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The PROFESSIONAL FLOOR REFINISHERS

How to Sand a Floor

by Canadian Sanders

Sanding A Wood Floor DIY enthusiast

DIY enthusiasts can sand hardwood floors, but whether or not it’s a good idea for amateurs is still up for debate. We’ve got you covered if you’re interested in learning how to do it yourself. We’ll guide you through the process and help you determine if it’s worth hiring professionals instead.

Tools You Will Need

Drum Sander

Edger

Buffer

Palm Sander

person holding yellow and black cordless power tool

Vacuum

Edger Sand Paper

Buffer Screens

Drum sand Paper

Note1: You will also need.

  • Protective eye wear
  • Respirator mask
  • Hearing protection (optional)

Sanding Wood Floor Process

Drum sanding

When sanding your floors, using the drum sander on all the main field areas is important. If you’re sanding floors on two different levels, start with the upper level and work your way downstairs to avoid having to haul the machines upstairs multiple times. Let the drum sander finish the grit in the first room before moving on to the second, and then let the edger begin in the first room once the drum sander has moved on. 

The edger

When sanding your floors, using the edger to sand all the areas the drum couldn’t reach is important. Make sure to use the same grit you just used on the drum. Remember to drum first and edge second. The edger can sand marks out from the drum sander. If you encounter clogging and glazing almost immediately, don’t worry. What you need to do next is to move down to the next coarser grit on the edger. Now, you can move on to the next grit in your sequence, using the appropriate grit that matches the previous drum sander pass. With the edge area in the same condition as the rest of the field, you can confidently continue your planned sanding process.

 In some older homes, more finish may be present around the edges due to significant foot traffic wearing away most of the finish in the main field. If you switch to the edger and find the grit clogging up and glazing almost immediately, switch to the next coarser grit and quickly remove about half of the finish. Then, continue with the correct grit to match the drum sander pass you just finished. This ensures that the edge area matches the field’s condition and allows you to proceed with your planned grit sequence.

Clean

After completing each sanding pass, sweeping or vacuuming the entire room is important. This is because particles from the sanding mineral can fall off the abrasive and litter the floor after every grit pass. Even if you’ve moved on to a finer grit, the coarse particles from previous passes can still be driven into the floor by your drum and edger, causing big, deep gouges to appear. So make sure to clean up thoroughly after each pass to avoid any unwanted damage to the floor.

Remember to sand all the areas that the drum couldn’t reach using the edger with the same grit you just used on the drum. It’s pretty straightforward at this point, but take your time and do a thorough job.

Repeat

Make sure to repeat the steps until you have sanded the entire floor through 80 grit. Once you have established your pattern, it’s important to continue sanding without skipping grits until you reach either 80- or 100-grit. If you plan to stain your floors or are sanding a maple floor, it is recommended that you use 100 grit as the finishing grit. Remember to work harder to ensure that all evidence of your sanding is removed, especially on the edger, which is easier to do when you can sand to a finer grit.

Sand under toe kicks

To ensure a seamless blend with the cut from the drum sander and edger, remember to sand under all radiators or toe-kicks using a radiator edger. 

Corners

Scrape/sand corners & radiator feet/pipes for a seamless finish. Use carbide or carbon steel scrapers or small triangular sanding heads. Lightly sand with 80-grit paper to match other sanders.

Inspect the room perimeter after the final edger passes for the remaining edger swirls. Use hand-sanding with 80-grit to remove them. Be aware of using palm or orbital sanders to prevent over-polishing.

Buff

Use a buffer with 100-120 grit to create a uniform scratch pattern. This ensures uniform absorption of the finish and a consistent, blotch-free look.

Vacuum

For a perfect finish, vacuum the whole area twice, paying attention to cracks and edges. Use a soft-bristled wand to avoid plastic residue marks.

Dry Tack

Once you’ve vacuumed, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe away any remaining dust. 

Summary

It seems like a task many people try to tackle on their own, but it has risks. The key is to work smartly and carefully, using all the right tools, to achieve the desired result without causing permanent damage to the floors. However, it’s best to call in the experts if you’re not confident in your ability to do it properly. The goal is to work on your home to give yourself peace of mind, not add unnecessary stress or regret.

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