Sanding Your Own Wood Floor
Whilst it is fair to say sanding a wood floor is not the neatest thing in the world to do, it does requires some upheaval and/or mess (depending upon which way you look at it) but it may not be as fearsome a process as you think.
Horses for courses
However if you are a person who dislikes any kind of disruption, even if it is confined to one room, and cannot work in such conditions then a professional floor sanding solution is the one for you. Select a specialist floor sanding company that offers a no-fee quotation – you may be pleasantly surprised at the relatively small cost involved to give you a beautifully finished floor that will last a decade.
On the other hand if you have refinished a floor before or would like to try and have more than a rudimentary knowledge of carpentry then you can, with a will, some elbow grease and the right equipment, refinish your floor yourself.
Going it alone
First thing’s first – make sure that you give yourself enough time to complete the task. If the room has to be out of commission for a week or even a fortnight then so be it – to rush any part of this process is to invite Mr Botched Job to come a-knocking! Set down the process in clear and concise stages and no matter how much you feel tempted to jump ahead, do not omit any phase.
You will probably be hiring an industrial sanding machine unless you have one lurking around the garage or garden shed unnoticed (unlikely as a sanding machine is pretty big, so you would definitely fall across it!). You can hire a drum or belt sander at a DIY outlet and this sander, along with a small hand-held orbital job for use around edges, stairs and other small areas, will be all the technical equipment you really need. To get right into the corners you might need to use a spatula or a piece of steel wool to remove all remnants of the old veneer.
Your sanding machine will take all grades of sandpaper so be sure to buy a selection before departing the shop. If you are unsure what to buy then ask the counter staff for assistance, giving them as much information as you can, including what type of wood you’re working with (if you know).
Now you want to clear the room, unless other family members have kindly done this for you while you went to pick up the sander. Make sure all curtains and pictures have been removed and if possible take off internal doors, while external doors should be left open for ventilation. Check over the floor and if there are any loose boards, fix them in place. Check in particular around pipes and anywhere floorboards have been removed.
Fill any gaps between the planks with epoxy resin applied with a spatula or the edge of a Stanley knife blade. Make sure you leave a neat job by wiping up residual resin.
Fit the coarsest grade of paper to the machine and begin floor sanding from one wall to the other moving the machine grain-wise along the boards, never across. Over sanding is bad as it removes too much from the wood, which will shorten the life of your floor. In normal circumstances you should expect to sand your floor twice or three times at most.
Attention to detail is everything here so make sure you use exactly the same grade of paper on the orbital sander when it comes time to do the edges. Make sure you change sandpaper (in both sanders) often to ensure there is enough grit to remove the veneer.
When you have finished sanding but before you put the sander away, carefully inspect the floor to make sure there are no unsanded patches. Also to be avoided are the dreaded swirlys which are made if the sander is inexpertly used (again if unsure ask in the hire shop before buying).
When the floor looks smooth throughout then you can vacuum away wood particles and dust before applying your finishing product of choice.