A guide to floor sanding – the essential information
Sanded wooden floors are becoming an increasingly common feature in homes all over the world. In recent years it has been beneficial to homeowners looking to sell their property, as it actually can add a significant amount to the value of your home. But how do you go about it?
Ask a pro
The first port of call when looking to sand your floor, is to ask people who do it for a living. Professionals can advise on what type of machinery, finish, and stain will be suitable for your needs, and for the type of floor, and room that you are working with. In some cases it might be more suitable to hire a professional to complete the work, although this will usually be more costly than hiring the sanders yourself.
Once you’ve hired your machines (often a drum sander, an edge sander, and sometimes a vibrating sander) it’s time to prepare your room. Everything that can be removed should be, in order to make your work area as clear as possible. You should also get yourself the correct safety equipment including protective goggles and a mask to minimise the chances of dust related injuries.
Practice makes perfect
Sanding involves taking a layer off the wood, an action which cannot be undone. With that in mind it is worth being comfortable, and practised with your sander before taking on the main visible surface of the room. The last thing you want is an unevenly sanded floor, or to have to try and rectify a mistake that could have been easily avoided. To avoid these issues, simply find a piece of less visible floor space, perhaps somewhere that will be hidden by furniture to get used to the varying weight, power, and general feel of the sanders. Alternatively, if possible, using some scrap wood is an equally viable option to ensure you are genuinely ready to sand your floor.
The real deal
Once you are ready, it’s time to tackle the main floor. With all types of sander, you are going to want to be careful and employ a patient approach. If you take your eye off the ball it is easy to take extra layers off the wood without even meaning to. In general you want to move the sander in fluid movements, avoiding jerking or suddenly pulling the sander as this will result in gouges or divots in the wood. Remember to change the sandpaper as necessary throughout the process, as you won’t want to continue with the coarse grit beyond a certain point, and the finer grit paper will be more useful in refining the surface.
After the sanding itself has finished, and you’ve cleaned up any excess dust, it’s time to look into the best way to finish your floor. There are a number of options available, including staining, or using a varnish-style finish. Different options will inevitably be suitable for different flooring types, and what is appropriate for your particular floor will need further specific research. As always, if in doubt ask a professional for help.
For some fantastic floor sanding tips read this recent post.