The Role of Grit Sequence in Sanding

Sep 17, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Wood Floor Sanding: Mastering the Grit Sequence

Wooden floors possess an unmatched aesthetic appeal that has made them a choice for homeowners for centuries. However, to maintain their sheen and ensure longevity, wood floors often require sanding. A crucial element of this process is the grit sequence used. Understanding how the grit sequence operates can help achieve a flawless finish. In this post, we delve into the role of the grit sequence in wood floor sanding and how to effectively implement it.

In the world of wood floor restoration, the role of the grit sequence in the sanding process often takes centre stage, representing a vital step in reviving the timeless elegance that hardwood floors bring to any space. Wood flooring, synonymous with both traditional and contemporary interiors, requires meticulous attention to detail during the refurbishment process. Harnessing the potential of a well-executed grit sequence can make the difference between a rejuvenated, glowing floor and one that appears lacklustre and worn. This blog post explores the nuances of the grit sequence in wood floor sanding, a process that stands as a testament to craftsmanship and the pursuit of perfection in flooring restoration.

What is grit, and why is sequence important?

Grit refers to the coarseness of the sandpaper. The number denotes the number of abrasive particles per square inch. A higher number indicates finer sandpaper, while a lower number is coarser.

Grit sequence refers to the progression from coarse to fine grits during the sanding process. A proper sequence ensures that the floor is evenly sanded, removing all imperfections and preparing it for finishing.

Grit Sequence in Sanding

Beginning with the Right Grit

1. Assessing the Floor Condition:

The initial choice of grit largely depends on the floor’s condition. If your floor has deep scratches, dents, or is uneven, you’ll likely need to start with a coarser grit, like a 24 or 36.

2. First Pass:

This initial sanding round removes the old finish, levels the floor, and prepares the wood for the subsequent sanding stages. Coarse grits can leave behind their own scratches, which is why moving through a sequence is essential.

Grit Sequence in Sanding

Advancing through the Grit Sequence

1. Intermediate Grits:

After the initial pass, switch to intermediate grits, typically ranging from 40 to 60. These are essential to removing the scratches left behind by the coarser grit. Skipping this step can result in visible scratches on the finished floor.

2. Fine Grits:

Ranging between 80 and 100, fine grits give the floor a smooth feel. At this stage, the wood is nearly ready for finishing. Sanding with fine grits ensures that stains and finishes apply evenly.

3. Extra-Fine Grits:

For floors that require a particularly smooth finish or for certain types of wood that are more delicate, grits ranging from 120 to 150 can be used. This last step ensures a velvety touch to the floor, laying an impeccable foundation for the finish.

Grit Sequence in Sanding

Key Considerations During the Sanding Process

1. Keep the sanding passes even.

It’s crucial to ensure that each sanding pass is done uniformly across the floor. Uneven sanding can result in noticeable dips and rises.

2. Regularly change sandpaper:

As sandpaper is used, it becomes dull. Continuing to sand with worn-out paper can reduce efficiency and leave uneven results.

3. Clean Between Each Pass:

After each grit stage, clean the floor thoroughly to remove all dust. This prevents dust particles from scratching the surface during subsequent sanding passes.

4. Understanding Wood Grain Direction

Being cognizant of the wood grain direction is fundamental to achieving a successful sanding process. Sanding in the direction of the grain reduces the likelihood of creating cross-grain scratches, which can be noticeably unsightly and difficult to remove in later stages.

5. Temperature and Humidity Control

Maintaining a stable environment is essential during the sanding process. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause the wood to expand or contract, potentially affecting the outcome of the sanding process. It is recommended to control the climate of the room to prevent such issues.

Grit Sequence in Sanding

The grit sequence in edge sanding

While the main floor area is sanded using large sanders, the edges require a different approach. Use an edging sander for this. However, the grit sequence philosophy remains the same: start coarse and progress to finer grits.

Final Steps Post-Sanding

1. Buffing:

After sanding, buffing with a screen disc can help smooth out any minor remaining imperfections and prepare the floor for finishing.

Grit Sequence in Sanding

2. Finishing:

With the floor sanded and buffed, it’s time to apply your chosen finish. This could be oils, lacquers, or varnishes. The smoother the sanded floor, the more uniform the finish will be.


Sanding Wood floor is a transformative process. It removes years of wear, tear, and old finish, revealing the fresh wood beneath. However, achieving that pristine finish is not just about sanding, but sanding right. The grit sequence plays a pivotal role in ensuring that each layer of the wood is sanded to perfection, laying the foundation for a beautiful finish.

In retrospect, understanding and implementing the correct grit sequence in wood floor sanding is akin to mastering an art form. It’s a process that demands patience, knowledge, and a deep respect for the material at hand. As you transition through the different stages of grit, you’re not merely smoothing a surface but resurrecting the innate beauty and character of the wood, allowing it to grace your space with renewed grandeur. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a homeowner embarking on a DIY project, adhering to the proper grit sequence can be your gateway to achieving floors that are not just refurbished but transformed, reflecting the harmony of grain patterns and the gentle sheen that speaks of quality and craftsmanship. Let this guide serve as your pathway to achieving the brilliance and longevity that your wood floors deserve, ushering in an era of renewed grace and elegance in your living spaces.

Remember, while the process might seem laborious, the results are rewarding. A well-sanded and finished wooden floor can last for decades, standing as a testament to the time and effort you’ve invested.


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