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Old 07-03-2009, 06:46 PM   #1
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


I will soon be renting a sander to strip the hardwood floor in my house.. I am going to do one room at a time.

My question is, is it easy to use one of these sanders? My main concern is getting the floor flat.. I guess I am worried about it not coming out smoothly..

When sanding, do you go over the same area more than once or is a pretty quick process?

If I am doing one room at a time (I may have to rent the sander more than once, since I am not doing everything in one day).. Should I worry about part of the flooing being a different level than the others (going from room to room).

One last thing, in my house I have three bedrooms. The master bedroom, front room, and dining room REALLY need to be sanded and refinished. But the two other bedrooms have little wear at all and look like they are already finished and there is no damage to the floors. Do I still need to sand these rooms to make them level with the rest of the house?

Is it easy, while sanding, to make all rooms at the same level?

Thanks!

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Old 07-03-2009, 07:52 PM   #2
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


If you have never run a floor sander before I would suggest you hire that part out. It is easy to leave unwanted marks and to gouge the surface. It takes a little practice. There is nothing fast about doing a nice job and you will have to go over the floor a few different times with different grits. You will also need an edger for the perimeter. It's also best to tackle everything at once as you will only have to clean the dust once, you won't have to worry about the transitions between rooms, and you will save money on the products and rentals.

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Old 07-03-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


I rented a drum sander for my last house ~100 years old
The floors were a mess, so I couldn't really make them any worse
It is a lot of dusty work & not that easy to get stuff even
I was putting down a carpet almost everywhere so most was covered
My main goal was to stain it, some areas would show, but I mainly wanted to get the crud off the floors from sticky tiles

This house we had 2 rooms sanded, stained & finished for $700 total
Well worth the price
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:13 PM   #4
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


Thanks! I don't want to do it myself, but the quotes I am getting are far too high.

It also seems like most professionals don't want to use a product they don't know. I found a non-voc product online that's supposed to be "one finish" (www.monocoat.us) but when I call around for quotes, the companies I call aren't really willing to use this product.

They are also giving me a quote for the product they use which is like 3 coats (3-4 days of work). Ugh!! I am not even offered a discount for purchasing the product I want (Monocoat). So I will end up spending a lot to hire someone.
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:24 PM   #5
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


I called Home Depot and they have three different sanding machines... The one for beginners (like me) takes longer, but uses sand paper..

Does anyone know about this? I've never heard of a sanding machine using sand paper.. Would that work well ?
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:28 PM   #6
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


I can understand not wanting to use a product that they have never used before. It has not been "tested and approved." I have never heard of it either, but it may be a very good product. Perhaps you simply need to talk to a few more flooring contractors...I can't imagine that no one would want to do this for you.

You could also ask to see if they have a no voc finish that they use that you could accept.

Or you could just hire them to do the prep work and you could do the finish.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:10 AM   #7
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


Thanks -- A few of them I spoke to kept trying to talk me out of the no-voc products I want to use. They kept telling me there was no smell to their product after it drys... I've had problems in the past with workers promising there would be no odor and there was.. So, I really can't trust it.

Not sure if I can find someone to do the prep work, I will look into that. Thanks
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Old 07-04-2009, 09:22 PM   #8
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


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Originally Posted by irishgem@ymail. View Post
I called Home Depot and they have three different sanding machines... The one for beginners (like me) takes longer, but uses sand paper..

Does anyone know about this? I've never heard of a sanding machine using sand paper.. Would that work well ?
The one I rented used "sandpaper"
But it was rolled sandpaper to go around the drum, not a flat piece
I started out with 60 grit to get the junk up
Any sandpaper I didn't use I recd credit when I brought it back
I went to a tool rental company, not HD
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:50 AM   #9
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


I don't normally try to discourage homeowners from trying it themselves, but my personal experience is that floor sanding is much harder to get right than it seems. It is easy to gouge the surface, ruining a floor. It is easy to create dips and high spots, creating a poor final appearance. We did one room in our house renting a machine, and it came out OK (not great, but OK), however afterwards we decided that the amount of work required was more than expected, and the savings were less than hoped for, in short it just wasn't worth it.

