Sanding a Wooden Floor – The Basics
Have you ever looked in an interior design magazine and seen a beautiful wooden floor? And have you ever wondered how it’s done? Well wonder no more, as it is a much simpler process than you might think. Like most do-it-yourself tasks there are a variety of options available to you, and figuring out what sort of look you want for your floor will dictate what is most appropriate for your needs.
However, before you make any decisions, it’s time to assess what condition your floor is currently in. Not all wooden flooring types are suitable for sanding and re-finishing, for example if you have engineered or laminate flooring. If you have hardwood flooring that is the most appropriate for this process, and is the easiest to transform into the floor you want. Also, at this stage you want to check whether the boards you have are damaged or showing signs of rot. If they are slightly worse for wear it is best to replace them at this juncture before proceeding any further with the work.
Ask a pro
Once you are sure your floor is a prime candidate for re-finishing, it is time to speak to a professional. You will want to get the correct equipment for your floor, as well as the correct finish for the look you are after, and the professionals at your local hire shop will be able to help advise what is the best option for your needs. However, in most cases I would argue there are 3 pieces of equipment that will be essential for your needs:
– A drum sander
The most powerful commercially available sander, the drum sander is an essential for any floor sanding operation. It is a very large machine, so be prepared to have two people to lift it into your vehicle and into your home.
– An edge sander
The more nimble cousin of the drum sander, the edge sander is designed to get into the nooks and crannies that the larger drum sander can’t get into. Although the edge sander is no appropriate for doing the whole floor, not least due to the sheer amount of time it would take.
– A vibrating sander
The third piece of equipment is much different from its counterparts, as the vibrating sander is more about finesse and finish than the practical drum sander, or the agile edge sander. It is used to carefully remove slight imperfections from the floor, which are often caused by the power of the drum sander, but which are a necessary evil in removing a layer from the surface.
The finish you want will be governed by what sort of look you want your floor to have. Some people choose to stain their wood to get a specific colouration, but this needs to be compatible with the type of finishing agent you employ. For example, a wax finish will give more of a matt appearance, but it is less compatible with certain stains, while a polyurethane varnish is more universal, but gives a glossier finish.
There are of course hundreds of how to guides online which can explain in detail the techniques needed to reinvigorate your floor, but without doubt these are the basics which you will need to achieve the finish you want, and make you old floor look shiny and new.