How to properly sand hardwood floors

One alteration that drastically changes the look of a room is sanding your hardwood floors, as long as you know how. Here are a few tips and tricks to keeping those floors looking better, longer.

How to properly sand hardwood floors

If you've got children or pets, your hardwood floors may be in need of some refurbishing.

  • If you're wondering how to sand a hardwood floor, you'll be glad to know that it isn't as difficult as you may think.
  • Sanding hardwood floors does not require professionals. Here are some easy steps to help you through the process.

Tools you'll need

  • Sander
  • Sand paper (most rentals include some sheets of sand paper)
  • Shop-vac to clean up
  • Floor covering product
  • Paint rollers for flooring

Step 1: Prepping your floors

  • Make sure the floor is clean. This includes making sure all nails and screws are below surface.
  • Make sure all repairs to the floor are made (as in repairing loose boards or missing boards).

*If you're only doing a partial refinishing, make sure you are using a compatible finish with what was on the floor before.

Step 2: Sanding

  •  Rent a floor sander (drum sander, pad or belt).
  • Start with coarse grit sand paper and sand until satisfied with one layer and then go finer to the degree of sanding that you wish.

*Make sure to sand with the grain (with the boards and not across the boards).

Step 3: Clean again

  • Make sure all sanding residue is removed, including sawdust in the cracks. A shop vac can come in handy to suck up any debris that may be left behind.
  • Make sure to clean the areas you are working on very thoroughly.

Step 4: Apply floor finish according to directions

You may wish to consider a different floor finish depending on type of use (as in traffic volume). Think bachelor apartment vs. household of kids with toys.

  • Will your floor be subject to dings, scrapes and scratches?

Contact your flooring retailer for better understanding of product.

  • Some products require one or two coats, while other circumstances may require more coats. If it's high traffic, more coats will be required.

*Depending on the type of finishing you have selected and are using, a very light hand sand between coats will make higher gloss and will remove hair or dust that were stuck in the finish.

Cleaning between coats is required if you do any light hand sanding. Drying time varies depending on product, temperature, and thickness of application, as well as how porous your wood surface is.

Tips to keep in mind

There are a few additional things to remember when sanding hardwood floors.

  • Make sure that you have good ventilation when taking on this project.
  • Lastly, remember when applying finish, don't paint yourself into a corner!
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