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How to Sand Wood Floors - All You Need to Know

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Wooden flooring can be an excellent option for areas of your house which can get frequently dirty, such as hallways and kitchens. Wooden floors are often a popular option for people who have pets (or children!), as they are hardwearing and fairly easy to keep clean and maintain.

Despite these benefits, the idea of spending hours sanding wood floorboards to restore them back to their former glory can sometimes stop even the most enthusiastic of DIY's in their tracks! So, if you have recently pulled up an old carpet and are wondering if it is worth restoring the wooden floor underneath, this blog will give you some tips on the sanding equipment available to hire which can get a beautiful result without the back-breaking work.

Floor Sander Hire - What Equipment Will I Need?

For sanding wood floors, you will need a drum belt sander, an edging sander and a smaller corner sander. 

Drum belt floor sander

Drum Belt Floor Sander Hire

drum belt sander has a replaceable abrasive loop of sandpaper that continually moves around the drum, sanding the wood down as far as you want to go. Drum belt sanders are designed to sand large areas quickly and efficiently. Operated from a standing position they are comfortable to use and limit the amount of work required at floor level.

The sanders available to hire from Tool Hire Express are fitted with dust bags to minimise the amount of dust created and are suitable for sanding all types of wooden floor, including parquet flooring, standard floorboards, fibre board, cork, engineered and composite floors, as well as some types of decking board.

A drum belt sander is a strong machine and needs to be handled carefully to ensure full control and prevent damage to the floor; our team will provide advice and guidance for inexperienced operators.

Floor edging sander hire

Edging Sander Hire

An edging sander is used for areas that the drum belt sander is unable to reach such as the floor perimeter up to the skirting boards and stairs. Edging sanders are much smaller and are held at floor level to give careful control for tricky areas. The edging sanders help to give a consistent and professional finish.

You will also need some sanding belts; the levels of abrasiveness you choose will depend on the condition of your flooring. Our team will be able to advise which level to select to suit your requirements.

We also recommend you wear a disposable facemask whilst using the equipment. Although the sanders have dustbags attached, the fine sawdust can get quite thick. You can also purchase goggles, ear defenders and overalls from our Tool Hire Express service centres, speak to our team for more information.

Preparing wood floors

How to Prepare before Sanding Wood Floors

Sometimes floors can be too far gone to restore and so you will need to consider the extent of the damage to the floor before you start. Historical damage may have been caused by plumbers or electricians cutting and breaking boards, woodworm, or dampness, and it may be useful to seek a professional opinion before you start.

Always try to replace damaged sections with reclaimed boards of a similar colour to help them blend well with the existing boards. You should also check for any gaps between the boards and fill them with thin filler strips before you start sanding.

Check for any protruding nails and use a nail punch to punch down any nails to just below the surface. If you do not do this, the nails will rip the sandpaper on the drum belt sander to pieces as it spins around.

Sanded wooden floorboards

How Sand a Wooden Floor and get a Beautiful Finish

If you hire a floor sander from Tool Hire Express, you will receive an important introduction to the machine from our experienced team and instructions on how to change the sanders and the dust bag.  

The machines are very powerful, and to prevent damage to your floor it is important not to leave them in one place for too long.  Make sure you tilt the machine before turning it on and off, so the sander is not in contact with the floor until you are ready to begin. Always keep the sander moving for a nice, even finish.

To get the best results, follow the tips below:

  1. Start out in a part of the room that is less visible, maybe where furniture usually is, until you feel that you can control the movement of the sander.
  2. Sand the floor diagonally, from one corner to the opposite one, turning around and going back, again making sure to tilt the sander up as you turn. Start over again from the adjacent corner to be sure you have sanded the entire room.  This will remove irregularities and any old varnish.
  3. Remember to lift the sander before stopping - never leave it to run whilst stationary on the floor as it will sand a hollow into it.
  4. After you have sanded diagonally, you can then work along the grain of the boards. Use only the weight of the sander when running the sander. No extra pressure is needed.
  5. If you are using coarse sandpaper, go over the floor again with medium and then fine sandpaper. Refinishing brings out the original beauty of the wood, but it can only be done so many times because each sanding takes off a layer of wood.
  6. There are some places that a drum sander can't reach, so for those areas, you'll need an edge sander and a smaller corner sander to complete the job.
  7. Stop frequently, so that you can rest your arms and empty the dust bag

This helpful video gives an excellent demonstration of how to sand wooden floors.

Why Hire a Floor Sander from Tool Hire Express?

If you only have a few rooms to complete, it makes sense to hire a floor sander rather than purchase. Floor sanders can be hired for both domestic use and also by professional contractors and are an essential piece of equipment if you have a large surface area to cover or if time is of the essence and you need to get the job done fast!

By hiring equipment such as floor sanders, you can be sure that you will get the most modern equipment that has been well-maintained and been through all the important safety checks. All Tool Hire Express stores are accredited with the Hire Association Europe's SafeHire certificate, giving you peace of mind that the equipment you hire has been serviced and maintained to the highest standards.

You will also be able to access expert advice from our experienced team to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your DIY project.

Hiring from Tool Hire Express

How to Hire from Tool Hire Express

Our experts can provide useful advice on which products are available to help with your DIY projects.

To hire from Tool Hire Express, you can call into any of our 34 locations across the UK (as well as our A-Plant Plant & Tools locations) and speak to our experts. If you are a regular hirer, it will be worth opening an A-Plant account which gives you access to products across all our specialist divisions. Or, for a one-off hire you can leave a deposit relative to the equipment you want to hire and provide two forms of identification (including a photo ID and a utility bill), and you will be ready to go! If transport is an issue, we also have a number of delivery options available, speak to our team for more information.

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