Floor sanding can be done by a do-it-yourself homeowner or by an experienced contractor. Many people think that floor sanding requires a professional. This is simply not true. Although many do-it-yourself home improvement projects require some level of expertise, homeowners with little or no experience can still perform the same floor sanding procedure and achieve impressive results.
Being able to achieve great results starts with using the right tools and equipment. Using the right gear will make the project much easier.
Let’s take a look at what the professional floor sanding companies use:
A drum sander is a specialised tool which is used to quickly sand wooden floors. The experience of using a drum sander is not too dissimilar to using a lawn mower.
It makes floor sanding much, much more time effective than simply relying on a handheld belt sander or orbital sander. What’s more, it has various grit sizes that can control the abrasiveness of the sanding. This means that you can use it on any type of wooden floor no matter how bad the condition of the floor is.
Simply start at lower grit sander paper and gradually move down 3-4 levels of abrasiveness and finish with a smooth, fine grit sandpaper. For most DIYers buying a drum sander is not necessary as they can be rented from your local tool shop for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one.
Unfortunately, your drum sander will not be able to sand right up to the edge of the room. That’s why it’s a good idea to also hire an edger. As the name suggests an edger is an orbital sander which is able to sand the floor surface all the way to the edge of the room, some models can get within 1-2mm of the edge.
Like the drum sander the sandpaper can be changed to suit the stage of sanding you are at. Because the edger is an orbital sander, it will create lines against the grain of the floorboards. That’s why it’s best to use it first then use a drum sander afterwards.
The drum sander will remove the perpendicular lines created by the edger and ensure any lines created from sanding follows the grain of the timber thereby masking their appearance.
Unfortunately, being an orbital sander, the edger won’t be able to reach the corners the room which you are sanding. Therefore, you’ll need a detail sander also known as a mouse sander to finish off that last little bit in the corner of the room. These sanders are fairly cheap, and you only need them for the corners so you may be better off simply buying one from the local hardware store instead of renting one from the tool shop.
Sandpaper and sanding block
It’s always good to have extra sandpaper and a cork sanding block handy when undertaking a floor sanding project. These can be used in instances when you have one or two slightly warped floorboards. Instead of sanding them down until they are flush, which can take a long time with the drum sander, you can simply use the sanding block to sand in the groove.
Floor sanding can be very dangerous if you don’t wear the proper protective gear. If you are sanding wooden floors, it’s going to be very noisy and dusty. The fact of the matter is that the sander will produce small particles of saw dust which will become airborne. To make sure you don’t inhale them, you should wear a dust mask and safety glasses.
Also try and work in a well-ventilated area by opening a few windows in the room which you are sanding. Additionally, the noise from the machinery will be deafening if you don’t wear adequate hearing protection. Make sure you always wear earplugs or earmuffs when undertaking this kind of project.
Finally sturdy footwear is a must, ideally you should be wearing steel caped boots in case the sander hits your foot. This is especially when using the drum sander which can easily get away from you if you’re not paying close attention.
Hammer and nail punch
Before you begin the floor sanding process it’s important that all the nails are sitting a couple of millimetres below the surface of the floorboards. Throughout the course of floor sanding, you’ll be removing a couple of millimetres from the timber floors.
If you fail to do this the nails will rip up your sandpaper and possibly even cause damage to the sanders you are using. To drive the nails below the surface of the floorboards simply go around the room and use a hammer and nail punch and knock the nails below the floorboard surface. As an additional extra you can fill in each of the holes with putty of a similar colour to your floorboards.
Plastic sheeting and tape
Floor sanding creates an enormous amount of dust, and this dust becomes airborne and settles on anything and everything. That’s why it’s important to prepare the room for floor sanding by clearing the room entirely. If you are only sanding one room in your house use plastic sheeting and tape to create an impenetrable dust barrier to prevent the dust from floating to other areas in your house.
Vacuum cleaner and bin bags
Once you’ve finished sanding, you’ll need to vacuum clean the floors, walls, windowsills and possibly even the ceiling! This is a tedious task but unfortunately there is not much you can do about it. Check your local tool hire shop and see if they have any vacuum cleaners with a wide nozzle. Using such a nozzle will help speed up the cleaning process.
Getting expert results is certainly achievable for DIYers. Having the right tools is the first step to achieving impressive results. Now you know the tools and equipment professional floor sanding companies use, you will be better prepared to embark on your floor sanding project. If in doubt you can always find informative how to guides on YouTube or online.