What No-one will Tell you about Sanding your Floors (& How We Did It?)
Around 6 months ago, I felt the need to try and make some changes to the look of my home, and quickly deduced that sanding and finishing the floor in my living room would be a great way to do this without having to spend a fortune or needing to hire a team of professionals. Of course, like anyone else in my position I was pretty unsure of the process at first, but I quickly realised that with a few key pieces of information I could easily transform my floor.
Getting the right equipment, at the right time
The most important thing about sanding the floor was getting the right equipment, and being ready for when it was available. I didn’t know beforehand that most hire shops do not have a large supply of the sort of machinery that is required for this job, so we needed to book the machinery in advance. In order to maximise the time we had the equipment for, and to minimise the cost, we ensured that that our room was clear of all furniture as well as the curtains, ready to be sanded. I also made sure we had the appropriate safety gear in the form of goggles and masked, especially as I am an asthma sufferer so the dust can be very harmful.
What equipment do I need?
After speaking to a professional I found out that 3 main pieces of machinery are required to do the job properly. The drum sander, the edge sander, and the vibrating sander. The drum sander was a big machine, so big and heavy that we actually struggled to carry it between two people. Of the three it was also the most difficult to master, and took a good bit of practice to get the hang of.
However, once I did get used to it, the drum sander worked really well. In contrast the edge sander and vibrating sander were much easier to use, although they took much longer to make a real impact on the wood.
How long does it take?
Sanding our living room was not as time consuming as we expected. We got everything cleared from the room on Friday night, picked up the sanders on Saturday morning, and we were done and had the finish applied by Sunday night. I’m not for one moment suggesting the work was easy, and we did work fairly intensely during that period but it certainly is not as time consuming a task as perhaps some would have you believe.
Sanding your floors is all well and good, but you need to finish your floor to get the full effect of the work you’ve just done. Applying the finish was easy enough, and although there are various options available, a polyurethane varnish finish is the hardest wearing, and will give you more options in the long term. You may need more than one coat (we did), and we had to sand between coats, just to even out the texture, but that’s not always the case. One really useful tip when applying the finish is to get a synthetic vinyl paintbrush as you will get less loose hairs which could get stuck in the varnish.
These are just some of the things we learnt doing the work ourselves, and of course every job is slightly different. However, if you bear these things in mind, it will certainly make your experience a much smoother one.
There also professionals available to do the hard work for you, so that’s worth considering too if you’re lacking time and energy.