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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.