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How Do I Sand a Hardwood Floor the right way?

Updated on March 15, 2010

When it comes to sanding floors, you will need one part instruction and two parts patience.  If you don't think that you can be patient and take your time with the sanding process, then I suggest you try to locate a professional contractor to do the job.  Typically, it isn't very expensive and you will get the results that you were hoping for.

But what if you want to refinish your hardwood yourself?  If you are willing not to rush things, sanding floors is really not a hard process at all.  Time consuming it is...hard not so much.

If you have lifted that old dingy carpet and discovered that for whatever reason, the previous owner chose not to show off the hardwood or if you have a house with lots of wood floors that have taken a beating over the years, you should feel good to know that refinishing a floor is really not that hard.  All it takes is a little saninding and refinishing and you will have those old floors looking like they need to be on HGTV.

There are several things that you will need to refinish your floors.  You will need a couple sanders.  One is either a disk sander (something I don't recommend) or a drum sander as well as a sanding block or power sander to sand those hard to reach places like around floor vents or corners.

Luckily, you won't have to go out purchase either.  Most hardware stores such as Lowe's or Home depot rent them out on a day-to-day basis.

Once you have your sander at your home, you will want to make sure that the floors are as clean as possible.  This includes dirt and small debris but you will want to hammer down any staples, tacks or nails in the wood as they will interfere with the sanding process.

The cleaner you can make your floor before sanding the room, the better.  I usually will do a quick sweep with a broom and then vacuum and follow this with a damp mop to make sure that the area is completely clean.

 In most cases, one pass is not going to be enough.  Typically, you can expect to make 2-3 passes and in some rare cases such as floors that are made with extremely hard wood such as oak floors, you will need a few more passes.  The general rule is that the harder the wood is, the more time you will need to take in the sanding process.

Once you have finished sanding, you will want to thoroughly clean the area again and then prep it for staining.  The darker the stain, the more layers of finishing you will need to apply.

That is pretty much all there is to refinishing and sanding hardwood floors.  The longer you take on your floors, the better your floors are going to look.


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