Not exactly the most straightforward DIY job, sanding wooden floors with a belt sander isn’t exactly rocket science either. Indeed, one should not try this operation without slowly documenting it first and even practicing on a floor that will be replaced anyway to get the hang of it. As the saying goes, behind every successful DIY wood floor sanding, there’s a horrible mistake where things were learned. Don’t fear, though. You won’t have to ruin any floors since we prepared a helpful guide on the steps to take for a successful operation.
What You’ll Need
Before we jump into the actual steps of sanding wood floors with a belt sander, we need to go through the equipment you’ll need to increase the chances of doing a great job. Pretty common sense, but you will need the best sander you can get your hands on. It’s ideal to go with a 240v model to have enough power to remove the old and torn-out wood so that you get a brand-new floor after the remodeling process. Besides the actual sander, you will need to get a professional vacuum cleaner that is more than capable of absorbing wood chips and fine dust generated by sanding.
Last but not least, you will need a finish. Oil-based finishes are best for DIY operations and relatively easy to apply. Also, make sure you put safety first by wearing a respirator during the entire process.
Removing The Old Finish
The first step of our ‘how to sand wood floors with a belt sander’ guide is removing the old finish. The trick with removing is persistent enough to start getting it off the floor but know when to stop before damaging the floor. The best part about a belt sander compared with any other type is that you have meager chances of actually damaging the floor beyond repair by merely applying the finish.
Work on small surfaces and increase the surface gradually. Remember, it won’t be an easy job, so don’t expect to get the miraculous results right from the start. It is the hardest part of the entire process, and you need to make sure you have the proper belts for your sander as you will be going through different grits. A 36 grit should be ideal for your average woodworking belt sander.
Cleaning The Surface After Sanding
Next in line, you need to make sure the area is perfectly clean and dust-free before applying the new finish. A high-power vacuum is a must in this process, and you will also need to make sure the entire floor is dry since finish doesn’t go well with moisture. If you’re not 100% sure the level is dry, you can lock the room and leave it 24 hours after using a belt sander for hardwood floors. Once you’re sure all the dust is cleared from the floor, it’s time to start applying the finish.
Finishing The Wood Floor
You may think this last part of the process is simple and straightforward. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as you will need some artistic attributes to apply the finishing without leaving lap marks. However, as long as you found your way with a homemade belt sander, you will be fine with applying the finishes as well. Make sure to use a respirator and a broad brush, then start applying the finish evenly on the floor, not before making sure to squeeze the brush and remove the excess finish. Even if you have the impression, one portion is not entirely covered after going with the brush over it. Resist the temptation of doing it again as you can’t control how much finish is left on the brush, and you will get overlap marks.
So, the general advice is not to jump on sanding floors if you didn’t try other DIY projects with a similar difficulty level. It’s not something for experts only, but if you know you’re quite clumsy, it’s better to leave it to the experts. Or test your abilities on an old floor that is going to be replaced anyway. Floor sanding Edinburgh could help you if you live in the area.
Anything you would like to add to the article? Is there a technique to improve the chances of new wood sanders you would like to share with us? The comment section is open, and we encourage you to share your experience with us.