Hardwood floor sanding is one of those tasks that seems intimidating at first, but once you get started it’s actually not as daunting as you first thought. Sure, this is your hardwood flooring we’re talking about here so it pays to be overly cautious about each and every step.
Not to worry, the experts at Buff and Coat are here to give you some helpful tips for doing the job right the first time.
The first thing you need to know is that this is a process that you will be doing more than once. Sanding will require three, four, maybe even five passes and each one will require a finer grit on the sandpaper you are using.
But it’s all about finding the best grit level for your first pass at the task. From there, you should be able to determine which grit choices are necessary for your follow-up passes.
Choosing the Right Initial Grit
Take a look at the state of your floor. How old is it? How damaged is it? What kind of wood is used in your flooring? These are all going to play a role in the selection of your starting grit. So before you go to Home Depot to get your sandpaper, think about these facets of the condition of your floor.
Now that you’ve gathered the pertinent information regarding your flooring, you can select your initial grit for your sandpaper. A good of rule thumb to remember is that you want to choose a coarser grit for floors with extensive damage and harder types of wood.
Sanding the Floors
Take your initial pass with your starting grit. You’re going to want to use a drum sander for this as it will enable you to do the most effective job possible on your flooring.
Sand every inch of your flooring and for those jobs that are being done on two separate floors, start with the top floor first. In addition, don’t do each room separately, continue sanding all of the square footage as you are able with the cord length of your sander.
Remember, take your time. Go slowly. Don’t miss any spots.
You’ll also find that the sander can’t reach every spot in your room. Don’t worry about it, that’s what the next step is for. Once you’re finished with your first pass, it’s time to fire up the edger.
Edging the Room
Be sure you have the same grit level on your edger as you did on the drum sander. Now get to those areas near the walls that your sander couldn’t reach effectively. You may even notice distinct changes in the appearance of your floor along the edges that your sander was unable to get.
That’s what the edger is for, now sand down these areas. But you might also find you’re having a little more trouble than you did sanding the rest of your floors, that’s because there is less wear and tear along the outer edges of the floor.
If your experiencing some difficulties, simply change to an even coarser grit and give the edges a first pass, to sand down the finish that hasn’t been affected by foot traffic in and out of the room. Once you take off the top layer, you can switch back to the grit you were originally using to finish the job. You’ll know you’ve done that when the edges match the rest of the floor.
Now that you’ve sanded the room completely you’ll notice the floor is covered in the remnants of your hard work. You can’t leave all of that dust and debris lying around, you need to get rid of it all before you start your next pass with a finer grit level of sandpaper.
That particulate may seem like no big deal but if you leave it on the floor and start sanding and edging again, you risk damaging the surface of the floor. Sanding that debris will mix badly with your finer grit and cause serious scratches in the wood.
So always sweep up or vacuum after you sand every time.
Repeat the Process
As we mentioned earlier, you will need to do this process a few times to sand the floor properly. You will not choose a finer grit level of sandpaper and do it all over again. Sanding first, then edging, and always cleaning up afterward.
Keep repeating the process until you’ve reached a fine grit level that produces the finish you are seeking for your floors. If you plan to stain them, you’ll need to continue sanding until you reach a grit level that is extremely fine by comparison to the coarser level you started with.
But only you know what your flooring needs and so you will decide the sequence of grit papers to get from start to finish.