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Sanding Hardwood Floors by Hand


How to sand hardwood floors by handWhen you try to envision a wood floor sanding project, you are probably thinking of all those heavy-duty drum sanders and other sanding machines you have seen many times in your local handyman store or in online sanding guides. However, the classic sanding project that involves the usage of a heavy-duty drum sander, orbital sander, and an edger is definitely not the only option for sanding wooden floors. Some people prefer to do the sanding by hand. It is a lot of hard work and requires a lot of time, energy, elbow grease, attention to details, this is why the heavy-duty sanding machines are made for - making the whole process easier and faster.

However, for some reason, some people still prefer sanding their floors by hand. They swear that sanding the floor by hand will provide you with flawless results. They consider sanding the floor by hand as a true form of craftsmanship, considering how detailed and more complex the whole job is. They probably enjoy the fact they can have more and better control over the machine when working by hand and with smaller and more mobile machines. No matter the reason, sanding a wood floor by hand is a thing and we would like to discuss it with you.

So maybe you are wondering - what is the difference between the standard sanding of a floor and sanding it by hand? The truth is, it is exactly the same type of process and exactly the same concept and technique, however, in the latter case you are using smaller sanding machines. Otherwise, you should still follow the same rules for proper sanding treatment of the floor, use different grits of sandpaper, start with the coarser one and progress to finer and finer grits, avoid sanding against the grain of the floor, etc.

Despite the fact that sanding the floor by hand sounds like a lot of hard work and too much time and energy to invest, the truth is that hand sanding a wooden floor is sometimes actually more efficient and quicker process. It is because of the fact that many hand sanders are actually more powerful and effective than your standard sanding machines. Therefore, you should have good control, a steady hand, and some level of knowledge and experience when using them.

So, now you are wondering what are the best hand sanders to choose from and give yourself a head start and avoid finding yourself sanding a small area for hours just because the technology you are working with is simply not efficient and powerful enough. Lucky you, because in this article we will share five of the best types of hand sanders you can work with and achieve some great results.

The Delta Sander

The delta sander is a very specific sanding tool that is normally used by wood floor sanding experts for reaching all those corners and hard to reach areas that the edger cannot sand. As you can guess, the delta sander is meant to be used for very detailed and dainty jobs, therefore it is a small and light machine that falls into the category of hand sanders. Use the delta sander for reaching all corners of the room and working on some minor details for flawless and sleek results.

Handheld Random Orbital Sander

GMC Random Orbital SanderThe handheld orbital sander is a pretty powerful tool that many find too aggressive. However, it is the right sanding machine for achieving a very smooth finish on wood and remove the old finish and all sorts of imperfections and dirt from the surface of the floor efficiently. The orbital sander is often used for very worn and old wood floors. The random orbital sander system is the one with the pad that oscillates, but it spins loosely, which means that it will always give way to resistance.

Palm Sander

The palm sander is definitely the most common tool for sanding a wooden floor by hand. Palm sanders also oscillate, however, unlike orbital random sanders, the pad of the palm sander is fixed straight. Therefore, the palm sander is a little bit more aggressive and powerful and a great tool for removing the old finish, dirt, and other imperfections on the surface of the floor. Use it with a coarser sandpaper grit for a lot of efficiency and quick results. Palm sanders also have a square edge, which means you can sand right into the corners of the floor.

Handheld Belt Sander

Handheld Belt SanderIndeed, the handheld belt sander is the machine that will sand-off the old finish and other imperfections on the surface of the floor quicker and more effectively than the other tools mentioned in this list. Despite the fact that the handheld belt sander does not work as quickly as a heavy-duty sanding machine, it still gets the job done at a reasonable speed and ensures great results and a very smooth floor. The more pressure you apply when sanding the floor with the handheld belt sander, the faster you will be able to do the job. Remember that the handheld belt sander should be moved from side to side, forward to backwards, and in circular motions.

Festool Rotex

The Festool Rotex is a great sanding tool for working on smaller areas and performing more detailed sanding, such as sanding the stairs, thresholds, and all those corners and hard-to-get areas of the floor. This tool can achieve a very smooth finish. The Festool Rotex has different settings, including a random orbital setting and also a geared orbital setting when the pad oscillates and spins with force.




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London, NW2 7HW
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