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Hardwood Floor Sand and Refinish Guide;
How to Sand & Refinish Hardwood Floors


Refinish a new install plank or parquet floor or an existing hardwood floor requires expertise and knowledge in addition proper tool and equipment

Hardwood Floor Sand and Refinishing is a very difficult and time-consuming task. The best wood for refinishing is Oak whether its Red Oak or White Oak while Maple is more difficult. It is very important to make sure all steps in the process are completed with utmost effort and consideration. In a sand and refinish Hardwood job you can change the current stain color to your desired favorite color. McCurley’s Floor Center has provided some details on the entire process. McCurley’s Floor Center has in-house professional Hardwood sand and refinish crews and we will be able to complete the process for you, so you can sit back and relax. At McCurley’s we carry a very large selection on unfinished hardwood that will be the right floor for your needs. We also carry any equipment and tools you may need for your do-it-yourself sand and refinish your Hardwood Floor project.  Otherwise, it’s going to be hard work, but if you are up for the challenge, good luck to you.

Before you begin Sanding you must do some preparation work. This work can be labor intensive, and it is recommended to have at least two people working. During the preparation phase it is time to obtain all materials and equipment needed for the project.

• Hardwood Services
  European White Oak | White Oil Hardwood

Equipment needed
for your sand and refinish Hardwood project includes heavy-duty equipment and also everyday simple tools. The heavy-duty items include a drum or belt floor sander and floor edger. MacFloor recommends using a sanding machine that has a separate lever for raising and lowering sanding drum, it allows more control during the sanding process. McCurley’s Floor Center can help you choose the right sander for your project. The equipment must be in very good working condition and must be inspected and maintained properly, or the floors will be substantially damaged. Other misc tools and equipment include: broom, vacuum, hammer, floor polisher (15” to 17” diameter; 200 rpm, with sanding disc attachment and sanding discs or screens in fine grit), white or brown buffing pads, 6d to 8d case nails, long handed paint scraper, circular saw, chisel, pry bar, hand saw, putty knife, electrical oscillating sander, wood glue, drill, utility knife, floor finish.

Hardwood Floor Jobsite Preparation
includes having all your tool and equipment ready. Any missing tool can cause the project to take much more time and effort. It is important to clear the area (all furniture and obstructions and possibly even heating grates) to be sanded and make sure to sweep the floor very meticulously. This is very important. Then make sure to tape off all areas necessary, because during sanding hardwood floor the saw dust is going to be everywhere.

Sanding the Hardwood Floors
can begin after you make sure to inspect the floor and make sure it is spotless, clean, and almost perfect. Sanding cuts a layer of the hardwood, and makes its smoother, and even, so the floor can accept a new layer of finish. The different sand papers produce different level of cuts. Heavy grits make deep cuts, and lighter grits make lighter cuts and remove and cuts and imperfections. The sanding process should only sand a very minimal area of 1/16”. This may include anywhere from 2 to 4 cuts using different grits. McCurley’s Floor installation and sanding crew have years of experience and know the correct way to sand the floor, to make the wood floors look beautiful and have a longer life. The first cut removes old finish and creates some scratch marks. The second cut is used to smooth out the scratches. The final cut is with a fine grit to make a smooth surface, with no cuts, and ready for the finish to be applies. Sanding wood floors should be done from right to left. Be familiar with the sanding equipment and how to use it PRIOR to beginning sanding. Industry standards recommend using the sander first followed by the edger. Install the sand paper on the drum, and make sure to tie the dust tube elbow correctly and securely. Plug in the sander to a secure circuit that will be able with that the load. Sanders typically run around 15 amps. Safety is very important so make sure to wear glasses and a dust mask. Make sure to clean the dust bag when they are about 50% full, it helps pick up more dust this way.

The best way to sand a room is to split it up into two parts. Begin with 2/3 of the room in front of your view. As stated the earlier begin from right to left. Then return and turn around and sand the remaining 1/3 of the overlapping sections cut previously. Typically the sander allows you to sand forward and backward as well. When sanding make sure to always slowly lower and raise the drum. Another technique that is very important to use is to never let that sander sit staticly in one spot when in contact with the floor. Be aware of your location relative to the room, especially when getting close to the edges.

If the cutting of the sander seems to diminsh make sure to replace the paper. Make sure to unplug the sander after you are done. Once you have finished areas with the sander, you may use an edger to get areas where you are unable to reach with the sander.


Screening the Hardwood Floor
is done before you apply the finish to the floor. Screening is a process where you identify any blemishes, imperfects, problems, with the floor, and fix them prior to applying the finish. A polisher, a screen mesh, and a nylon pad is needed to screen the floor. The screen basically looks like a window screen. Begin screening the hardwood floor at the edges and work inward. Try to clear up any imperfections and apply more polish in those areas.

Proper Finishes and Application
is the final step of the process. Make sure to clean the hardwood floor with a vacuum and wipe any dust around all areas of flooring as well as surrounding areas. Tack the floor to remove the dust,  by using a damp material to wipe off any remaining dust.

Staining the wood Floor
is important to see a sample of the stained wood Floor. Make sure you have completed a thorough screening, and vacuuming process, because the stain will highlight any mistakes.


Hardwood Floor finish
can be applied once the stain has dried completely, that is if you are going to apply a stain. There are several types of hardwood floor coatings including Swedish finishes, oil or water based polyurethane. These finishes are environmentally safe.


Water based finish
dries fast, allowing you to apply several coats in one day. If you would like high gloss flooring you need to apply more coating. The water based finish does not yellow as it ages. Benefits also include the ability to clean with water and there is no odor, and VOC Compliant.


Oil based finishes
provide a warm appearance, and less expensive than water based. Typically it is recommended to apply 3 coats. There is a solvent odor when finish dries.


As a final note
make sure to invest in a reputable good finish. The cost is well worth it, because a finish will last longer, look better, and cause you less problems in the long run.  You want to apply a finish that you have confidence in.

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