Floor Sanding 101 – Part II – Using a Floor Sander

Floor Sander

Now that you have mastered using a floor sander, we can move on to the more complex side of professional floor sanding.

While you may now be calling yourself a professional floor sander, you may want to take a rest day in between sanding days because the entire process is quite physically challenging for the best of us. If you haven’t read Part 1 in this series yet, I suggest you do that first.

Read the following carefully and take your time with the sanding process.

Floor Sander (Belt or Drum) –

Once you have completed sanding the floorboards diagonally with the 40 grit sand paper, you will now begin sanding with the grain of the wood.

Prepare your floor sanding machine with the same grit sand paper that you used to diagonally sand the floorboards earlier. If you did a thorough job crossing the floor then the rest of the process should be relatively straight forward. During the grain sanding process you will want to keep a look out to ensure you have removed all diagonal scratches that the cross sand created in the timber.

Once you have sanded with the grain using the same grit as the cross sand, you can now start moving up in the grits of the sand paper.

Repeat the above steps with the new grit of 60 and then subsequently with 100 to complete the sanding process.

*Tip: Do not skip the progressive sanding steps. The higher the grit the sand paper the less timber that it removes and therefore if you skip the gradual grit changing process (40 to 60 to 100), you will find that there will still be groove marks on the floor that the 40 grit paper has left that the finer papers are unable to remove.

Fine Edging –

The final edging process  is one that professionals will not allow a trainee to do for quite a while. The reason for that is because it is extremely difficult to get the edge of the board flat and smooth without markings. Getting it perfect is a normal expectation of professionals. DIY is not going to be the best, but hopefully with the below tips you should be able to satisfactorily complete the process.

*Tip: When the edging machine is on and you lower the disc onto the floor, remember that exactly like the belt sander, you should not  leave the sander stationary and in contact with the boards. It should be continually moving. You should move the machine back and forth in a narrow zigzag pattern. Once you have done this for a foot or two, you should do one long swipe along the edge next to the wall to ensure that area is completely clean, then move on.

Due to the way the disk is positioned on the floor you should be moving to the right, clockwise around the room.

Finishing Coat Preparation –

Now that you have finished the floor sanding process and your timber is clean, level and smooth, you are finished using your floor sander machines and it is time to move onto coating your floor.

Your first step is to thoroughly vacuum the floor. Take one board at a time and work systematically across the room. Ensure that any dust or timber in between the gaps of the floorboards is collected by the vacuum.

What you need before starting the finishing coat:

  • 8 inch roller, handle and pole
  • Brush
  • Finishing product
  • Bucket or at least paint tray
  • Ask your local hardware or floor sander machine rentals for advice on the type of finishing coat to use.

For the remainder of the floor sanding process please see the article “Floor Sanding 101 – Part III”.

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