But hey, if you don't like the quotes, and you don't like the product the finishers want to use, it's your house, give it a try. I expect that the finishers have products they have used for years, they are comfortable using them, they get the kind of results they and their clients are happy with, and in short why should they switch to a different product that they are unfamiliar with? From the perspective of a floor finisher, if the results don't come out the way you want, they are probably anticipating a call back at no cost, which is unacceptable from a contractor perspective.

Around here in MA, you can get floors refinished in the range of $3 per square foot, which typically includes sanding and three coats for finish. And some finishes smell horrible while they are drying, but based on other folks who have had it done, the smell is gone in two to three days. A good time to have the process done is while you are out of the house for a few days, maybe on a brief vacation. This assumes of course that you trust the finisher not to burglarize your place while you are gone.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:17 AM   #10
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


good thread!

i have refinished floors in my 100yr old home, see HERE for lots of details.

if you are trying to strip old wood or level the floor, don't bother with the sander that is "good for newbies but takes longer" - it won't work for what you want. rent the drum sander with 20grit and get to work. its not that hard. the drum sander takes off with a lot of force when it hits the floor, like you are water skiing. it is very strong, so be prepared with a lot of strength to hold it steady. then work your way up through the grits.

the edger tool sux. it leaves swirl marks like crazy, even if you use all the grits. it is hard to see the swirl after being sanded (they show up when you put the stain on). so you can put mineral water, just a light dab of it (i think this is the right product, someone mentioned it in one of my floor refinishing posts elsewhere). then you can look and see if there are any swirls and work them out over time.

when applying stain, it is applied ACROSS the grain. and polyurethane is applied in THIN coats WITH THE GRAIN. pole sand with 220 grit sand paper (takes 5 minutes to do 100sq ft) between coats of poly. sand inbetween even if you by the pro grade stuff that says doesn't need sanding. trust me, it takes 5 minutes to pole-sand a floor and you always get better results.

it takes time, but it can be done.

i did my floors myself, and my neighbour with similar house had his done professionally. i would say my floors are 90% the quality of what he got.. but mine cost $500 and his cost $3500.

i am ok with 90% because i have an old house and nothing in this house is perfect. if i owned a million $ home that was beuatiful and perfect, i would hire pros only.

$0.02
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:32 AM   #11
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


I went to home depot to ask a couple of questions about renting a sander and they tried to sell me al these products. Now, I am aware of Sealer/Finish.

But, I was told before I used those that I would have to use a product called "Wood Filler" or something like that to fill in any parts of wood that isn't flat.. Is this really needed?

Also, I may be trying a sandpaper sander - which is for beginners - but it doesn't get very close to the edges. Is there a good product to use to get the edges? I don't think home depot rents out hand sanders. Is this something I will need to purchse in order to get the edges near the wall?
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Old 07-05-2009, 02:02 PM   #12
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


They make orbital sanders that I think might fit your prowess better. They aren't nearly aggressive as belt sanders but they get close to the edges. It would take you longer but it would be easier for you to handle and might help you from gouging. Check around at some different rental places.
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:02 PM   #13
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Stripping hardwood - renting a sander


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Originally Posted by jaros bros. View Post
They make orbital sanders that I think might fit your prowess better. They aren't nearly aggressive as belt sanders but they get close to the edges. It would take you longer but it would be easier for you to handle and might help you from gouging. Check around at some different rental places.
Good call. I think most Menards carries a 3 head orbital. Basically the same thing as a handheld random orbital sander, just a lot bigger & heavier. Fairly aggressive, but lots more forgiving than a drum sander. If you decide to give a drum a try, go to a real rental yard, not Home Depot, & see if they've got an Alto EZ8. They're fairly forgiving. Couple that with a 3 head orbital & you'll be good to go.

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