You know that wood floor sanding has the reputation of being messy, time-consuming, stressful, a lot of hassle and fuss. However, it is very beneficial and important for your floor and its improved condition and appearance. In addition, this bad rep of sanding should be already left in the past, because the progress and improvement of the sanding professional industry nowadays allowed the manufacturing of a lot of advanced machines and equipment that allow almost no mess and stress during this process. At the end of the day, wood floor sanding is a craft and it is important to be performed by someone who has mastered it to perfection. Only a sanding specialist with enough experience, knowledge, and attention to detail can ensure flawless results and a smooth-running process with no issues encountered along the way. Here are some of the secrets of flawless sanding and how it is achieved.
Remove the Base Shoe
Base shoe is also known as quarter-round moulding and it is installed at the bottom of the baseboards. It is a decorative flooring element and accessory. However, when the time for sanding comes, it is recommended to have the base shoe removed and installed in the back again once the floor is already sanded. It is important to do so in order to protect the base shoe from getting accidentally damaged by knocking it with heavy-duty sanding machines or in other situations. However, this is also important for flawless sanding results. When the floor is sanded with the edger, this will slightly lower the floor and will leave the baseboard standing on a little plateau. Just make sure the base shoe is labelled while removing it, which will avoid confusion once it is time to install it back.
Pet Stains Can Become Permanent
We often talk about moisture and water stains and how they can destroy the appearance of a wooden floor. However, water stains will usually completely go away with a couple of passes with the sanding machine. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case when it comes to pet stains, which tend to become permanent. Stains caused by pet urine usually penetrates deeply into the wood’s structure so it becomes impossible to sand them off completely. Pet stains are usually darker than water stains and deep grey, almost black around the edges. First things first, you should make sure your pets don’t leave urine stains on the floor and wipe them off carefully if you notice some. However, if the stain is already existing, there is a bleach product formulated for wood that may be worth the try. If this doesn’t help, you can opt for covering the floor with a darker stain and finish or even replace the stained floorboards.
How to Rent a Floor Sanding Machine
In case you are really enthusiastic about the idea of attempting a DIY wood floor sanding project, you will need to rent some sanding equipment from your local wood flooring showroom or service provider. You will need two main rental sanding machines – the drum sander that takes care of the majority of sanding and is used for sanding most of the floor and the edger that, as the name suggests, is used for more detailed sanding jobs along the baseboards or the walls. Instead of renting from a general rental store, you better rent directly from a flooring specialist shop. You will be able to consult with the flooring specialists and get a lot of advice, tips, and recommendations at no cost. Before you start with the project, make sure to measure the room and a member working at the flooring specialist shop will be able to advise you and estimate how many sanding belts and discs you will need for finishing the job. Since you are renting the sanding equipment for a set period of time, make sure to finish the whole preparation before the sanding stage before you rent the machines. Preparation can take quite some time and this time can cost you a lot.
How to Prepare the Room for Sanding
First things first, you should start by having all furniture pieces and other bigger and larger items removed out of the room, also all valuable items in order to avoid getting them damaged. Never drag or push furniture across the room, always make sure to lift it in order to avoid scratching the floor and leaving marks and gouges. Cover the windows and doorways with plastic sheets to avoid sawdust transferring to the rest of the house. Cover or plug air grilles to keep the sawdust out of ducts and make sure the HVAC system, if you have one installed, is turned off from the thermostat. Remove all doors that open into the room, because you cannot completely sand under them. Raise all low-hanging light fixtures and nail down any loose floorboards.
Choose the Right Sanding Equipment
The best choice of a drum sander to rent is the one that uses a continuous belt or sleeve to avoid the tedious work or wrapping a strip of abrasive around the drum all the time. Orbital and square-buff sanders or also known as flat sanders are easier to use but think twice before you rent such equipment. Despite the easiness of using them, they are not aggressive enough to bite into the finishes and hardwoods. When choosing a drum sander, make sure to choose one that has a lever to raise and lower the sanding drum to help you make the stops and starts easier for you and reduce the gouging.
Change the Belts Often Enough
Using dull belts is definitely something you don’t want to do. After the finish is entirely stripped off, you pretty much cannot see and understand if the sander is still doing it job or not. Therefore, you keep sanding and sanding. However, if the sandpaper is dull and you continue sanding the floor, it won’t be cutting deep enough to remove all the scratches and marks left from the previous grit. Unfortunately, you will discover this problem once you apply the last coat of finish and it is dry. This is when it will be too late to do anything different than starting the sanding project all over again. So even if the sandpaper feels sharp to you, it may be beyond its prime. Therefore, you need to change it as often as necessary. Make sure to ask the rental store for recommendations depending on the size of the room you are working on.
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