How To Sand Wood Floors

Oct 19, 2023

Even if you are a novice when it comes to solid wood floor sanding it is possible, with a little know-how and a great deal of determination, to sand any type of wood flooring to the all-over smoothness required to build up a brand-new finishing.

​How To Sand Wood Floors The Right Way

Over or under-sanding will unfortunately become glaringly obvious when the floor is finished, and the amateur hand usually shows itself in uneven sanding, bevels or (worse yet) gouges caused by running the machine whilst stationary. In addition to the correct handling of the sanding machine, it is important to know the right grade of sandpaper to use, as well as having a light touch with the edging sander.

​Preparation is key

​Get down on the floor and examine the boards with a careful eye fix gaps, damaged or split boards, and remove splinters before going any further. If the floor is very old then check the remaining width of the planks to see if there is enough meat on those wooden bones to be able to take a sanding. Wood cannot be sanded and refinished indefinitely, so if the planks look thin in places or are beginning to look a bit crumbly then it would not be wise to attempt another sanding. If this is the case then play safe and get a free flooring assessment from a professional wood sanding company before deciding what to do next.

​More than likely you won’t have a walk-through sanding machine lying dormant in your garage, so a visit to your local tool and equipment hire specialist to rent a machine is next on the to-do list. Before signing on the dotted line and taking the machine away make a careful inspection of the drum or belt sander you will be using on your floor. Give yourself the best chance of success by using a machine that looks to be properly maintained, with no worn-out parts, and which comes with a full set of instructions. Have a look at the wheels and make sure they are not loose or uneven and that the on/off switch operates correctly. If this is not the case then take your business to another hire shop.

​Whilst it is true to say that all drum and belt sanders available for hire in the UK are significantly more lightweight than the heavy industry beasts used by floor sanding professionals, it is still possible to complete a good sanding on a floor that is light to moderately stained. For heavy stains and/or damaged wood you would be best advised to go to the specialists to avoid costing yourself more money.

​Once, twice, three times a sanding

packed into the nooks and crevices of the machine.
It may be that your floor requires only two sandings, but the job should never be rushed so allow yourself plenty of extra time to finish it properly.

​When you are ready to start move the machine slowly but steadily lengthwise along the planks from end to end of the room. The bulk of the machine means you will have to turn before reaching the wall which will leave approximately six feet of unsanded perimeter space which you will finish with a hand-held sander when the main sanding is finished.

​Floor sanding is an art and as such it is natural that the gifted amateur will want to try their hand at DIY. When the floor is successfully sanded it will feel ultra smooth to the touch with no slivers, gnarls, or visible stains. When you get to this stage you can feel excited – you are well on the way to a beautifully refurbished floor.