Sanding Floorboards

Sanding floorboards is a very popular alternative to laminate flooring. It usually works out much less expensive, and a depending on the style of your home can often look much better.

The great beauty of sanded floorboards is they can usually be completed start to finish over the space of a weekend, depending on the size of the room and of course, providing you have the right equipment.

You should prepare the surface before sanding by punching all the nail heads below the surface of the floor and filling the gaps in-between the floorboards with wood strips. You can then use woof filler to cover all the smaller gaps.

Modern sanding equipment allows you to sand down a floor in a matter of hours with the minimum of fuss and effort. However, there are some essential safety tips you must obey.

First, it is important to wear the correct clothing. Avoid loose, flapping trousers and shirtsleeves - a pair of overalls in perhaps the ideal outfit. Even though modern sanders are fitted with dust bags, a certain amount of fine dust is bound to fly around, so wear and pair of goggles, a dust mask and some tight fitting headwear. Exposure to high-revving machinery can damage your hearing, so you may like to wear ear defenders.

Before you start, open up a window to allow dust to escape and seal off all doorways. Then move the large floor sander into the middle of the room and fit a medium abrasive sheet to the drum. Make sure that the machine is off before you plug it into the mains.

Loop the cable out of your way over your shoulder and hold the machine securely by both handles. Tilt the sander backwards and switch it on. Wait until the machine reaches top speed and lower the drum gently to the floor. The sander will exert a strong pull, so do not let it run away from you. Start sanding diagonally across the room, at an angle to the boards. Walk in a straight line until the machine reaches the skirting board at the far end of the room.

Quickly tilt the machine backwards, turn it around and work back in the same direction, overlapping the original strip by a few millimetres. Continue in this fashion until the whole floor has been covered once. Switch off the sander, unplug it and fit a fine abrasive sheet. Sweep the floor to remove any loose dust. Then make a third and final run, this time working backwards and forwards in the same direction as the boards.

You can now tackle the outer edge of the room. Remove the large sander and move the rotary sander into position. Fit a medium abrasive disc and plug in, switch on. Work slowly around the outside of the room, stopping occasionally sweep away loose dust and to check the condition of the disc.

There will be a few areas, mainly awkward corners, which you cannot reach with the rotary sander. Tackle these with an orbital sander.


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