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The Pros and Cons of DIY Orbital Sanding for Floor Restoration

Posted on August 27, 2023

Floor sanding techniques

DIY Orbital Sanding: Unlocking the Secrets of Floor Restoration

When it comes to restoring that gorgeous wooden floor you’ve got, you’re probably debating whether to roll up your sleeves or dial up the experts. Among DIY aficionados, orbital sanders have become all the rage. But is it truly the stuff of wonders or just another tricky gadget? Before you wander off into the woods of DIY floor restoration, let’s journey together through the world of orbital sanding and weigh the pros and cons.


1. Economical:

One can’t help but admit that embarking on a DIY project does tend to save pennies. Hiring professionals can dig deep into one’s pockets. Investing in a decent orbital sander and some quality sandpaper might seem pricey at first, but in the long run, It can be a fraction of the cost of hiring professionals every time that floor needs sprucing up.

2. User-friendly:

Orbital sanders aren’t the unruly beasts they once were. Modern designs have prioritised user friendliness. The machine’s smooth movement and low vibration make it quite a darling for novices. You won’t feel like you’re wrestling a wild beast; it’s more like taming a somewhat boisterous puppy.

3. Versatility:

One of the marvels of these machines is their adaptability. Different floors? Different grits? The orbital sander says, “No worries, mate! From parquet to solid wood, with the right sandpaper, these machines can tackle a wide array of surfaces.

4. Less Dust:

If you’ve ever sanded a floor, you’ll know it can resemble a dust storm in the Sahara. Yet, with integrated dust collection systems, many orbital sanders offer a cleaner and, dare I say, more civilised experience.

5. Empowerment:

There’s a certain satisfaction, a chipper kind of pride, in standing back, hands on hips, admiring a job you’ve done yourself. Every gleam and every smooth patch are your handiwork. Bravo!

6. Skill Acquisition:

Tackling DIY projects like orbital sanding provides a valuable opportunity to learn a new skill. And as they say, you never know when such skills might come in handy. Next thing you know, you’re the go-to person in your circle for all things woodwork.

7. Customisation:

With the reins in your hands, you decide every aspect of the restoration. Prefer a particular finish or a specific type of polish? Going DIY lets you customise every facet of the process, ensuring the outcome is precisely to your taste.

8. Environmentally friendly:

When you’re in control, you can opt for eco-friendly sandpapers, finishes, and varnishes. It’s an excellent way to reduce the environmental footprint of your restoration project.

9. Immediate Fixes:

Say you notice a minor flaw or patch that needs touch-up months later; having an orbital sander at home means immediate fixes without waiting for professional availability.

10. Bonding Experience:

For those who enjoy shared tasks, restoring a floor can become a bonding experience with family or friends. It’s teamwork, camaraderie, and a shared sense of accomplishment at the end.


1. Time Intensive:

Here’s the kicker with DIY – time. While professionals might have your floor looking ship-shape in a day or two, going the DIY route, especially if you’re green, can stretch out the task. It’s not just about the sanding; it’s the prep, the clean-up, and the finishing touches.

2. Risk of Imperfections:

No offence to any budding DIYer, but there’s a learning curve to using an orbital sander effectively. Without experience, there’s the risk of uneven sanding, swirl marks, or even gouging. And trust me, they stick out like a sore thumb during those Sunday luncheons when Aunt Mavis is searching for something to tut about.

3. Physical Toll:

While they’re more user-friendly than some other tools, a full day behind an orbital sander can still leave you feeling like you’ve had a session with the Royal Marines. There’s bending, stretching, and a fair bit of arm work involved.

4. Equipment Cost:

Although cheaper than hiring professionals repeatedly, there’s still an initial outlay. Quality orbital sanders and the accompanying sandpapers aren’t pennies, and if you’re on a shoestring budget, it might be a bit of a pinch.

5. Potential for Over-Sanding:

It’s tempting. You get into a groove, the sander humming away, and before you know it, you’ve sanded away more of your floor than intended. Over-sanding not only thins your floor but can also lead to a reduced lifespan.

6. Unanticipated Costs:

Mistakes can be costly. Whether it’s accidentally damaging the machine, the floor, or realising you’ve bought the wrong sandpaper, these slip-ups can quickly add to the expenses.

7. Safety Concerns:

While orbital sanders are user-friendly, there’s still a risk involved if one doesn’t take proper precautions. There’s potential harm lurking without appropriate safety gear like goggles, masks, and ear protection.

8. Storage Issues:

Unlike professionals who take away their tools after the job, owning an orbital sander means you need to store it. For those lacking space, this can become an issue.

9. Maintenance of the Tool:

The sander might require occasional maintenance or parts replacement, which can be time-consuming and costly.

10. Limitation of DIY Knowledge:

Professionals often bring a wealth of experience. They can advise on the best finishes, address wood-specific quirks, and tackle unexpected challenges. With DIY, unless you’re well-researched, there’s a limitation to this depth of knowledge.


The realm of DIY, particularly orbital sanding for floor restoration, is a world of contrasts. It offers the thrill of personal achievement, the joy of learning, and the satisfaction of having things ‘just so’. Yet, it’s also a domain where challenges lurk in the corners (quite literally, if you’re not adept with the sander). In weighing the pros and cons, the choice often boils down to personal preferences and priorities. Are you chasing the exhilaration of a challenge or the perfection only years of experience can bring? But, in this humble scribe’s opinion, there’s merit in trying. Even if you eventually call in the professionals, there’s a world of knowledge gained in the process. After all, life is a journey, not a destination. Why not make it a journey filled with sawdust, gleaming floors, and the occasional misadventure? To sand or not to sand, that’s the question. Whatever your answer, may it lead to floors that echo tales of adventures, missteps, and triumphs. Cheers!

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More from our Blog:

How to Refinish Parquet Floors with Orbital Sanding Orbital Sanding Techniques for Pine Floors How to Achieve a Matte Finish with Orbital Sanding The Differences Between Orbital and Drum Sanding for Floors How to Prep Your Space for Orbital Sanding Advanced Techniques for Orbital Sanding on Wood Floors The Science Behind Orbital Sanding for Floor Restoration Orbital Sanding for Hardwood Floors: Techniques and Tips Orbital Sanding vs. Other Floor Sanding Techniques: Which is Best?  
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