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Sanding Wooden Floors

by Magdalena Ehnes on Nov 30, 2011

One of the messiest jobs in decorating is sanding a wooden floor. The process may be messy, but the end results are worth all the hard work.  Follow these steps to transform your wooden floors.

Get prepared

Sanding will create more dust than you can imagine and it will get into every nook and cranny.  Clear the room of any items that aren’t nailed down, including pictures, curtains, the sofa, display cabinets and the TV. Protect the rest of the house from dust infiltration by sealing the internal doors with masking tape.

Repair and replace

If any boards are rotten or damaged you should replace them before sanding.  Screw down any boards that are loose.  Nail them down along the edges of joists so the board sits flush on the floor. When screwing boards tight to the floor, the screws need to be at least 2mm below the surface.

If there any gaps, this will cause draughts. Either shift boards along to fill gaps, or if this isn’t possible, place slivers of timber in the gaps, gluing both sides and then hammer them into place.  Any minor areas of damage can be patched up with wood filler. Use a nail punch to push any raised nails down into the wood.


Now the fun starts!  Work with the floor sander diagonally across the room.  For good condition boards, use medium grade sanding sheets to begin with, if not, use the coarse grade sheets.

Keep the sander moving to stop any ruts forming.  Criss-cross the room from the opposite direction.  Switch to a medium grade paper and sand following the direction of the boards.  Finish with a fine grade paper.

For the edges, you’ll need a round edging sander.  Again, start with coarse grade discs and work up to the finer grades.  To get dirt out of the corners, use a chisel.

Cleaning and finishing

Vacuum and wipe the surfaces with cloth made damp with white-spirit. Work in stocking-ed feet to protect the unsealed floor. 

To finish you need to seal the freshly sanded wood with a varnish or paint.  Choose varnish appropriate for flooring.  Apply at least two coats, more for hallways and stairs.  Allow a drying time of at least 24 hours before bringing any of your furniture back into the room, particularly heavy items like sofas and chairs.



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