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Old 09-15-2011, 05:06 PM   #1
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


Been doing a lot of research since it seems this type of job is fairly difficult and have a few questions.

Background: 1,000 sq ft hardwood floor, 1 living room, 2 bedrooms, a hallway and a dining room. Base boards are removed. Floor looks even but has some nasty scratches. My handiness skill level is above average so I tried to compensate by doing a lot of research.

Questions: I'm renting a drum sander (Clark), edger and buffer from Home Depot. I already own wood chisels to chisel out the corners. Any thing else I should rent or have?
My notes say I need 36, 80 and 100 grit sandpaper. How many sandpaper rolls of each grit type?
I'm also renting a rotary buffer and expect to get screens and 120 grit sandpaper with adhesive to put on the screen. Sound ok?
I've seen and read that a clean floor before coating is critical to avoid bubbles and roughness. Should I use tack rag and mineral spirits after vacuuming? I've read that sealing is also a good idea to improve adhesion but I've also seen no mention in other sources. Should I do it? I plan on using a Satin Polyurethane finish, no stain. At the end of the sanding and buffing process should I use tack rags and mineral spirits to clean the surface before coating on the Polyurethane? If so what is a quick way to do such a large area?
What tips can you give when operating the drum sander?
A couple I've seen and need verification: Operate the drum sander with a high grit (100) at first just to get used to it. Then once you build some skill, start the job. Only sand backwards if you are a beginner. Pencil in lines after each sanding to make sure you get everything. The first sanding should be at a slight angle (10 degrees) to even out the floors. THANKS!

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Old 09-15-2011, 09:45 PM   #2
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


You don't mention how good/bad/old the floor is. Obviously, you have to sand to the depth over a large area to the deepest scratches. Have the boards shrunk and show cracks between the boards?

if the cracks are large (match thickness, you have the choice to fill the cracks with a two pack epoxy filler before sanding and the cracks then become a feature.

The alternative is to carefully pull up the boards and renail after cramping the boards tight. There is a custom made tool to lever the boards up. Usually, if the nails are hammered into softwood, the nails will come up with the boards. If they are into hardwood floor joists, the boards will come up with the nails still stuck in the joists.

You then go and hammer them flat with the joist surface, or use an angle grinder to cut them flush. You remove the nails in the boards, and to minimize damage you would renail the boards using the same nail holes. If the boards are cupped (place a steel rule edge over several boards) then you need to sand down to the bottom of the cups to get a flat floor.

If you decide the boards can stay you still need to go over all the existing nails and using a nail punch, punch them at least 1/4" (assuming an average 1/8" of sanding) below the surface, otherwise you will expose all existing nail heads and they will rust.

Also allow sufficient depth to fill the nail holes with a coloured hard setting putty. Then proceed with sanding. Use a beltsander or triangular sander to reach corners and edges you can't reach with the drum sander. The simple rule is once you start a drum sander do not allow to stall in one position, or ruts will result and these take a lot of effort (and wood thickness) to sand out. Cheers!


Last edited by oh'mike; 09-16-2011 at 07:48 AM. Reason: Added spaces
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:09 PM   #3
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


Thanks JoJo. The floor is in good shape. It was a boardline buff and recoat versus sand and refinish decision. The deciding factor was some nasty scratches. The boards look fine to me. No cracks, doesn't really squeak, no buckling.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:41 PM   #4
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


If it's possible to carefully remove the badly scratched boards and replace them bottom side up, I wouldn't hesitate to sand the floors and apply three coats low sheen polyurethane floor sealer/finish. It should cost you much less than going for a hard cold floor such as ceramic tiles. Also you won't face the problem of different floor heights to the rest of the house.

Cheers!
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:26 PM   #5
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


One tip on using the drum sander, don't stop when it's running. Keep it moving. A couple seconds and you will have a dip where it sat.
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:08 AM   #6
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


I just got done doing the exact same layout. I went with the orbital over the drum because of the potential of ruts in the floor. I had great results although it did take along time. I used 36 grit-80-120. I never used mineral spirits, just sweep/vacuum between each grit. Sweep/tackcloth before and between each coat of poly. I didn't use a sealer because the product I used didn't require one.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:15 AM   #7
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


Never skip more then one grit . 60-80-100
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:03 AM   #8
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffrock View Post
I just got done doing the exact same layout. I went with the orbital over the drum because of the potential of ruts in the floor. I had great results although it did take along time. I used 36 grit-80-120. I never used mineral spirits, just sweep/vacuum between each grit. Sweep/tackcloth before and between each coat of poly. I didn't use a sealer because the product I used didn't require one.
I would recommend considering the same thing.

You can rent the 4-head random orbital floor sander, from HD, for the same money as the drum sander. It'll take a bit longer to do the sanding, but the r-o sander is MUCH more forgiving!
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:56 PM   #9
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Floor Doc, Did everything and things are looking good. I'm just finished putting on the first coat of Poly and there is a little roughness. Does this get out with subsequent buff and coats? Thanks.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:57 PM   #10
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


DrHicks, Did everything and things are looking good. I'm just finished putting on the first coat of Poly and there is a little roughness. Does this get out with subsequent buff and coats? Thanks.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:23 PM   #11
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


You have to screen in between the first coat.
Just walk up and down the length of the floor .
You don't want to sand it , just knock off the ruff and give the second coat something to grab to .
Make sure to give the coats enough time to dry first .
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:27 AM   #12
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Sanding Hardwood floor tips


When a more in-depth cleaning is required, use a cleaning method appropriate to the finish on your floor. If your floor has a glossy finish, it means that polyurethane, or a water-based urethane, or a similar finish has been used to form a protective barrier over the hardwood. If it has a matte finish, it means that the floor is protected with a penetrating seal of oil and/or wax. On neither of these finishes is water an acceptable cleaning agent, but both of them can accept a surface, damp-mop cleaning, which means the mop is not wet but only damp to the touch. You are cleaning only the surface and not using enough water to penetrate even the oiled-and-waxed hardwood.

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