There are many reasons you might need to sand your hardwood floors. The most common is to prepare your wood floor for staining and a new coat of finish during refinishing. While it will take patience, hard work, and some special equipment, sanding your own hardwood floor isn’t impossible and is within reach of intrepid DIYers.
This short guide will give you a rundown of the sanding process and avoiding those pesky sanding marks on hardwood floors.
Important Information About Sanding Hardwood Flooring
Before starting, you’ll want to make sure your floors are a good candidate for sanding and that you have everything you need.
First off, make sure you’re working with a solid hardwood floor! Engineered hardwood floors can usually be sanded once or maybe twice, but because you only get one shot they are better left to the pros. Other wood-like floors, like laminate, cannot be sanded at all, so make sure you’re starting with the right product.
Next, make sure that your hardwood is properly prepared for sanding. Carefully inspect every inch of your floor to ensure that any nails, hardened pieces of dirt, or any other debris have been removed. Your floor should be clean, washed, and vacuumed before you start the sanding process. Make sure you’re prepared with proper ear, eye, and respiratory protection before you begin.
Lastly, let’s discuss your choice of sanding machine. There are three main types: square vibrating sanders, buffer sanders, and drum sanders. Square vibrating sanders are the easiest to use and the most forgiving – but they can only sand a very small area at a time. You won’t be able to use square sanders for anything but the smallest rooms.
Drum sanders are the choice of professionals for sanding hardwood floors. These are powerful machines that need to be used with care or else they can easily cause damage and marks that are tricky to fix. If you can use one effectively, however, they are by the far the fastest and easiest way of sanding down your floor.
Buffer sanders are probably the best bet if you’re sanding your own floor. However, even these machines can be tricky to use – so do some research first!
You’ll also need several grades of the appropriate sandpaper for whatever machine you’ve selected. For sanding floors, a combination of 60, 80, 100, and 120 is a good bet.
Tips And Tricks (How To Avoid Marks On Hardwood)
Once you’re about to start sanding, here are some tips for avoiding those unsightly sanding marks.
- Go With The Grain: As all sanders will leave some kind of mark, big or small, it’s important to always sand with the grain. If you sand properly and avoid leaving big marks, this will ensure that any unavoidable small marks are in the direction of the grain and so are less obvious.
- Up The Grit: Using the next grade of sandpaper is a great way to remove the stains left by the pass with a lower grit. For example, 100 grit is a good bet to remove any marks left by sanding with 80 grit.
- Keep An Eye On Your Work: After finishing each pass with new grit, make sure to clean the floor and remove all sawdust to inspect your work. Make sure you’re happy with the results before moving on.
How To Remove Sanding Marks On Hardwood Floor?
Also called chatter marks, these are introduced by improper sanding. If you’ve noticed that you’ve introduced some deep, unattractive sanding marks, here are some tips to remove them:
- Don’t switch things up: Try to use the same type of sander and the same type of sandpaper that created the marks to remove them. If necessary, redo some or all of the floor.
- Slowly increase the power: If you can’t remove the marks using the same tool and grit that made them, slowly increase the power of the sander you’re using and decrease the grit of the paper.
- Diagonal: Cutting across the marks on a diagonal can be a good way to remove stubborn chatter marks. However, be careful not to introduce any new ones!
- Bring In A Pro: This is the last resort for anyone at this stage of the process, but if you can’t resolve the problem yourself, it can be a good idea to bring in a pro. Ultimately, you’ll end up saving time, money, and stress.
Sanding down your own floors can be a great way to exercise those DIYer muscles and save a little money – if you can avoid leaving marks! As long as you pick the right floor sander and stick to these simple rules, you should have a smooth ride. Happy sanding!