Sanding a Wood Floor

There’s nothing quite like the beauty of real wood flooring. Wood floors are durable, easy to care for, and when properly finished, wood floors are exceptionally beautiful. If you have a wood floor that requires sanding and refinishing, you can do it yourself. Sanding a wood floor in preparation for finishing is time-consuming, but you can save a great deal of money sanding wood floors yourself.

Warnings and Precautions

Sanding wood floors creates a lot of airborne dust and debris. Always protect your eyes with safety glasses or goggles, wear a dust mask or respirator to protect your lungs, and wear earplugs while sanding with an electric sander.

Extreme caution should be taken when sanding wood floors since sawdust is highly flammable. Before sanding, extinguish any pilot lights and close gas valves. Also, never light matches or smoke while sanding.


Plastic sheeting
Blue painter’s tape
Safety glasses
Dust mask
Drum floor sander
Floor edge sander
Fine-grit sandpaper
Medium-grit sandpaper
Course-grit sandpaper


Begin by cleaning out the room. Move everything out that isn’t nailed down. Items that are nailed down, such as carpet staples, should also be removed. Protruding nails should be driven in with a nail set, and holes should be filled in with wood filler. Reattach loose floorboards, and carefully remove any molding.

Even though the dust bag attached to a floor sander captures the majority of wood particles, it doesn’t capture it all. Protect ductwork from wood dust by closing vents and covering openings with plastic sheeting taped down with blue painter’s tape. In addition, cover open doorways with sheets of plastic, and secure the edges with blue painter’s tape. Doing so will help keep the dust out of other areas of the home.

It isn’t necessary to take down heavy drapery. Simply run drapery through strong coat hangers, and place them in plastic garbage bags. Secure the tops of the bags around the tops of the coat hangers, and suspend them from the drapery rods.

Using an Industrial Drum Sander & Edge Sander

Put on gloves before beginning, and practice with an industrial drum floor sander on a large section of plywood before using it on wood floors you plan to refinish. That way you’ll have an idea of how it works and the strength it takes to operate. The trick is to never let it set in one place too long, otherwise it will sand down areas it shouldn’t.

Begin by equipping the sander with course-grit sandpaper. Although an industrial drum sander tries to pull you along, keep it under control as if you were walking a large dog on a leash. Allow it to move on its own, but don’t let it control you. Before long, you’ll get a feel for the sander, and the job will be a snap.

It’s best not to wait to begin sanding the edges of a wood floor. If you save the edges for last, the difference between the sanding with the drum sander and the edge sander could be very evident. Incorporate both, and overlap sanded areas for a seamless finish.

After going over the floor with course-grit sandpaper, sand the wood with medium-grit paper before switching to fine-grit sandpaper for the final sanding. When sanding is complete, you’ll be left with a wood floor that’s smooth and almost ready to refinish.

After Sanding

When sanding is complete, sweep the floor by hand with a broom. After sweeping by hand, go over the floor with a vacuum to clean away the smallest of particles. When most of the dust particles are gone, damp mop the floor with clear water to clean it and raise the wood grain. Complete floor preparation by wiping the newly sanded and clean surface with a tack cloth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × 4 =