How To Sand and Finish HardWood Floors?

Today we’re gonna refinish a hardwood floor we’re gonna use the American Sanders line of equipment that you can find at most rental centers around the country we’re gonna show you some tricks of the trade we’re gonna show you how to use all equipment properly and by the time we’re done.

you’re gonna know how to refinish your own hardwood floor before you get started on your project you need to determine what kind of wood floor that you have there are multiple varieties there’s solid flooring there’s pre-finished flooring engineered flooring only some of these can be sanded and refinished and if you put a sanding machine on the wrong type of floor you’ll be very disappointed with the result so you need to determine exactly.

How to Sand hardwood Floor?

what you have let’s take a look let’s first talk about the solid tongue and groove style floors these floors are usually 3/4 of an inch thick they are meant to last the lifetime and they’re thick where layer allows them to be sanded in multiple times during their usable life factory finished floors are also solid wood but depending on the brand and make of the floor the wear layer may not be as thick as solid wood flooring this type of flooring can be re sanded very nicely then there’s engineered flooring which is made to look like solid wood flooring but actually is made up of thin layers of wood laminate glued together this type of floor usually has a very thin wear layer of wood and cannot be sanded and refinished more than once in its lifetime unless. 

you have a high level of confidence that your engineered floor has enough of a wear layer to handle a resending project then I would not recommend trying to Reese and it as for the vinyl flooring this product is not real wood and cannot be refinished through a sanding process there are a number of ways to determine which kind of flooring you have for instance if you know how old the flooring is you can make some assumptions about the type of the floor.

you’re working with prior to the mid-1980s wood floors were almost exclusively made from solid wood flooring so if the floor you’re working on was laid prior to that time period then you have a large confidence level that the floors solid wood for factory finished or engineered wood flooring. there’s a very distinct characteristic specific to these type of floors it’s called a micro bevel and it is visible where two pieces of wood come together if your floor has this feature then it is either factory finished or an engineered floor another way to determine the type of floor is to inspect the area around a heating vent or the area where the wood floor butts up against the carpet or some other type of flooring before you get started. 

you want to inspect the condition of your floor understanding the condition that your floor is in is actually going to help you select which sanding machine to use we’ve got a dining room here about 110 square feet looks like inch and a quarter oak it’s in pretty good condition floor is actually reasonably flat so we’re not dealing with any kind of cupping or crowning situation that’s going to be a problem we do have some

water damage that we’re going to need to be aware of as we sand might have to spend some more time there making sure that we get that area cleaned up as much as possible but generally speaking this floors and reasonably good shape it’s just old and some of the finish has worn

off I’m gonna use the drum sander in this condition because I’ve got some open space here and I can be really productive with that machine and knock. this project out fairly quickly there are two distinct flooring issues either created by too much humidity or too little humidity in a house a cup floor

How to Finish hardwood Floor?

which is where the edges of the would actually curls up and is higher than the middle of the floor that’s caused by too much moisture or too much humidity reverse of that is a crown floor where the center is higher than the edges both of these are issues that can be corrected temporarily with sanding but really need to be handled long-term with handling the humidity or moisture issues that you might have in your house there are a few safety items that you should consider wearing during your project certainly eyeglasses whether it’s your standard prescription glasses or safety glasses or goggles beyond that a respirator most of the ladies machines have dust containment systems but if you have a machine without dust control you’re certainly going to wear a respirator in

order to keep yourself healthy in that regard hearing protection is always important. these machines while they’re not overly loud they certainly do make noise and then knee protection is certainly a comfort level you’re going to spend a lot of time with your knees prepping this floor and hand scraping and the other types of things we’re going to show you how to do so me protection is also recommended.

once you determine that your floor is a good candidate for sanding and refinishing make your way to the rental center and select your rental equipment it’s gonna be a variety of different machines to choose from each with a little bit of a different feature set that might be more ideal to your project versus another we’ll talk about what these machines do and why they’re different and then you can select the right one for your project the easy a drum sander is going to be the most aggressive machine that you can rent as a homeowner plugs right into your standard wall 110 volts. 

But it’s gonna allow you to flatten your floor it’s going to be the most productive in the fastest one that you can use it requires a little bit of a skill set and some practice in order to understand how to do it right but if you’ve got a floor that’s in bad condition and you’ve gotthe skills to go ahead and run this equipment it’s going to be the one that you’re going to be happiest with most of these bigger machines that you rent to

sand your floor they won’t get all the way up to the wall so you’re gonna have to rent an edger an edger specifically does that last two or three inches around the room right up to the wall line the rotary sander is an aggressive machine that you can also use to flatten. your floor and can be used from floors that aren’t in great shape this machine requires also a little bit of a skill set can be difficult to use and is slower than the drum machine.

