Advice For DIY

May 10, 2023
advice for DIY

DIY Guide: Expert Tips for Floor Sanding and Restoration

Genuine wooden floors, whether they’re hardwood boards or parquet blocks, can be a valuable feature in any property. Regular maintenance will prolong their life, and some floors will eventually benefit from restoration. Although sanding and refinishing require a high level of skill, a skilled DIYer can complete it.

By following these tips on preparation and safe sanding, you can bring your floors back to their original beauty.

Be methodical and safe.

DIY Guide

Dust and some sealants, like lacquer, are highly flammable. So, please, no smoking or open flames while sanding and sealing.

Preparing the room:

Clear the room as much as possible: remove furniture, rugs, curtains, pictures, and other items that can be conveniently handled.

Complete any decorating in the room before working on the floor.

Cover large doorways with a sheet or plastic covering.

  • Place rags or towels under the closet or fitted wardrobe doors. Cover all air vents.

During sanding:

  • Check the fuse supply to ensure the machine does not overload the circuit.
  • Unplug the sanding equipment when not in use or when changing the paper.
  • Provide adequate ventilation during sanding and refinishing.
  • Empty the dust collection bag frequently into a container. Wood dust is a fire hazard, so keep the container away from the job site.
  • Never stop the sander with the drum in contact with the floor.
  • Clean, soft footwear will prevent dirt marks and scratching.

Sanding and Refinishing Equipment: Depending on The Job and The Shape of your Room, you may need the following Items:

  1. Drum or belt floor sander
  2. Edger Disc Sander
  3. Rotary Floor Buffer and Maintainer
  4. Vacuum
  5. Sandpaper (fine, medium, or coarse)
  6. Grade 120 Mesh Screen Disc with Pad
  7. Hammer and Nail Set
  8. Pry bar
  9. Hand Scraper
  10. Dust mask, safety glasses, earplugs

Preparing the Floor

  • Glue and nail loose boards.
  • Repair or replace any damaged boards.
  • Hammer flat all protruding nail heads.
  • Vacuum or sweep the floor.

Sanding the Floor: A small wooden wedge between the skirting board and the pry bar of the sander will prevent damage to the skirting board.

New floors, recently installed or slightly worn: First, sand in three stages (coarse abrasive paper: grit 24 or 36).

  1. Install the sandpaper following the manufacturer’s instructions on the machine. Make sure it fits snugly—neither too tight nor too loose.

Position the drum sander along the wall in the direction of the wood grain, leaving about two-thirds of the length of the floor in front of you.

Start the machine and ease the drum to the floor. Walk forward at a slow, even pace. As you near the wall, gradually raise the drum off the floor.

Start pulling the machine backward as you ease the drum back onto the floor. Walking backward, cover the path previously sanded, raising the drum upon completion of this pass.

The next cuts should be performed in the same way: move the machine each time approximately four inches into the unsanded floor area.

After a few passes, your sander’s dust bag will start to fill up. Stop sanding, and make sure you empty it often.

  1. When two-thirds of the room is sanded, turn the machine around. Sand the remaining area in the same manner, allowing a two- to three-foot overlap of the first cuts.

If the sanding rate begins to slow down, your sanding sheet is probably clogged or worn out. 

When sanding your wooden floor, it’s important to take breaks and change the sandpaper regularly to avoid causing burn marks or damage to the floor. After the initial sanding, use an edger disc sander to sand near the walls and other areas that the drum sander couldn’t reach. Use the same grit abrasive as on the drum sander and move the edger in a left-to-right, semi-circular motion. Don’t try to remove all the old finish during the first sanding. Subsequent sandings will remove any residual amounts. Vacuum the entire floor to remove any dust or debris.

For the second sanding, use medium-abrasive sandpaper with a grit of 60. Sand as before and apply wood putty to exposed cracks, allowing it to dry before proceeding to the third sanding. For the third sanding, use fine abrasive sandpaper with a grit of 80 or 120 and sand as before.

If you want to apply stains or sealants to your floor, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines for applying them. Keep in mind that floor sanding is a skilled and ambitious DIY job, so if it seems too challenging for you, it’s always a good idea to call on the professionals at Sanding Wood Floors. Their services are available 7 days a week.

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