Sanding hardwood floors is the first step in any floor refinishing project. The process is moderately difficult, and you’re going to have to learn how to use a drum sander, which is a bit intimidating for some people. A drum sander can easily damage the wood floor, so you want to take time to ask a lot of “how to” questions when you go to the rental business to rent the device. You’ll also be using the sander with some of the heavier grits of sandpaper, so it’s very important that you understand how to prevent the device from hitting the floor too hard.
The Drum Sander
When sanding the floors, you’ll want to start out using the drum sander with a fairly rough grit of sandpaper. Most people start with a grit of around 20 to 30. The drum sander will have a means to lower it onto the surface gently. The easiest way to get the hang of it is to start somewhere that the wood flooring isn’t particularly exposed. You may want to start to sand where you normally locate the television or where a bookshelf is located. Lower the drum, very slowly, onto the floor and start moving forward, somewhat like you would if you were mowing the lawn. Remember that when sanding hardwood floors, it’s very important to keep the drum sander moving at all times. If you leave it sitting in one spot on the hardwood flooring for even an instant, it will start making gouges.
The drum sander will generate a lot of dust and will make a lot of noise. Mastering the drum sander is the most challenging part of the sanding project. When you’re engaging in hardwood floor sanding projects, it’s important to make sure you have the right safety equipment. You should be wearing hearing protection, a dust mask, a good pair of gloves and a pair of shoes that will protect you against any mishaps. If you have steel toes, this is a good occasion to wear them.
After you’re done making the first pass and when you’re sure that the job has taken care of the worst patches on the floor, switch to a medium grit sandpaper: usually around 50 to 60 grit. After that, you’ll want to use an even finer grit. Most of the time, people finish off the job with and 80 to 100 grit sandpaper. You can use a small hand sander around the edges. You can use wood putty to seal any cracks that may be exposed and to cover any nail heads that may have been polished by the sander.
After finishing the sanding phase, it’s time to apply the stain. Hardwood floor refinishing is moderately difficult as far as home improvement projects go, but with a little bit of practice, you’ll probably get very good at it. If it is the first occasion where you’re doing the wooden floor sanding yourself, start in a room that doesn’t get that much traffic. This way you can practice using the sander effectively and hone your skills before you move on to the most important rooms.