The Definitive Guide to Wood Stripping and Sanding
The older the home, the more important it is to preserve the original features. Restoration is great way to bring some of those parts of the property’s features back to life, and ensure that they are in good condition for years to come. One such restoration technique is to reinvigorate the floors in the house or flat by using a sander to give the wood the look that it once had, while also adding a tidy potential profit should you wish to sell the property. But how do you make this a reality? Well, it does involve some specific machinery and some effort, but it is easier than you might think.
Choosing the right equipment
One of the first decisions that you have to make is what sort of machinery is right for the job you are undertaking. Getting the wrong machines, while not disastrous, will certainly make the job more difficult, and may damage your floor. Sanding is a permanent removal of a layer of wood from the surface, and although you can correct mistakes by re-sanding there are limits to how many layers you can remove before it weakens the wood. As such, I always recommend the drum sander for the bulk of the work, and a vibrating sander to correct any minor imperfections. An edge sander is also a requirement, as even if you choose not to use a drum sander (opting for perhaps an orbital sander or something similar) as there is not a small enough sander that is designed to be use, or will effectively be able to complete the job on both the main floor and the edges to the appropriate level. When you hire your equipment you should also speak to the professionals at the hire shop who will be able to give you further instructions and advice, as well as showing you how to fit the sandpaper. Also worth noting, is that you will require a number of different gradients of sandpaper ranging from coarse to fine for each machine.
On the day you want to use the sander, it is important to make sure you room is clear of any obstructions, or anything that might be damaged by the residual dust from the sanding. With the room clear, you will also want to designate an area of the floor to get comfortable with the sander. Ideally this will be an area that is less visible so if you make any mistakes initially this can be easily hidden.
Getting down to business
Sanding itself is a fairly time consuming process, but it is mostly fairly simple to do. With all three sanders you will want to ensure that you use fluid movement, and do not jerk the machines as this will cause gouges in the surface. The drum sander should be used first to do the main body of the floor, again frequently changing the grit of paper you use to get the correct amount of wood stripped back. The edge sander is next, again sticking with the same gradient variations used on the main part of the floor. Finally, the vibrating sander can be used, just to remove any small gouges or divots caused by the drum sander, and to give an evenly textured surface.
Those are the basics for the actual sanding process, but there are a myriad of options available after the sanding which can provide a great finishing touch. Much has been written on varnish, stains, and other types of finish, so I won’t delve too heavily into it here, as that information is readily available. However, whatever you choose by sanding your floor you will almost certainly improve the condition of the wood, and add value to your property, especially if you are dealing with a period property where you have been able to restore one of its original features.