But can get into some tighter spaces orbital sanders are the easiest sanding machines to use they don’t have to be run with the grain you can run them in any direction they can be run by anybody you’re not going to damage your floor with an orbital sander the drawback to the orbital sander is that it’s just going to be much slower than the drum sander or a rotary sander.

Sandpaper is gonna be really important in terms of your selection you want to start with the finest grit you can and actually still sand the floor flat so in most cases you want to start with a 36 grit maybe a 40 grit that’s going to be enough I think that’s going to be enough for us to start on this floor and get it cut flat then we’re gonna skip two grits for a medium cut so if we start with 36 we’re gonna skip 40 and go to 50 maybe 60 if that’s what’s available and then we’re gonna skip 2 more grits and go from 60 to say 80 or maybe a hundred depending on the on what’s available to you at your local rental Center so our project has a three quarter inch quarter round used a shoe molding all the way around the room trick of the trade.

You can do one of two things you can either leave this shoe molding in place and actually use the edge or an edge all theway up to it you don’t have to then worry about removing any of this moldingor you can remove this molding and then not have to edge exactly all the way up to the wall that’ll give you a little bit of a margin of error when you’re running that edger around the room you put the shoe molding back in place nobody’s gonna know how close you actually got to the wall if you do that another trick of the trade mark on your shoe molding a 1 or 2 or whatever the number is and then put the koa siding number on the wall where you took this from later on when you get that shoe molding and you put it back in place.

Tips and Tricks

You’ll be able to line it back up with exactly where you took it from so two more tricks of the trade for you before we get started sanding one of the things you need to do is make sure that you have set all the nails on the in the wood that might be exposed if you don’t set the nails below the level of the wood you’re gonna run that over with the sander you’re gonna put a little bit of a damage in the sandpaper and that damage in the sandpaper will actually transfer to the floor so we’re gonna use nail sets and we’re use a hammer and the thing that we’re gonna do that’s a trick of the trade is make sure to use some sort of towel or some sort of soft item that you can actually put the hammer on and the nail as you’re working around the floor any kind of damage you put in the floor now with the hammer by dropping it on the floor you’re gonna have to take that damage out with the sander so we want to prevent that up front the other trick of the trade.

I want to talk to you about is blue tape we’re gonna take blue tape and we’re gonna put it around all the edges of the corners because as we’re moving this sander back and forth along the floor we’re gonna be dragging the power cord behind us in the most likely place for that power cord to get hung up and rub the paint off the wall is gonna be on the corners of the molding so we’re gonna wrap those corners and blue tape

we’re almost ready to get started sanding this floor before we do let’s talk about the process a little bit it’s important when you’re using a drum sander that you actually sand with the grain the whole point there is that on a rough cut our very first cut that’s what we’re gonna use to actually flatten the floor so the rough cuts gonna put a lot of deep scratches into the floor and we want to do that with the grain because that will actually hide the scratches better then we’re gonna have two more cuts after the rough cut we’re gonna have the medium cut and then the finecut and those two cuts are just designed to hide those initial scratches if you have the expander style drum with the sleeve paper it’s really simple to install simply slide it on the end of the cylinder and push it right into place.

Alright so to install on the clamp-style drum you’re actually going to have to back out these screws loosen this this bar plate up and then you’re gonna take this piece of paper and you slide it up underneath that clam so to operate the EZ 8s and your floor again you’re gonna make sure you go with the grain one pass up and one pass back in the exact same spot then you’re gonna move over about half the drum and then take your next pass also a couple of things to realize one is this machine when the drums in contact with the floor you want to be moving if you stop while the drums in contact with the floor. 

you’re gonna leave what to call the drum mark will address some of that a little bit later there’s a handle on this machine that’s going to control that drum you’re gonna have one of two styles either just this top handle here you might find on the machine you rent or you might also have this finger lever and if you have that then you have the option of either just controlling this with your fingers or again you can control it with the main handle as it goes up and down one thing I want to point out to you also is as you go up and down on your pass the best thing to do is to stagger where you stop so don’t always stop in the same spot sometimes.

you’re going to come back a little bit further and then on the next pass maybe you’ll stop a little bit sooner that way by staggering that you won’t ever leave kind of a visual sight line on the floor as to where you’ve been standing.

so when we inspected the floor earlier we noticed that there was some sort of water damage or water spot in the corner we’ve now sanded over that and it’s not coming out most likely that is going to be a urine stain from a pet and that’s going to be penetrated all the way through the board and there’s not going to be any way for us to remove it from a

standing process you could do a board repair and actually remove those boards in place new in there and then sand again but otherwise you’re going to be left with this stain and there’s nothing.

