

Let us show you how. Trust Pete’s Hardwood Floors for expert advice, trusty rental equipment and the perfect supplies for any hardwood floor sanding and finishing project. Minnesota do-it-yourself homeowners are our specialty. We ♥ DIY-ers.    Store hours   Map to store

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By the time customers get to Pete’s, they’re often in the middle of a floor catastrophe and determined to fix their floor so well that it will never have to be touched again.


For some reason, this translates into an absolute insistence on a gym floor finish for their dining room floor. In the minds of a lot of people, gym floor finishes have special properties and are somehow tougher than anything sold for other commercial wood floors. People also seem to believe that manufacturers and retailers are actively keeping this product from the ordinary public – apparently because the polyurethane manufacturers will go out of business if everybody has access to their indestructible finish. We even get the occasional customer who will wax nostalgic about the gym coating secretly procured by an uncle-in-law’s cousin and how it lasted for decades and always looked as good as the day it was applied.


To these customers, the process by which we, the retail public, establish our expectations is clearly bizarre and full of warped memories and voodoo. And when I, as a customer, go to find a pair of jeans, insisting that “Even though I am a middle-aged woman, the best-fitting jeans were always the old-style boys’ fit button-flys,” and “What-do-you-mean you-don’t-carry-those!” I am forced to admit that I, too, am part of that cult of unrealistic expectation that creates gym-finish worshippers.


But in the meantime, we need to debunk this crazy gymthane myth once and for all. Gym floor finishes do not have a higher solid content than wood floor finishes, and they are not categorically tougher than other wood floor finishes.


People seem to think that gym floors experience more wear than other floors, so they assume that whatever finish can withstand that level of abuse must be super-duper. The fact is that gym floors are simply better maintained than most floors, residential or commercial. I’ll give you two reasons why:


1. Those floors are in schools, and schools consider gym floors an investment. 


They have a janitorial staff and those floors are dust-mopped daily to remove grit and other particles that would wear away a finish. Thus, excellent maintenance.


2. Gyms primarily experience traffic from soft-soled shoes that aren’t worn outside.


A clean soft shoe on a clean floor is not very abrasive.  A high-heeled shoe on a dirty floor is pretty much the same as a sander. If you keep sanders off your floor, the finish lasts longer. Why do you think they had sock-hops in gyms in the 50’s? Not because stocking feet make it easier to dance, but to protect the floor. Schools are also much more disciplined about recoating their gym floors, simply because it is much cheaper to recoat a gym every year than fully re-sand it every three years. But nobody ever sees the gym floor being recoated, so they attribute its longevity to super powers.

Sport floor finishes are almost always high gloss because gloss finishes are grippier, which helps with the stop-start motion of sports like basketball and racquetball. Gymthanes also claim to resist rubber marks and scuffing, and that is a useful characteristic if you are trying to keep a gym floor looking pretty.

If these are valuable attributes for the floor in your home, by all means we can sell it to you. But sport floor finishes only come in five-gallon buckets, which is enough to triple coat between 700 and 800 square feet. But if you have a smaller area, frankly, it would be more cost-effective to simply buy one of the cross-linked commercial finishes which are available by the gallon, and they will be more resistant to day-to-day street shoe abrasion.

Learn more about finishing your floors, and read our 10 commandments of hardwood floor maintenance, to make a regular floor finish wear as well as you think the gym floors do.

Pete’s is your Minnesota hardwood floor refinishing expert!

Visit our flooring supply and rental store.

186 Fairview Ave North, St. Paul, MN 55104

Store Hours:

The store is open for ONE AT A TIME visits during these hours:

Monday: 9-4
Tuesday: 9-4
Wednesday: 9-4
Thursday: 9-4
Friday: 9-4
Saturday: 9-3
Sunday: Closed

Are you local? Call the store!


Can't get to the store?

For "out-of-staters," we sell some of our favorite products online. 
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Hardwood floor advice so you can refinish your own floors.

Look, we’re not promising to turn you into a flooring professional with one lesson. But we guarantee you will do a better job than that contractor you're thinking about hiring off of Craig's list. More

Pete’s gives free lessons? How does that work?

Here at Pete’s Hardwood Floors, we rent all kinds of floor installation and refinishing machines, but you can learn to run them on an actual floor. Take a test drive with our hardwood rental equipment. More

YouTube logo

Watch videos on Pete's YouTube.

Check out our YouTube channel. Especially the polyurethane application video - it's the best explanation for coating you've ever seen.

Think twice before using stain.

For most do-it-yourselfers, a natural finish will produce the best results. Applying pigment evenly to a large expanse of wood is more challenging than you think. More

Rent the right hardwood rental equipment

ez 8 drum sanderFour out of five floors NEED a drum sander.

We know drum sanders have a bad name, but we can show you how to tame them and use their power for good. And save you time and money into the bargain. Who said floor sander rental can't be fun? More

U-SandWhen drum sanders aren't the answer, try the U-Sand.

The U-Sand won't work for every floor, but if you can't run an edger, the U-Sand might save you. More

Use a buffer to maintain your polyurethane?

No, not to polish it, but to prepare it for a fresh topcoat. If you regularly recoat your floors, you will never have to rent a sander again. Doesn't that sound fabulous? More

bostitch MIIIFS prettyFloor stapler v. cleat nailer: is one better than the other?

It depends on what kind of wood and how thick it is. Cleat nailers are less likely to split the tongues of dense, brittle woods like bamboo and brazilian walnut. More

Did you know there are special sanders, just for radiators?

Sanding under those cast iron radiators is way, way easier than removing them. More

What do I do with all my belongings? Can you rent me a storage unit?

Dart storage logoAs a matter of fact, we can! We have special, negotiated rates through Dart, a local portable storage company. Call 651-683-1219 and tell them Pete's sent you.

Renting sanders twice (and moving your furniture twice as well) is always more expensive than doing the job in one stage, even when you include the cost of storage. Call them now!

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What? Floors don't have to be stained? Yes, you heard right. Wood floors should all be protected with something, but stain is not protection; stain is a way to color your floor before you add protection. It is optional and we want to convince you not to do it. Here's why:

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Think through the sanding process...BEFORE you rent a sander

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