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Advanced Guide On The Different Floor Sanding Machines
Sanding wooden floors as a part of the wood floor restoration process is an important step. The first question, which usually comes in mind is related to the type of equipment needed.
The "mighty" belt sander is a good mate in most of the floor restoration works we may face. However, when dealing with hardwood floors in relatively good condition, the orbital buffers are an alternative, which may outperform the finishing in terms of time. In fact, if there is a lack of experience and confidence, they can be a preferred option.
Here are some useful facts about sanding equipment and their differences.
- Belt sanders take abrasive belts, fitted and secured tight between a drum and a tension device. The belt moves vertically, along the grain of the floor surface, which assures a powerful stripping, good finish and a lasting abrasive.
- Drum sanders do not have a tension device and abrasive is fitted just around the drum itself, which is a less secure method and retains a risk of leaving marks on a newly sanded surface.
- Orbital sanders (buffers) take abrasive discs, which rotate in same plain is the floor itself. The power of the stripping relies on the weight of the machine and therefore can be useful for surface treatments like buffing, light sanding or stripping old sealants.
If the wooden floor comprises of planks or boards (especially pine floorboards), which are in perfect level against one another, you may find it difficult to work with an orbital type of machine. Hiring a belt floor sander will be highly recommended.
Start with the lower grid of abrasive belts and go up the ladder to the finest ones. Once the perfect level is achieved you can either move to the orbital buffing machine or continue with the finer grids. Same applies to abrasives of the Edger and Corner machines.
Buffing is an important step of every floor renovation. If your sealant of choice is lacquer, use a fine buffing mesh before your first coat and before the last one with your orbital buffer. This operation will also help remove differences between the vertical and horizontal circulations of the different sanding equipment used during the works - the belt drum or the disc of the edging machines. It will help smoothen the final finish by removing minor imperfections and cut the timber grain, which has raised during the drying time of the first coat of lacquer.
The majority of modern floor sanding machines collect the sawdust from the sanding. Some can be more efficient than others. Some uncaptured dust particles will not be visible to the eye and may settle down hours after the sanding is complete. Working with respirator masks is recommended for sanding equipment, which does not come with dust capturing unit.
Summary: Choosing the right equipment is based on your judgement for the level of the floors and their condition. Poorly fitted or floors with physical damage / repaired floors would be appropriate for a belt drum sander and the orbital sanders can help you finish quicker when working on floors with a good level and less wearing or damage.