How to Sand a Hand Scraped Floor
Although hand scraped wood flooring is created to look distressed and does cover up wear and tear very well for this reason, there will come a time when the scuffs and scrapes become too much and a refinishing will be required. When this happens the process is similar to refinishing wood flooring in general, except that the number of sandings may differ, as will the grade of sandpaper used in the machine.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that sanding a hand scraped floor is easier than working on a smooth floor. The boards can become just as easily damaged with rough handling of the floor sanding services machine and caution should always be taken when using any type of industrial machinery, including sanders.
Once you have completed the rudimentary prep of removing loose or sticking up nails, fixed loose boards and filled in any gaps, remember to seal off room vents and around the doorways of nearby rooms. Sanding produces a fair bit of dust that can easily travel throughout the house, causing an unpleasant reaction if there are asthma sufferers or young children at home. Before beginning work ensure there is a good flow of fresh air throughout the room.
The sanding machine
It is likely that you will be using a drum sander. This is a largish machine that you can walk along the boards rather like a vacuum cleaner. Of course, the difference is that the sander produces dust and can also damage your floor boards if incorrectly used. When you are wielding the drum sander never, ever allow the machine to run whilst stationary, as the drum will keep on turning and cause nasty gouges in the boards, which will almost certainly be unfixable and require replacing.
At the time of hiring the drum sander you can purchase the sandpaper discs that fit into the machine. For hand scraped floor use a 100 grit paper for the initial sanding. When you are ready switch on the sander and move steadily along the wood grain. Make sure you pass the machine along every area where it can comfortably reach. Areas close to the wall, corners and other nooks and crannies will have to be hand sanded. As with the sanding machine you can use 100 grit paper in your hand held sander as well.
When the first sanding has been completed you will begin to see more of the bare boards and less scraped veneer. However, with hand scraped wood in particular, it is likely there are stubborn bits of varnish or wood stain which won’t give up without a fight! So a second sanding will be required.
This time change the paper to one of 180 grit in both the drum sander and the hand held machine. Re-sand the entire area exactly as before. Hand scraped floors will require a third (and hopefully last) sanding during which you can use a 220 grit paper. Remember to lightly vacuum between sandings and don’t try to complete the sanding process in one (or even two) days. Depending upon the size of the room and the original condition of the floor, re-sanding is a large scale job and should never be rushed. After the final Dust Free Floor Sanding and vacuuming, rub a damp cloth along the boards to gather up and dust which has escaped the vacuum.
Your hand scraped floor should now be ultra-smooth to the touch and quite possibly a few shades lighter than it was. This is natural and can be remedied during the finishing process.
When you are applying finishing to the floor be sure to adhere exactly to manufacturer’s instructions for your health and safety. All finishing products sold in the UK are completely toxin-free but keep that steady flow of air as you work.