Need your wooden floors sanded but all you have is a drywall sander? Do not worry, we have you covered. We have the answers to all the questions you have involving this topic and more! All the research is done for you so now, all you need to do is read it. It is all here in this article so continue reading.
Can You Use A Drywall Sander on Wood?
The answer is yes. This is possible to do. Drywall sanders, although commonly used to sand down plaster and taping, as well as prepare a wall for painting. This type of sander can be used to sand off anything, this is including wood. Therefore, you can use this specific sander to sand wooden floors.
However, there this is not the end of this topic. There is still more to discuss as we can imagine that you have more questions that have yet to be answered.
Getting The Job Done
Something great about sanding your wooden floors is that it can save you a ton of money. That is not to say that it does not come with any drawbacks, however.
One of these drawbacks is that the overall process of sanding your floors is time-consuming so if you are not up for a pretty intensive day of sanding (depending on how much floor you have to sand) then this may not be the project for you.
In saying this, if you are the type to spend hours around the house being the handyman then this could be the perfect fit for you. And do not worry if you are not very experienced with a sander, this is not rocket science! Once you understand the basics, a quality final result on your wooden floors is more about patience than anything else. Hence, us saying that if you are not up for the challenge, you should not attempt it.
The First Step To The Perfect Wooden Floor:
You need to know what you are tackling first before you attempt the refinishing of a wooden floor. Is the floor solid or engineered hardwood? Why is this important?
Well, generally speaking, some engineered floors can be sanded and refinished but not all. The exceptions are engineered floors that lack enough laminate. If you are unsure if your engineered floors are good enough to sand, try testing a small patch that is located in a hidden area, such as inside the bottom of a closet. If your floor is made up of solid hardwood planks then you should be good to go.
However, one important thing you should take note of before attempting to refinish your wooden floors is that you should make sure your floor is not a very realistic laminate before trying to sand it as this does not work at all.
What Comes Next?
Now that you know if you can sand your wooden floors, you should move everything out of the room that has the wooden floor you will be sanding. Once this is completed, you should sweep and vacuum the floor and finally mop it with a slightly moist cloth.
After this floor has dried, you should vacuum again, this time paying careful detail around the edges. No one should be allowed in that room as this will reduce the risk of a big lump of grit getting stuck in your sanding pad, disc or belt, and putting a huge gouge all over the precious floor that you are supposed to be making beautiful.
Now it is time to get down on your hands and knees, and very carefully, run your hand over the entire floor to check for any protruding nail heads or bits of grit stuck in between the joints. When you are convinced that the floor is suitable, it is time to start sanding.
What Different Sanders Can You Use?
There are a few different choices when it comes to deciding on the right sander. All of these will get the job done but it all depends on what your needs are and what you have access to, so to have a better idea of what you are dealing with, keep reading.
These work in a circular motion. It is the same machine that is used to polish and clean industrial and commercial floors. If you have used this type of sander before, then you should give it a try on your wooden floors. However, if this is the first time using it, then I do not think that sanding your floors would be the best place to learn the ins and outs of this sander. Why is this? They have a very sensitive balance and will take off across the floor wildly while wrapping the cable around your legs as it goes if you do not yet possess the magic touch.
If you do decide on this device to sand your floors, you will need to buy a large amount of sanding paper and cushioning pads. It is better to over-stock on the sanding paper than to run out while the job is not completed. A pad acts as a shock absorber, giving the sander a smooth ride as well as helping remove material. However, after a few hours of using the sander, the pad will become compressed and worn out and need to be replaced to carry on sanding effectively.
Square Vibrating Sanders
This type of sander is seen as the easiest to use and hardest to mess up with. This makes it great for someone less experienced in using a sander. For using a buffer and square sander, the process is quite similar. You need to start with a really rough paper that smooths out any ridges and gives you a uniform surface. After this, each different grit of paper is designed to remove the ridges from the paper before so do not worry if swirly lines are left after the first pass as these will progressively disappear.
Grit Papers go in a sequence starting at 36 or 40, and then go up to 60 grit, 80 grit, 100 grit, and 120 grit. You can go higher than this as grit paper does go up to 180 and 220 but this is entirely up to you.
Drum sanders have a rotating belt and can go relatively quickly and give a great finish to the wood. However, in inexperienced hands, they can make an utter mess, and this is not putting it lightly.
There are two different types of drum sanders, tip sanders, and lever sanders, of which both operate on a sandpaper belt. The tip sander is the easiest to learn and is the most common to find.
It is very important to start the machine with the paper off of the floor. Once you tilt it down and the sandpaper touches the wood, it will instantly start pulling you. It is also crucial to know that these machines are brutal and will push and pull you all over the floor. They will really give you a workout and pull your arms out of their sockets in the process.
From all of the machines mentioned above, it is important to know that if you are wishing for any kind of decent finish to your wooden floors, you need to keep the machine moving. You will start to literally, dig yourself in a little hole if you stick around one spot for too long. This will be hard to fix with the next grit and should, therefore, be avoided.
What Are Some Techniques For Sanding Wooden Floors?
Always go with the grain and after every stage, do a quick look-through to see that you have got all the scratches from the past before. After you have finished a 120-grit pass, you should wet the surface and then wait for it to dry. This brings up all the fibers. After this, you should do another 120-grit pass. There is a golden rule that if you see marks, swirls, and scratches, you need to keep going, move to a finer grade, and keep going again. If you see it before it is finished, it will look 10 times worse afterwards.
Although it may seem like it, skipping a step is not a time and material saver. If you go from a 60 grit to a 100 grit, and you leave out an 80 grit, you will spend a long time trying to wear down the ridges with the paper that is just too fine for the job and can often clog before it cuts the surface.
The only step you can possibly skip is the initial paper you choose to pass with first. If your floor is pretty uniform, you may be able to start at 60. How long you spend on the floor is determined by a couple of things. This is on how well it is installed and how long it takes on your first pass to get it to a point where you are content.
Choosing to stain the floor can really expose you if you have chosen to cut any corners. Floor stain will make any scratches and flaws in the floor look that much more noticeable.
Get a broom and dustpan ready. Be sure to use vacuum attachments with soft bristles as hard plastic can cause lines across the floor. Along with this, you should vacuum with the grain as there is less chance of you leaving visible marks. Get as much of the dust off as you possibly can. Make sure that any nail heads used in the wooden planks are under the surface as otherwise, they tend to rust over time and leave marks.
Do Not Forget About Safety Precautions!
These machines produce a large amount of dust and noise. That is why respiratory and auditory protection is essential. With this, splinters are a huge possibility and therefore, wearing gloves would be a good idea. Added to this, eye protection is highly recommended and the use of a facemask would not go without benefits. This is unless you would like to block your sinuses with old toxic varnish and peppery wood dust can be quite toxic depending on the type of hardwood.
You should also think about including some of those disposable all-in-ones and pull-on booties for after the floor is prepped. This is to make sure you do not drag something over the floor and dirty it.