How to sand a floor

Tired of looking at the same old carpet? Then it’s time to rip up your old flooring and get the sandpaper out. Wooden floors, whether they are varnished or painted, are a beautiful addition to any home. What’s more, they are perfect for active families, who can wear out a quality carpet in no time at all! Wooden floors can be sanded down and revarnished or repainted many, many times. But how do you sand a floor and what’s the best way to sand a floor down? Read on and discover everything you need to know…

What tools do I need?

  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Brush/vacuum cleaner
  • Floor drum and edging sanders
  • Sandpaper (various grit grades)
  • Wood stain/varnish (depending on the finish you require)
  • Brush (for paint/varnish)

Good preparation

  • Before you start, remove any items of furniture of décor (that touch the floor) from the room.
  • Check the floor for any old nails that are sticking out of the wood. Either remove the nails/staples or hammer them further into the floor.
  • Is your surface as smooth as it possibly can be? Then get the vacuum cleaner out. Clean the floor with the vacuum cleaner and remove any debris. Once you have done this, wipe the floor with a damp cloth.
  • Fill any gaps in the floor with a wood filler.
  • Ensure there is good ventilation by opening as many windows as possible.
  • Seal off any doors so that dust cannot escape because sanding floors can be a messy job.
  • Use masking tape to cover up any plug sockets. You do not want dust getting into any electrical sockets.

How to sand a floor?

Firstly, the most important thing you have to remember when sanding a floor is to work with the grain of the wood – sand with the grain and not against it.

Secondly, do not forget the above tip otherwise your lovely wooden floor will just look scratched.

For the edges of the room, use an edging sander and for larger surface areas in the middle of the room, use a large drum sander. Some tool hire providers may even hire out an edging sander and drum sander together, saving you money.

Your sander will come with a range of different sandpapers, in a variety of grit sizes. The lower the number, the courser the sandpaper. So, for example, 40 grit sandpaper is ideal for heavy duty sanding and stripping. The higher the number, the finer the sandpaper.

You should start sanding your floor with a low grit number. This will remove old layers of dirt and varnish. Gradually increase the grit number you are using on your floor.

Do not jump from using 40 grit sandpaper to 200 grit sandpaper, for example, as you will ruin your floor. A lower grit sandpaper is more coarse and will scrape off old varnish much quicker. A higher grit sandpaper is brilliant for removing any scratches left on wood by lower grit sandpaper. Particularly on unfinished/untreated wood.

How to varnish/treat a floor?

  • Once you have sanded your floor, you will need to varnish, or paint your floor. This will ensure your hard work lasts longer.
  • Start by brushing or vacuuming any bits of dust that have been left behind when you sanded the floor.
  • If you wish to apply a wood stain and colour your floor, you should do this before you varnish the floor.
  • Just like when you sanded the floor, work with the grain of the wood. Take your brush and go in the direction of the grain of the wood.
  • Carefully read the instructions on your chosen wood stain. Once you have applied the wood stain, wait for this to dry properly. Once it has dried, you can apply varnish.
  • If you do not wish to apply a wood stain, varnish the floor as soon as possible. Otherwise the wood is unprotected.
  • Apply three to four coats of varnish on your floor; four coats if your room/area has high footfall. A good quality varnish will prolong the life expectancy of your floor. Matte varnishes hide scuffs and scratches well. High gloss varnish is great for bouncing light around a room. Satin gloss has more shine than a matte finish but is not as intense as high gloss.
  • Leave 24 to 48 hours for your varnish to “cure” before returning your furniture and décor to the room.

What next?

Stand back and admire your handiwork and don’t forget to return your sander back to your local and friendly tool hire depot.

Through our strong local partnership network, easyToolhire has the tools you need. 

Images: Beazy/Unsplash

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