Wild Wood – 1890’s pine wood floor in achistoric building in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, USA, now Joe Bologna’s restaurant. Photo Courtesy: Egan Snow
If you have wooden floors and are beginning to think the coating on them is looking a bit tired and old, then it is probably a sign that it is time to have them refinished. Refinishing the floor will make it look as good as new, with that beautiful shine and sleek feeling you remember from when you first had it laid. However, in order to add a new stain and finish to your wooden floor, no matter what type of wood you have, you’re going to need to remove the existing layer of old, dull polyurethane coating. This means lots, and lots of sanding.
So, how easy is it to sand off the finish on a wood floor, and is it something you can do yourself?
Sanding a Wood Floor – The Process
Generally, what you will need to do is use an electric sander to go over the wood floor a few times with different grains of sand paper, starting with a coarse one that can slough off a lot of the poly, then moving through a medium one to pick up any bits, and finally a finer one that will buff away the last of the finish and leave you with a lovely smooth serface to work with.
This is best done with a sander you can operate standing up, preferably a drum or random orbital sander (though drum sanders tend to be used more by professionals and a random orbital sander is usually the best choice for DIY). This is because you don’t want to be on the ground sanding away for hours, as this can be very uncomfortable and unsafe for your back and other muscles. Once you have done this, you can attack any corners or edges you couldn’t get to with the electric sander with a scraper, and some sandpaper, working on them manually to lift the finish and make them the same texture as the electric sanded parts.
How Difficult Is It?
While it sounds fairly straightforward, it is actually not an easy task, and it is fairly high risk because any mistakes you make will show, and a floor isn’t an easy thing to hide! If you are a very experienced DIY fanatic, you may well be up to the challenge and might enjoy sanding the floors; however, if your sanding experience is limited to manually sanding your skirting boards only, then this may be a larger project than you should take on for your first job with an electric sander, which is a pretty powerful piece of kit.
Matt using a ‘Palm Sandar’ for sanding the floor – Photo Courtesy: Abigail Batchelder
If you don’t fancy sanding off the finish on your wooden floors yourself (and the work that comes after, staining and coating it), then it is relatively easy to find professional companies who will finish your floor for you. While this costs around twice as much as the DIY option, it is safe – it means you don’t lose all your free time, and you are guaranteed a great looking finish. However, if you do decide to try it yourself, make sure you take the right safety precautions to avoid hearing damage or dust inhalation.
Georgia McAdam is a sales professional working for NuWood, a company providing floor skirting solutions in Perth. She is quite passionate about her job and she indulges in cooking and baking when she gets free.