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Essential Guide to Wood Floor Sanding – Basics and Tools You Need

Posted on June 15, 2023

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Understanding Wood Floor Sanding Basics and Essential Tools

Wooden floors are often seen as an investment for a lifetime. Their timeless beauty and durability make them a preferred choice for many homeowners. But, like all good things, wooden floors require maintenance and upkeep to preserve their charm. One of the fundamental processes in the maintenance cycle is sanding. This article aims to equip you with all the necessary knowledge about wood floor sanding basics and what you’ll need to accomplish this task effectively.

Understanding wood floor sanding

What is wood floor sanding?

Wood floor sanding is a process that involves removing the top surfaces of a wooden floor by grinding it down with abrasive materials. It is typically done to eliminate deep scratches, stains, or other imperfections on the surface, making the floor look fresh and new. Wood Floor Sanding Basics

Why do I need to sand my wood floor?

Over time, wood floors can lose their original lustre due to regular wear and tear, accumulated dirt and grime, or deep-seated stains. Sanding can restore your floor to its former glory. It also prepares the wood surface for refinishing, a process that can dramatically enhance your floor’s aesthetics and protect it from future damage.

Necessary tools and materials

Floor Sanding Machine

A floor sanding machine, often referred to as a floor sander, is the most vital piece of equipment you’ll need. There are different types of floor sanders available:
  1. Drum Sanders: These are heavy-duty sanders ideal for sanding large surface areas. They are perfect for the initial sanding stages when you need to remove old finishes and significant imperfections.
  2. Orbital Sanders: These are more delicate and suitable for the final stages of sanding. They are used for fine sanding to ensure a smooth finish, and they’re less likely to cause any damage to your floor if handled incorrectly.
Herringbone floor sanding in progress by Mr Sander® using the powerful Effect 2200 belt sander. Voltage: 220V, Frequency: 60Hz. Size: 250x750mm. Dust extraction system with HEPA filter ensures a clean and efficient outcome.


You’ll need sandpaper of various grits, from coarse to fine. Coarse-grit sandpaper (24–60 grit) is ideal for initial sanding stages, while medium-grit (80–120 grit) can be used for intermediate sanding. Fine-grit sandpaper (150–180 grit) is used for the final sanding stages to give the wood floor a smooth, polished appearance.

Protective Gear

Protective gear, including a dust mask, safety goggles, and ear protection, is crucial during the sanding process to protect yourself from dust and noise.

Vacuum Cleaner

A high-quality vacuum cleaner is necessary for cleaning up the dust generated during sanding. This is a critical step before applying any finishes.  

The process of wood floor sanding

Step 1: Preparation

Before you start sanding, remove all furniture, rugs, and other items from the room. Check the floor for any nails or screws sticking out, and ensure they are properly hammered down. Cleaning the floor with a broom or vacuum cleaner can also help in the effective sanding process.

Step 2: Initial sanding

Using a drum sander fitted with coarse-grit sandpaper, start sanding the floor. Always sand along the grain of the wood, not against it. Maintain a steady pace, neither too fast nor too slow, to avoid any potential damage to the floor.

Step 3: Intermediate Sanding

After the initial sanding, replace the coarse-grit sandpaper with a medium-grit one and repeat the process. This step helps to smooth out the roughness left by the coarse-grit sandpaper.

Step 4: Fine Sanding

For the final stage of sanding, use an orbital sander with fine-grit sandpaper. This step will provide a smooth finish to the floor. Drum Sander Wood Floor Sanding

Step 5: Cleanup

Once the sanding process is complete, it’s essential to clean the floor thoroughly. Vacuum the floor and wipe it with a damp cloth to remove all the dust.

After Sanding: The Refinishing Process

The final step after sanding is applying a finish. There are various types of wood finishes, including varnish, polyurethane, and oil, each offering a different level of protection and shine. Make sure your floor is completely clean and dust-free before you apply the finish. Start applying the finish in the corner of the room and work your way towards the exit to avoid stepping on the finished floor.


Wood floor sanding may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, materials, and knowledge, it’s a process that can dramatically enhance the look and lifespan of your wooden floors. It may require time and effort, but the end result—a beautiful, shiny floor that enhances the charm of your home—is undoubtedly worth it.

Some Useful Links:

More from our Blog:

How to Use a Drum Sander – Hints and Tips Sanding Wooden Floors – A Comprehensive DIY Guide for Beginners Unveiling the Secrets of Successful Floor Sanding Avoid Common Mistakes When Sanding Hardwood Floors  
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We provide virtually dust-free sanding with our continuous belt machinery with mobile extraction units, giving you a safer environment for your family.

Floor Oiling Service


This organic finish not only adds beauty to your home but also has exceptional water-repellent characteristics, making it easier to clean and maintain.

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This natural floor finish offers the softest and most mellow appearance – and leaves your floor able to breath.

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Using soft buffing machines (and hand-polishing where required) will bring a wonderful sheen to your newly-finished floor.

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We offer a full assessment of your wooden floors to determine what repairs are needed to provide the perfect working surface for the later stages of sanding, staining and sealing. 

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We offer a comprehensive restoration process designed to address floors that are improperly fitted or damaged over time through wear and tear.

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