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Five common floor sanding mistakes to avoid

If wood flooring is worn or marked, it can be restored to look like new by sanding it. Ideally, floor sanding should be done by a professional floor sander who has the experience and expertise to do an excellent job. To save money, you can hire a floor sanding machine and tackle the job yourself. If you choose to do so, here are five common floor sanding mistakes to avoid.

1. Using too fine sandpaper

Sanding machines use sandpaper, which comes in various grit levels. A common mistake is to use sandpaper that is too fine. If the wood is not very worn and just needs refreshing, fine-grit sandpaper is adequate; otherwise, you’ll probably need a coarser paper than you may expect.

On a worn floor that has not been sanded before, use 120-grit sandpaper, as a finer paper may not remove the old varnish and dirt. If you use sandpaper that’s too fine, you may have to sand the floor several times, and you’ll also have to use many sheets of sandpaper, as they will wear out quickly.

2. Not sanding enough

After you have sanded the floor once, it may look fine, and you may feel that the job is complete. However, most wood floors are not completely flat, and the sanding machine will miss small areas, leaving what looks like shadows. Keep sanding with a drill sander attachment or by hand to remove all marks and shadows.

3. Sanding in a straight line

It may seem logical to sand in straight lines as if mowing the lawn, but it’s better to sand floors diagonally. Wood floors are rarely completely even, and straight sanding may leave the floor looking more uneven. Diagonal sanding leaves fewer shadowy areas that have to be fixed.

4. Sanding the edges too much

Edge sanding machines are great for edges, but you can send them too much. Try sanding the main floor with 120-grit paper and the edges with 80-grit paper. The edges will be smooth enough and may look slightly different to the rest of the floor, but this is an effect that’s aesthetically pleasing.

5. Changing the sandpaper infrequently

The sandpaper on floor sanding machines wears out and needs changing frequently. Sandpaper sheets and disks are expensive, so it’s tempting to leave the sandpaper on the machine longer than necessary. As the sandpaper wears down, it becomes less effective, and that means it will take longer to make the wood very smooth. It’s better to change the sandpaper more frequently, which will ensure a much quicker and better job.

A job well done

A solid wood floor can be sanded several times. Engineered wood can still be sanded, but not as many times. After sanding, use a floor coating or varnish that protects the floor from wear, spills and scratches.

Floor sanding is not the most pleasant of jobs. It takes a long time to do well, and a sanding machine is noisy and creates lots of dust. However, it is a very rewarding job, as the results can make your floor look like new.

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