Sanding hardwood floors is an essential step in refinishing and restoring them. Sanding removes the top layer of dirt and grime and smooths out any unevenness, making the floor look new again. While some homeowners might hire contractors to handle the job, DIY-minded folks or those on a tight budget can tackle it themselves.
Sanding hardwood floors can be a tricky process and requires some skill and knowledge, but with the right tools and preparation, most people should be more than capable of handling it. If you’re wondering how to sand hardwood floors, the following information will make the process as smooth as possible.
How To Sand Hardwood Floors: Clearing the Way
Before you begin sanding, you’ll need to prepare the room by removing furniture, rugs, and any other items that may be in the way. You’ll also want to cover any doorways or openings with plastic sheeting to prevent dust from spreading to other areas of your home.
The first step in sanding your hardwood floors is to remove the existing finish with a floor scraper or chemical stripper. Chemical strippers are easy to use, but they can be messy, require cleanup, and typically include ingredients that pose health risks.
It’s best to choose green products that are safe for you and the environment, so many people opt to use a floor scraper. While this is more labor-intensive, it is also more precise and doesn’t require hazardous chemicals.
The First Pass: Making Some Dust
Once you remove the existing finish, you’ll be ready to begin the sanding process. To start, you’ll need to rent a floor sander, which you can find at most home improvement stores.
There are two main types of floor sanders: an orbital sander and a drum sander. An orbital sander is best for small areas or for removing a light coating of finish, while a drum sander is better for larger areas or for flooring with multiple coats or heavier layers of finish.
Before you begin sanding, read the instructions for the floor sander and wear all of the necessary safety gear, including a dust mask, goggles, and earplugs. Start by sanding the floor with the coarsest grit of sandpaper recommended for your particular type of hardwood flooring.
The Second Pass: Fine Work and Careful Cleanup
After the initial sanding, you’ll need to vacuum the floor and repeat the process with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. Again, be sure to work in the direction of the grain and overlap each pass of the sander slightly.
Once the sanding is complete, you’ll have to vacuum the floor a final time and follow that up with a tack cloth to remove any remaining debris. Any dust left on the floor will look like scuffs or scratches once the finish is applied. To avoid this, you may wish to carefully clean the prepared floor with an appropriate product to ensure it’s ready for refinishing.
Tips for DIY Sanding Your Hardwood Floor
Be sure to sand with the grain, as sanding against the grain can cause scratches and unevenness on the surface.
Work in small sections at a time, making it easier to track where you’ve already sanded and where you still need to sand.
Use fine-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining rough spots after the initial sanding, follow up with a tack cloth, and clean the entire floor with a high-quality product before refinishing.
Always wear the necessary safety gear, including a dust mask.
Refinishing in Your Choice of Colors
Finally, you will be ready to apply the finish of your choice. You can achieve different effects with different colors of finish, and you may wish to explore a few options before settling on a final shade.
Special Hardwood offers Rubio Monocoat products such as sample-sized bottles of a full range of designer colors, perfect for narrowing down the choices. Each bottle covers roughly five square feet of flooring in one coat. Like all Rubio products, the samples contain no dangerous chemicals or volatile organic compounds which may harm your health.
Knowing how to sand hardwood floors is the key to a successful refinishing project. Following the steps above, you’ll be able to give your home a bold, beautiful new look without the complication and added expense of working with a contractor.