How Long Does It Take to Sand Hardwood Floors?

Sep 22, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Sanding Hardwood Floors: Duration and Factors to Consider

Sanding hardwood floors is a vital step in the process of refinishing them. It helps in removing old finishes, evening out surfaces, and preparing the wood for a new finish. But one common question that homeowners have is, “How long does it take to sand hardwood floors?” The answer to this is not as straightforward as one might hope. Several factors can influence the duration. Let’s delve deep into understanding these factors and the sanding process.

Hardwood floors are a timeless addition to any home, boasting both elegance and durability. However, like all things, they wear over time, collecting scratches and dents and losing their lustrous shine. Refinishing floors can bring them back to their original glory, and sanding is a critical component of this transformation. Many homeowners, considering the DIY route or simply seeking to understand the process better, often wonder about the time commitment involved. In this post, we’ll explore the various factors that determine how long it takes to sand hardwood floors and what one can expect during the process.

Sand Hardwood Floors

Understanding the Basics of Sanding

Before we jump into timeframes, it’s crucial to grasp the basic concepts of sanding hardwood floors.

1. Why Sand Hardwood Floors?

Sanding is essential to:

  • Remove old finishes and stains.
  • Level uneven boards and eliminate deep scratches.
  • Open the wood grain to ensure the new finish adheres properly.

2. Types of Sanders

Two primary types of sanders are used for sanding hardwood floors:

  • Drum Sanders: powerful tools that sand away the bulk of old finishes and scratches.
  • Edgers are used to sand areas close to walls or tight spaces where drum sanders can’t reach.
Sand Hardwood Floors

Factors Influencing Sanding Duration

Multiple elements come into play when estimating the time required to sand hardwood floors:

1. Floor Size:

The more square footage, the longer it’ll take. It’s simple math.

2. Current Floor Condition:

Floors with deeper scratches, stains, or dents will require more sanding time.

3. Type of Wood:

Harder woods like oak or maple will take longer to sand than softer woods like pine.

4. Number of Sanding Passes:

Often, floors require multiple sanding passes with different grit sandpapers, from coarse to fine, to achieve the desired finish.

5. Experience Level:

Professional sanders with years of experience can complete the task more quickly and efficiently than someone attempting it for the first time.

Sand Hardwood Floors

Typical time estimates

1. Small rooms (less than 150 sq. ft.):

A small room, like a bedroom, can typically be sanded in 2-4 hours with a drum sander and another 1-2 hours with an edger.

2. Medium Rooms (150–400 sq. ft.):

For medium-sized rooms, expect to spend 4–8 hours with a drum sander and 2-3 hours with an edger.

3. Large Rooms or Multiple Rooms (more than 400 sq. ft.):

This can take a full day or more. If you’re tackling an entire home, it may span several days.

Sand Hardwood Floors

Steps in the Sanding Process

To further understand the time involved, let’s break down the steps:

1. Preparation (1-2 hours):

  • Remove all furniture from the room.
  • Check for protruding nails and set them below the wood surface.
  • Clean the floor to ensure no debris interferes with the sanding.

2. Coarse Sanding (Variable):

  • Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper (e.g., 36 or 40 grit) to remove the old finish.
  • Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid cross-grain scratches.

3. Medium Sanding (Variable):

  • Switch to a medium-grit sandpaper (e.g., 60 grit) to remove any remaining old finish and smooth out the floor.

4. Fine Sanding (Variable):

  • Use a fine-grit sandpaper (e.g., 80-100 grit) to give the floor a smooth finish, preparing it for staining or sealing.

5. Edging (Variable based on room size and number of obstacles):

  • Use an edger to sand areas near the walls, corners, and any other hard-to-reach areas.

6. Cleanup (1-2 hours):

  • Sanding generates a significant amount of dust. Ensure a thorough cleanup to prep for staining or sealing.
Sand Hardwood Floors
Sand Hardwood Floors

Additional Tips

  • Hire Professionals: If you’re concerned about time, it might be worth investing in a professional service. They have the experience and equipment to complete the task efficiently.
  • Safety First: Always wear protective gear, including safety goggles, ear protection, and a dust mask.
  • Stay Patient: It might be tempting to rush, but remember that the quality of sanding directly affects the final look of your floor. Take your time for the best results.
Sand Hardwood Floors

Fastest Wood Floor Sanding Machines

When it comes to sanding hardwood floors, efficiency and speed are often priorities, especially for professionals who handle multiple projects. The market offers a variety of machines, each boasting unique features and capabilities. Below is a list of some of the fastest wood floor sanding machines, known for their power and speed:

  1. Lägler Hummel Belt Sanding Machine: A favourite among professionals, this machine is known for its power and efficiency. It’s great for both small and large sanding jobs.
  2. Clarke American Sanders, Super 7R Edger: Perfect for edges, corners, and other hard-to-reach areas, this edger is powerful and offers precision.
  3. Bona FlexiSand DCS Buffer: With its powerful motor and flexible system, it’s designed for a variety of jobs, including sanding, oiling, and more.
  4. Galaxy BD12 Belt and Drum Sander: A versatile machine that can function both as a belt and drum sander, offering speed and adaptability.
  5. Pallmann Cobra Sanding Machine: Known for its high speed and aggressive sanding capabilities, it also boasts an effective dust extraction system.
  6. Clarke American Sanders EZ-8 Drum Sander: Great for novice users and professionals alike, this machine is user-friendly and efficient.
  7. Kunzle & Tasin Taurus Belt Sander: Another favourite in the industry, this machine is known for its aggressive sanding capabilities and durability.
  8. Lägler Trio Three-Disc Floor Sander: Designed for versatility, it can handle both rough and fine sanding, making it ideal for multiple stages of the sanding process.

Remember, the “fastest” machine isn’t always the best choice for every job. Depending on the condition of the floors, the desired finish, and other factors, the right machine might vary. Always consider the specific needs of your project when selecting a sanding machine.

Sand Hardwood Floors


Sanding hardwood floors is a labour-intensive process, and the duration varies based on multiple factors. However, whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or seeking professional help, understanding the process can equip you with realistic expectations. Remember, the aim is to bring life back to your floors, making the effort well worth the time!

Sanding and refinishing your hardwood floors is more than just a weekend project; it’s a rejuvenation of the very foundation of your living space. The time invested in this process is a testament to the value and beauty of hardwood as a flooring choice. Whether you’re wielding the sander yourself or enlisting the expertise of professionals, having informed expectations ensures a smoother experience. Ultimately, the gleaming, refreshed floors at the end of this journey will stand as a rewarding testament to your efforts, radiating warmth and charm throughout your home.


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