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How To Sand Wood Floors

Hardwood floors are generally good-looking. Naturally, they add a lot of long-lasting home beautification to your apartment.

Sanding the floors occasionally will get them restored to their original shine as it helps to remove any imperfections that might have occurred in the wood or remove any old finish. This page will guide you as you find out how to sand floors.

Getting Started on Sanding Wood Floors

Floor sanding is regarded as the process of removing or sanding off the top surface of a wooden floor by sanding it with abrasive materials.

Most times, it comes in three different stages, namely:

  • Preparation
  • Sanding
  • Coating or finishing, with a protective sealant

Different varieties of wood floors including particle boards, timber and cork can be sanded.

You may also be interested in my guide on cleaning your wooden blinds.

Materials needed when sanding wood floors

How To Sand Floor

Here is a list of materials you might need during the process of sanding the floors.

  • Drum sander
  • Safety glasses
  • Hammer and nails
  • Earplugs
  • Various grades of sandpaper
  • Dust mask
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Vacuum cleaner

Preparing the Floor

This is the first stage of the sanding process. Clear the room by removing all furniture, carpet, and accessories from the room. Check for nails protruding above the board and hammer them down as they can damage the sanding machine being used.

Also, check for staples and any metal fasteners from old flooring. Some adhesive used for the coverings may need to be removed as some can make sanding impossible by clogging papers on the sanding machine.

Sweep the room thoroughly and seal off open doorways with plastic sheeting. This will prevent dust from settling throughout the house.

You might also like to check for obvious gaps and holes and fill them with wood filler. Some gaps are normal because wood floor expands and contract depending on the temperature. Heat and high humidity cause wood to expand.

However, it is advisable to sand-fill a large gap during the summer since shrinkage will occur during the cold winter.

Find out how to clean hardwood floors.

Sanding the Floor

Step 1

The next step is sanding the floor. Rent a commercial-grade drum sander preferably from a rental store that will teach you how to operate it. Also get a good amount of sandpaper supply in a variety of both fine and coarse grits.

How To Sand Floor

Blow out any residual dust from the sander and load it with coarse sandpaper. Make sure the sandpaper is perfectly aligned and secured. The 36-grit sandpaper is a good place to start from for most floors except if your floor has only minor issues with a thin layer of finish, you may start with the 60-grit sandpaper instead.

Step 2

Start the machine with the drum sander off the floor and slowly lower it to the floor. Start sanding from the spot normally covered and work the sander from one end of the room to the other while moving at a steady pace.

Move it to and fro sanding in the direction of a slight angle to the wood grain.This will help to level up slight variation that might arise and minimizes waves that occur when some parts of the floor get sanded than the rest.

Sand the whole floor at the same angle and don’t leave the sander on while sitting it in a place as it will gouge your floor quickly. Always lift the machine up before turning it off to prevent leaving marks on your floor. Work the sander in a semi-circular motion, this will keep the sanding areas feathered. During the course of sanding, if you get dust clouds, stop the machine and check whether the dust bag is properly attached.

Step 3

During the course of sanding, if there’s a need to go over a spot more than once, go in the reverse direction while lifting the lever for just a moment. This will avoid leaving marks on the ground. You might need to change the sandpaper more than once if the room that you are sanding is quite large.

Smooth Hardwood

Make use of the edge sander with the same grit of sandpaper to sand all the areas the drum sander couldn’t get to, like the corners and wall edges.

When you finish sanding the entire floor, turn off the drum sander and allow the dust to settle, check the floors as the sand might work loose some nails. Use the nailset to keep it in order and then clean up the floor with a vacuum. A cordless vacuum that is designed for hardwood floors will be preferable as it won’t leave a dent in your unfinished floor.

Sanding the floor to a smooth level

Change the sandpaper on the drum sander to a medium grit (say 50 to 60 grits) and repeat the same procedure as before. Sand along the grain but this time don’t sand in the same diagonal path as before as this might cause stripes to be visible on your floor.

Read More: Installing hardwood flooring: a guide

Just sand directly along the boards. Follow with the edge sander using the medium grit. Once you are done, let the dust settle and vacuum it up.

For the final finish, change the sandpaper to a fine grit (say 80 to 100 grit) and sand the entire room. Do the same with the edge sander and vacuum the room to remove the dust. The floor is ready for your final finish and stains.


  • Keep children out the house until the job is done.
  • Make sure to provide adequate ventilation when sanding and doing the finishing.
  • During the course of sanding, if there is a repeating pattern of marks on your floor, there may be something wrong with the machine. Stop sanding and check the machine to see whether the parts are tightly assembled. Also, check the belt and make sure the sandpaper is loaded flat.
  • Never skip directly from a coarse grit sandpaper to a fine grit without using the medium grit, as it can leave deep marks on your floor.
  • When vacuuming the newly sanded floor, make sure to vacuum the walls too.This will help to avoid getting dust to settle on the wet floor after finishing.
  • You now know how to sand wood floors.


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