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Sanding Hardwood Floors: Overview of the Process
Brazilian Cherry Flooring

Brazilian Cherry Flooring

South Cypress Floors/Mohawk
If you've got solid hardwood floors and they're looking a little tired, there's no reason you cannot sand them instead of replacing them.

Sanding hardwood floors can be an immensely satisfying DIY experience. With the right preparation (i.e., covering up non-work areas to keep out dust, moving furniture, selecting the right sander, etc.), hardwood floor sanding for an average-sized house may be no more than a weekend project.

Essentials - Sanding Hardwood Floors

  1. It's Mainly Labor: Compared to replacing your hardwood floors, which entails significant labor and materials costs, sanding your hardwood floors is relatively cheap--it's mainly labor you're paying for.
  2. DIY Sanding: Another great aspect of floor-sanding is that anyone with enough motivation and a credit card can rent a professional-quality belt or orbital sander from a local rental yard.
  3. Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Flooring: Keep in mind that if you have engineered wood flooring (a veneer of real wood atop a plywood-like material), you can easily sand all the way through the veneer. With solid hardwood, you likely will not have this problem.
  4. A Warning About Solid Wood: Solid hardwood flooring, though, cannot be sanded again and again. It may only be good for 5 or 6 sandings before you begin to jeopardize the structural integrity of the boards.
  5. Why Some DIYers Hire Pros: Floor sanding--drum-sanding in particular--is tricky business. Set the rotating drum down on your floor for a fraction of a second too long and you run the risk of gouging deep, irreparable valleys in your beautiful floor. That's why a lot of potential DIY floor sanders end up calling in professional floor refinishers.
  6. Orbital vs. Drum Sander: Orbital floor sanders are a piece of cake compared to drum sanders. When we discuss floor-gouges (above), we are referring to drum floor sanders. Drum sanders are difficult to handle well.
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