If you are going to refinish your hardwood floors, then you need to learn how to do some sanding. The reason for this is that sanding is the first major step in hardwood floor restoration, and is also the step that takes the longest to complete. Keep in mind that while it isn't all that difficult (as long as you have the right tools) it can take a few days to get everything done right.
- Deck brooms
- Wide brooms
- Dust pan
- Dust mask
- Gloves (rubber or polyurethane your choice)
- Safety goggles
- Floor sander (Drum sanders are quick, but need high control. Orbital sanders take longer, but allow easier control.)
- Floor edger
- Shop vacuum
- 2 large fans
- Sand paper (36, 60, 80, and 100 grit)
- Remove everything. The first step in sanding wood floors is to remove everything from the room. Not only does this make it a little easier to move around, it helps protect your furniture, electronics, and other knickknacks from getting covered in wood dust that can be a pain in the rear to remove. At this time you will also want to hang some plastic sheets over any doorways into or out of the room so that the dust doesn't spread throughout the house. You will also want to close off any vents that you may have in your room as well.
- Inspect your floor. Once you have your floor cleared of all rugs, furniture, and other items, it is time to do a thorough inspection. When you are inspecting your floor take time to seriously look at it. You are looking for any nails that may have come loose (if you find any, replace with a screw instead; they last longer) or cracks that need to be repaired. Fix any problems that you have, but be aware that if a crack is too large you may need to replace that piece of wood.
- Clean your floor. After you have inspected your floor and repaired any problems you may have found, it is time to do a little cleaning. Go over the floor with a deck broom, then a wide broom, and sweep up everything that you can find. This will help remove any dirt or debris that could damage the floor as you are sanding it.
- Prepare to sand. Place a large box fan near one door, and the other in a semi-open window. This will help create a breeze that should help clear out any free-floating dust that will get kicked up when you start sanding. Make sure that the breeze is going from the door out the window, or you could end up spreading some wood dust throughout your home. Be sure that you are also wearing your gloves and dust mask when sanding, it is also a good idea to wear some eye protection as well.
- Sand the floor. Using your preferred type of sander, clip on the heaviest grit sand paper, which is 36 grit, and begin sanding. Make sure that you are continually moving the sander in a steady motion, and that you cover the entire floor. You will need to periodically change out the sand paper but that is ok. Whenever you need to switch the sand paper, use your shop vacuum to clear out as much of the dust as you can.
- Sweep and inspect the floor. Clean off your floor as much as you possibly can using the deck brooms, wide brooms, and shop vacuum. This will allow you to clearly see any areas of your floor that you may have missed, as well as getting it ready for the next stage of sanding.
- Repeat as necessary. Repeat steps two through six using increasingly finer sandpaper until you have a perfectly smooth floor. Once you have finished sanding, make sure that you do a thorough job cleaning up, or you will have some serious problems staining or sealing the flooring.