we can do about it at this point when we stand and finish it it will look better than when we started but it is that dark spots always going to be there so we talked a little bit earlier about running the Machine the drum machine that you have to stay in motion while the drum is on in contact with the floor if not you’ll leave a drum mark or a stop mark I’ve actually purposely left one of these in the floor it’s not hard to do you’re gonna end up doing this you’ll back up over the cord and it’ll.

it’ll cause you to do this you’ll you’ll Knick the wall or run into the wall. it’ll cause you to do it it’s not a big deal you can take it out I’m gonna show you how to do that now so the way to take this drum work out of the floor is to cut across it on a 45 degree angle from both directions and then a third time going straight with the grain

so before we remove all the finish from this floor we’re gonna go ahead and show you how to operate the rest of the equipment that might be available to you in your rental center this is the rotary sander it’s a 16 inch machine very aggressive it’s gonna flatten the floor.

it does take some skill to to operate we’ll talk about that in just a minute. it is going to come with some sort of sanding head to attach the paper to this particular head has six different five inch pads that you just apply to paper to you might actually get a sanding head it’s a single piece of 16 inch paper either way the machine is going to operate the same so this particular rotary sander is a dust containment unit.

so it’s intended to be used with the dust dirt and and also a vacuum so you just install the dust skirt. so I’ve got the backpack vacuum all and it’s attached to the machine in order to operate this we’re going to lower the handle we want it down around a comfortable height at your ear hip I’m going to lock it back into place that’s  important that you get to handle lock back into place so once you get the  handle locked in place you want to kind of keep the handle up against your hip this machine’s got a lot of torque to it and it’s gonna want to move left and right once you get it stabilized.

If you want to go to the lift to the right you’re gonna lower the handle just a little bit if you want to go to the left. you’re gonna raise the handle just a little bit just in tiny fractions will cause a lot of movement it’s a very aggressive machine and let me show you how to operate it now all right in order to turn the machine on you’re gonna push the safety button and squeeze the handle again make sure this handle is braced up against your hip because it’s gonna start with a lot of torque one of the other types of machines that you’ll find available your rental Center is going to be called an orbital sander this is the obs 18 it’s a 12 by 18 inch deck sometimes you’ll hear people refer to it.

As a square buff but it is a machine that anybody can run the beautiful thing about it is it doesn’t require any skills there’s no way you’re gonna be able to ruin or damage your floor with this unit it operates in an orbital fashion so you don’t have to worry about sanding with the grain of the wood the one drawback to it is it is going to be slower and less aggressive than the other equipment we’ve shown you so if you have a floor that’s damaged or in really bad condition this is probably not the right machine if you have a floor that’s in good condition and you have some time to sand it this is a great machine for doing that this is also ideal for actually blending scratch patterns between different machines like the drum machine and the edger and we’ll talk about that a little bit later in the process so in order to install the sandpaper on this piece of equipment.

you simply lean machine back the piece of paper is going to come with some sort of either sticky back or a hook back and it will just apply to the pad that’s that’s under that unit so in order to operate this machine you’re going to plug it in lower the handle you can just let the handle float you don’t have to lock it into place and then again you’re gonna push the safety trigger. so another type of orbital sander that’s available is a multi-disc sander they’re a little bit more aggressive than the square types that we just showed you a moment ago this particular unit has three seven-inch heads on the bottom. 

we’ll apply the paper simply by pushing the paper on to the pads we’ll be ready to go one of the nice features about this particular unit is that it’s very transportable so it’s designed with to be multiple components so you can actually take the handle off by flipping these levers and the handle lifts off and away so if you’re in a situation where you don’t have a truck and you just have a car this may be the unit that’s easier for you to transport to and from your location it actually has two lifting handles one in the front one in the back so you can get that in and out of your truck so to operate this unit we’re going to install the dust bag.

it simply slips on to the cuff and the bat plug this unit in and we’re going to lower the handle so it just spins here it’s got a collar that spins and raises and that then allows the handle to drop into place again just like the other orbital sander we’re gonna let it float we’re not trying to lock it into place I’m going to push the safety button squeeze the handle and we’ll be sanding again this unit is an orbital sander so you don’t have to worry about going with the grain of the wood and one of the neat features about this item is its triangular shape and you can rotate the head fairly comfortably and get it into some pipe spaces and some closets under shelves or actually into a corner of the room.

so we’ve completed the first cut or the rough cut using 36 grit on the drum machine and you can see if you look along the wall lines you can see that we’ve got these areas that you simply can’t get with some of the Sanders so we’re gonna use the edger for that and

we’re gonna use the exact same grit paper that we used on the rough cut which is 36 degrees you want to be able to blend those scratches with both machines with this unit it’s got a wrench in the back and a bolt on the bottom that actually fastens this paper all right so it’s got a dust bag that goes on the edger it’s like the others.

