DIY Guide: How to Sand and Varnish a Wooden Floor
For many DIY is more than a way of sprucing up or re-decorating their homes, it is a pastime or even a passion. For those people, a challenge is always welcome, and for many years they would have been the people who might have attempted to sand and varnish the floors in their homes, rather than opting for carpets, parquet flooring, or any other solution. However, it’s not just experts and aficionados who can make the most of their floors, you can too.
Things you will need
Obviously, the first thing you will need is the sanding equipment. A drum sander is generally the most often used machine, alongside the edge sander which will be a necessity for getting into the more cramped areas and the edges of the room (as the name suggests), and the appropriate varying grits of sandpaper for this equipment. You will also need to buy a varnish to use afterwards, and ideally a specific brush for this with synthetic fibres rather than the more conventional paint brushes. If in doubt, ask a professional when hiring the equipment/buying the varnish to ensure you are getting the right items for your floor.
Getting down to business
The process of sanding itself is fairly straightforward. Once you have cleared the room and got to grips with the sander (normally by practising on a less visible bit of the floor, or a piece of scrap wood in case you make any mistakes) it’s time to get to work. Patience is very important when sanding, as you will need to start with a very coarse grit to strip back the heavy layers of wood on the surface, but then careful judgement is needed to make sure you know when it is the right time to transition to a finer grit of sandpaper. This may take some time, but as long as the surface is an even consistency everything is fine. Once you have finished on this front, do the same with the edge sander until the floor is complete.
A sanded floor is all well and good, and itself looks very stylish, but if you want it to last you need to varnish it, not only to protect from stains or accidental damage, but also general wear and tear. Start at the furthest corner of the (now vacuumed) room, and carefully apply the varnish with the brush using even strokes, moving backwards towards the front door. When the room is complete, leave it to dry for around 2 hours while making sure the space is well ventilated. Upon returning, assess the varnished surface as it may need a further coat, or possibly some sanding between coats to give the desired finish, but this depends on your personal tastes.
Sanding and varnishing may sound like hard work, but with preparation, patience, and application it can not only be very rewarding, but yield a stylish and reinvigorated feature in your home. For more help making the most of your floors check out our recent beginner’s guide to wood flooring.