Wood Stripping and Sanding – the Basics
When looking to strip or sand a floor, there are numerous different tools which you can use, but there are three main pieces of machinery that are particularly helpful in order to do the job properly.
The drum sander is the powerhouse of sanding equipment. It is big, bulky and does the lion’s share of the heavy duty sanding. If your floor has had previous finishes or is uneven in consistency, a heavy grit sandpaper on a drum sander will strip it back the required amount to allow for a new finish or stain to be applied. Drum sanders consist of a bag to collect the dust (although some will have smaller bags than others), the sanding unit itself, and a drum (hence the name) which is where the sandpaper is loaded. With this particular type of sander it is advisable to get more paper than you will actually need for the size of the room, and to get varying gradients of paper, something that you will be able to get advice on when hiring the machinery.
The vibrating sander is not always regarded as an essential piece of equipment, and some experts will tell you it isn’t necessary, but it does have some major advantages. A vibrating sander can help you get a more refined finish, removing any dents, or scuffs caused by the drum sander, and will eliminate the need to use a buffer or rotary sander for fine sanding. It is also far more gentle and maneuverable than its larger counterpart, making it easy to operate on larger areas.
While the drum sander and the vibrating sander will work on the majority of any wooden floor, there are still hard to reach areas around the edge which will not be accessible with such large pieces of equipment. As such, the smaller more nimble edge sander comes into play in order to make sure the borders of the room, and areas around pipes and any grooved or oddly shaped walls can be reached. However, caution should be advised, as despite its size the edge sander is surprisingly powerful, and should only be used as an aid to the heavy duty machinery. Extended use of the edge sander for larger areas will only serve to lengthen the time it takes to complete the work, and could easily damage the floor.
Although other tools, such as sandpaper for fine hand sanding, and brushes for staining and varnishing will be needed, for the main portion of the sanding process on your wooden floor the drum sander, the vibrating sander, and the edge sander will prove invaluable in achieving the look, and the finish required to revitalise your ailing floor.