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How to sand floors with a hand held sander

Updated February 21, 2017

Sanding is a necessary step when finishing or refinishing wood floors. A smooth, even surface showcases the beauty of hardwood flooring. For large areas of flooring, you will find that renting a large sander with handles will be easiest physically and will save time. For a smaller area, you can sand the floor with a hand sander. Sanders can be purchased or rented from home improvement stores along with supplies like additional belts and sandpaper.

Hammer down any nails that are sticking up from the floor. If nails or screws are protruding from the floor, they may damage the sander. Ensure that all nails or screws are sunk below the surface of the floor, or removed.

Protect yourself from flying particles and dust inhalation with the respirator mask and safety goggles or glasses. Sanding produces a large amount of dust and debris.

Attach a rough grit sandpaper sheet to the sander, following manufacturer's directions. Sand the entire surface of the floor evenly, going at a diagonal across the floor.

Vacuum dust that has resulted from the first pass of sanding.

Switch the sandpaper to a medium grit. Sand the entire room, in a straight direction across the planks of the wooden floor. Sand until the surface of the wood is free of scratches from the rough sanding, and the surface is smooth and even.

Remove dust and debris using the vacuum.

Place the fine grit of sandpaper onto the sander. Sand the entire area along the planks, with the grain of the wood. Sand the floor until it is smooth and even and free of blemishes.

Vacuum the floor to remove any remaining dust or debris.

Tip

If you have a large surface area of floor to sand, the project will be easier to complete if you rent a large, orbital sander rather than sanding the entire area using a hand sander.

Warning

Use a window or fan to increase ventilation where you are working to avoid inhaling dust.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Respirator mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Hand sander
  • Sandpaper in a rough, medium and fine grit
  • Vacuum
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About the Author

Sarah Thomas has been a freelance writer for more than five years. She has ghostwritten e-books and articles on weddings and other topics. Her work has also been published on various websites. Thomas graduated from Daemen College with a degree in psychology.