Whether you've opted to install reclaimed wooden floorboards to your living room, hallway or bedroom and want to improve their appearance or simply want to give your original floorboards a new lease of life, cleaning, sanding and sealing is an effective solution easily achieved by a keen DIYer.
Providing a thorough guide to sanding wooden floorboards, expert Michael Holmes discusses everything from the costs of hiring the right equipment to how to use it effectively.
You will need:
- Sanding machine hire
- Sanding belts
- Disposable face masks
- Protective eyewear
- Plastic sheeting
1. Start by preparing the room
After clearing the room, seal it off with plastic sheeting and tape it down to contain dust – you can also hire a portable dust partition for around £20 a week from HSS.com.
Remove carpets and grippers and ensure that you drive any nail or screw heads down 2-3mm below the floor surface – not doing so will shred the sandpaper disks or belts, adding to your costs. Replace any missing or damaged boards.
2. Choose the correct sandpaper and grit
If you're hiring a sanding set, you can expect to pay an average of £82 for a weekend. A pack of five sanding belts in each of the six grades will be around £35-£50.
We'd recommend starting with the finest grit possible, based on the condition of the wood. This said, for rough boards it's advisable to start with a coarse grit and work your way through four or five grades – from 24 to 40, 60 and 80 up to 120 grit, or it will take forever. In the case of previously sanded boards, start with a 60 or 80 grit.
3. Start sanding
Tilt the machine up before starting and then gradually lower it towards the floorboards. To level the floor, work at a 15-45° angle to the grain and work left to right. Repeat in the opposite direction until the boards are level.
Bare in mind the following tips:
- Keep the machine moving and don’t sand against the grain.
- Fill large gaps between the boards first with wedge-shaped fillets of matching wood glued into place. When sanded level they’ll blend in.
- Vacuum and clean with white spirit ready for your chosen sealant and finish.
4. Work on the edges and corners
For a high quality finish, it's wort renting edge and corner sanders that allow you to tackle these more difficult areas easily and effectively.
5. Finish the job with a finer grade
To finish the job, use a finer grade, ensuring that you operate in the direction of the grain. On average, it takes 1-2 days to sand a standard sized living room.
6. Apply a finish
Apply your finish of choice, allowing the space 2-3 hours without traffic.