If your existing floor is beginning to look worn or tired, the first impulse may be to call the contractor and have floor replaced. Or sometimes the temptation is there to just have carpeting installed over top. The truth is, for a fraction of the money you would spend replacing the floor or covering it with carpet, you can rent the equipment you need to refinish your floor and have it looking brand-new again.
For waxed floors, renting a floor stripper/polisher can restore your floor to the original shine. Likewise, for carpeting, renting a professional carpet steamer will have your carpet looking and smelling like it was just installed.
However, the greatest potential for savings can be realized when you rent the equipment you need to refinish your hardwood floors. You will be able to rent everything from orbital sanders, drum sanders, to sanding belts and pads. Depending on the size of the area you wish to refinish and the level of refinishing that is required, this is a job that can be accomplished by most willing DIYers, and usually over just a weekend.
Below are a few tips to make your floor sanding project a little easier:
- Give your floor the “water test” to see how much work needs to be done. If water beads or soaks in slowly, then you might be able to get away with just a good cleaning and polishing. If the water soaks right in, then refinishing may be required.
- If sanding is going to be done, then remove everything from the room. That includes wall hangings, curtains and blinds. Make sure everything is off of the floor in the entire area.
- Completely sweep and vacuum the floor prior to sanding. Any pebbles, staples or nails lying around could cause gouges in the wood, once sanding begins.
- Completely examine the flooring and countersink any nail heads to at least 1/8 inch below the surface.
- You don’t want to remove any more of the wood floor’s surface than you have to. If your goal is to sand out minor blemishes and light scratches, then you may not need to start with a very coarse paper. An 80 grit paper may suffice as a starting point for a light sanding. If you need to remove a layer of paint, then you might need to start with 20 grit sandpaper. Old varnish should be removed by starting out with 36 grit sandpaper. Keep in mind that you will need to make at least two more passes, each with a finer paper, ending with at least a 120 grit paper.
- When sanding with a drum sander, begin in the center of the room first. Be sure to sand with the grain of the wood and use a smooth, continuous motion as you travel from one side of the room to the other. Overlap each pass by at least 1 inch.
- Use an orbital sander to sand the outer edges of the room.
- Once finished, it is extremely important to vacuum all of the sawdust, followed by using a tack cloth to leave your floor completely clean. This step is crucial, because any debris left behind will become permanently sealed in once the polyurethane is applied to your floor.
An added advantage of renting what you need for floor finishing is the knowledge and advice an experienced rental company can provide. They understand your project and what you’re trying to accomplish. More importantly, they know exactly the right tools and materials that you need to get it done right. If you have any questions, such as types of sanders or which types of sandpaper is needed for your floor finishing project, you can count on them to steer you right.