How to Sand a Floor

Whether you’re working to a tight budget in property development or just trying a DIY facelift to a tired room, one way of hitting the mark is to check the state of the floorboards.

If they’re grimy but intact, a good option is to sand them back. A room, or even an entire house, can be lifted with a hired sander without having to shell out on architects or master builders.

You won’t be building the Sistine Chapel; if you’re happy painting and decorating but not too chipper about plastering, you’re at about the right skill level.

Replace damaged boards and secure loose ones. Using a nail punch sink obtruding nail-heads 2mm below the surface. You’ll need to be painstaking about this - it’s a feel-your-way-along-on-hands-and-knees job.

Close the doors, sealing them with masking tape, and open the window – there’ll be lots of dust. Use the large sander, working diagonally across the floor. Begin with coarse sanding sheets for badly stained boards, before moving to medium.

Keep moving, slowly and steadily – the machine will sand ruts in the wood if you pause. Criss-cross with an opposite diagonal sand if the stain is really ingrained.

Next, move in the direction of the grain with medium, then fine, sanding sheets. Use the round edging sander to deal with edges and corners – but scrape dirt from corners with a chisel.

Carefully vacuum the dust from the surface, wipe over with a cloth dampened with white spirit, and apply the first coat of varnish. You’ll need two coats for ordinary areas and three for high-traffic areas, drying overnight between coats.


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