Read this before you start
Hardwood floors in older homes can be hidden treasures. You may not realize it, but under the dark finish, scuffs and scratches is probably a beautiful hardwood floor just waiting to shine through. Sanding off the old finish gives you a chance to get down to the bare wood and erase many of the scratches and dents. Then you can choose a stain that is more to your liking, or just put a clearcoat on the floor for a pleasant, warm appearance.
A drum sander is very aggressive machine. If you need to sand off old adhesive or paint, or if the floorboards are slightly cupped or warped, a drum sander enables you to sand much deeper than other types of sanders. Be careful though - a drum sander is very powerful and it can leave grooves in the floor if it is not used correctly. If you only need to remove an old floor finish and the floor is not badly scratched or dented, you should consider using an orbital sander. Check out our tutorial on refinishing hardwood floors – oscillating sander.
With the right equipment, restoring the hardwood floor in a room can be done in a weekend. Plan ahead and have some helpers lined up to move out the furniture in the room. The finished floor will need to cure for a week, so find an out of the way place for the furniture. You will also need to rent sanding equipment, so make sure it is available on the days you plan to tackle this project.
Skill Level & Time
• Beginner - 1 to 2 days
• Intermediate - 1 to 1-1/2 days
• Advanced - about 1 day
Always wear eye protection when working with power tools and striking tools.
This is a very dusty project. Make sure you wear a dust mask while operating the sander.
Close all doors leading to the room while sanding. If you don’t have a door, hang a sheet of plastic over the door opening.
Don’t try to remove all scratches and dents. It may require you to sand deeper than you need to and besides, they really do add to the character and charm of the floor.