The charm and value of a hardwood floor is in the wood grain, smooth finish and deep color. The best wood floors depend on good sanding and finishing achieving these valuable traits.
A good hardwood finish is intended to show the texture of the wood; whereas a bad finish will be susceptible to even the tiniest scratch. The best idea for a good sanding job is to hire a proven professional sander as his training and experience will reflect in the finished product.
If you want to do the job yourself, though, find an industrial sander. They are the best hardwood floor sanders for the job. The small, lightweight sanders that are often readily available to rent will not have the powerful engine and the weight needed to hold its own against the wood grain.
You will also need an industrial vacuum to pick up the fine bits of wood before it becomes trapped in the stain. Small, hand-held hardwood floor sanders are good for reaching and evening out the edges. A floor buffer is used between coats of finish.
The Nitty Gritty
To get down to the job, get down on the floor and check for nails and imperfections in the floor. Pound down the nails and pull out carpet tacks and staples. Don’t start without a dust mask. A window fan set to blow out is also a good idea. Start with 20 grit sandpaper, the heaviest.
Always run the machine with the grain in straight even strokes. Never go against the grain and always keep the sander in motion when it’s on. The best hardwood floor sanders know that a sander keeps sanding even when it’s not moving and it doesn’t take much time to gouge the floor.
After the floor has been evenly sanded with the heavy sandpaper, change to 100 grit lighter grain paper. Go over any scratches or lines to remove them. Go over the whole floor with the light grain sandpaper. At this point, experienced hardwood floor sanders get down on the floor again with a hand-held edger and repeat the process around the edges where the larger sander didn’t reach.
The best hardwood floor sanders always vacuum and wipe to remove all of the wood dust before beginning to stain. Always check an older floor to make sure that it hasn’t been sanded down too far before you begin as too much sanding can permanently harm a floor.