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Floor Sander Basics – The Machines you Need to Re-finish your Floor

Posted on May 15th, 2014 In: Floor Sanding Articles

floor sanding basicsIt will come as no surprise to hear that sanded wooden floors have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. One look around the homes of friends and family will likely show the replacement of lino or engineered laminate flooring with hardwood floors, and it’s easy to see why given the major and well documented advantages hardwood floors provide. However, while there are many ‘how to’ guides  readily available online, very few advise on what is the best type of sander to hire, or what the role of those machines are. Luckily, we are here to give the full lowdown on the three most commonly used sanders, and why you need them for re-finishing your floor.

Drum sander

While it is the heaviest sander you will need to hire, the drum sander is also perhaps the most vital component of your floor sanding adventure. It will almost certainly require two people to lift the drum sander into your car when you collect it, as well as from your car to your home and back again. This behemoth of a sander is comprised of three main parts, the drum which is where you attach sandpaper sheets, a dust bag, and the sander itself. This is the equipment you will need to sand the largest portion of the floor.

Edge sander

While the drum sander is a powerhouse of a machine, its more nimble relative is just as important in the process of sanding your floor.  The edge sander is a much smaller unit with an oscillating sander piece, and a small dust bag. It operates in much the same fashion as the drum sander, only on a smaller scale, and is used to get into the areas that the drum sander is too big to operate in, namely the edges of the floor. It is worth noting, that while this machine is capable of doing larger areas it is not advisable as it will take an extraordinary amount of time, and is not as cost effective as the drum sander. It is very much a specific tool for a specific job.

Vibrating sander

Some tools are more of a luxury than others, and that is certainly a characteristic some would argue that fits the vibrating sander. However, I am of the belief that it is a very necessary piece of equipment.  The main function of the vibrating sander is to remove any gouges or uneven patches in the wood, some of which can be caused during the sanding and others which may already have existed in the wood. This is essentially the use of something closer to a floor polisher with a very fine grit of sandpaper so that it only works very gently on the wood, without causing abrasions in the same way as the drum sander. This will help leave the floor smoother and ready to have a finish applied.

These are the three most important pieces of equipment, in my opinion. However, if you are not sure if these are the right machines for you it is always advisable to ask an expert so you can determine if there is a better course of action. However, for the majority of floors these machines will do the job, and help transform your wooden floor dramatically.

For more floor finishing tips see this recent post.

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