it just simply slips over the pipe we’re gonna plug this unit in and now this unit is a very powerful unit so you don’t need to do much work. it’s gonna do a lot of the work but you do want to grip it with both hands kind of in a crouch down or a kneeling position there’s an on/off switch we’re going to turn it on we’re going to leave the pad off the floor when we turn it on then we’re gonna gently laid it down on the floor and we’re gonna move kinda in a clockwise direction around the room.

so we’ve completed the rough cut both the edges and the middle of the floor it’s really important that our next step is to clean the floor vacuum it sweep it make sure we get any kind of abrasive grit or any kind of debris that we’ve got on the floor get it out of the way before we sand it again we’re gonna sand two more times once with a sixty grit and then we’re gonna sand it with an 80 grit and then we’re ready to finish as soon as we’re done doing that we’re gonna come back with another trick of the trade and show you guys how to handle these corners spontaneous combustion or an explosion can occur.

When working with sanding dust the sanding dust can self ignite and cause injury or damage so never leave the equipment unattended that the bag has not been emptied sanding dust should be disposed of properly always empty that dust into a container located outside of the building all right so we’ve got the floor sanded now we’ve got to deal with these corners the edger it has a rounded end on it so you can’t get all the way up into the corners you’re gonna leave a little bit of space you’re gonna take a common paint scraper or hand scraper.

we’re gonna actually use this to take care of these corners we’re gonna lay it up in the corner and go with the grain of the wood and simply pull toward the show.

So that’s how we’re going to handle the corners now this is the blade on this hand scraper will bowl on you so you’re gonna use a mill file to actually sharpen this I should go along one trick of the trade is to make sure when you sharpen this you do it over a claw or some other way that doesn’t get directly on the floor if you leave these paper

These metal shavings on the floor once you apply your finish you’ll end up seeing that later on so now that you’d hand scrape the corners you’re gonna take a piece of sandpaper and you’re actually going to blend those corners back into the floor make sure you sand with the grain so the last sanding step is to blend the scratch pattern so we’ve used 2 different Sanders on this floor so part of the drum machine and also the edger they have two completely different scratch patterns and if we don’t blend those once you put finish on the floor you’re going to see either a halo or a picture frame effect around the floor. 

We’re gonna use the orbital sander to do this we’ve got 120 grit paper on the bottom and we’re just going to go over the whole floor with this machine and that’ll blend the scratch patterns so another trick of the trade is once you’re completely done sanding the floor is to take a bright halogen or fluorescent light and actually take a look at the floor focusing on the wall lines and looking for any scratch patterns or imperfections this is your last chance to fix any of those things prior to applying your first coat of finish or your sealer as soon as you apply that first coat of sealer finish any imperfection is going to jump out at you so at this point we’re ready to finish the floor any debris any sort of abrasive or any kind of dust that is left on this floor is gonna get caught in the finish and we’re not gonna like that look so we’re gonna vacuum one last time.

so we’re ready to finish the floor we’re gonna start with a coat of sealer the homeowner in this case is chosen water-based finish and sealer so we’re actually using American Sanders timber seal we’re gonna put on one coat of sealer and then two coats of the timber guard finish homeowners also chosen a matte finish for this project we’re gonna cut in using a typical nylon two-inch brush we’re gonna use that to cut it around the edges and then we’re gonna use a microfiber roller that you can get at most paint centers or any kind of home center use a microphone i and microfiber roller and you’re gonna get a better result and the one thing you want to make sure you do is plan.


your exit don’t start at the door and work into a blind corner that you can’t get out of actually start at the far end and then work yourself to the door so you know how to get out so following the manufacturer’s instructions we allow the coat of sealer to dry the appropriate amount of time and then we use the orbital machine with a high grit sandpaper to go ahead and abrade the floor one more time just to really smooth it out we vacuumed the floor the last time and now we’re actually gonna use a damp microfiber mop and go over the floor once just to get up any fine dust that is there before we put down this first coat of finish so we’re going to apply the first of two coats of finish we’re using a water-based finish by American Sanders very similar to the sealer we just put down this is timber guard Pro the customer has selected a matte Sheen and we’re going to apply that the same way we did the sealer.

so our project is finished we’ve got two coats a water-based finish on top of a sealer super matte finish it’s very clean very natural look and it’s going to hold up for years to come we hope this video has helped you select the right equipment and run that equipment properly so that you can do your own floors as you want if you’re looking for more information or you have any comments or questions about our this blog. You can comment below of the article.

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