Monthly ‘How to’ from Checkatrade.com and A Passion for Homes
Our very popular monthly ‘How to’ blog from a checkatrade.com expert continues with how to sand floorboards: By Dave Hambleton, Owner of Hambletons.
‘In recent years, making the most of wooden floorboards has become increasingly trendy. Savvy homeowners will also know that keeping floorboards in good condition can help ward off a multitude of problems as the flooring ages. Maintaining floorboards can be a relatively simple job when carried out correctly with the right equipment – but be warned this will be a labour intensive project.
In order to decrease the amount of manual work involved in this task, you are advised to hire an electric floor sander, which can be found at most specialist outlets. However, users should be particularly cautious when operating such a powerful piece of machinery. For those keen to undertake this task themselves, but less confident in their DIY ability, it is best to consult a professional and consider using a wholly manual approach rather than enlisting power tools. For the confident and well prepared DIY enthusiasts, following the steps below should ensure the process runs smoothly.
The necessary tools will include:
• Electric floor sander
• Floor sander edger
• Wood filler
• Safety mask and goggles
Now follow our simple step-by-step guide…
1. Prepare your area
Before sanding the floor, ensure that all furniture has been removed from the room. It’s a given that you should also take up any existing floor covering! Close all doors to the room to trap any dust created during the sanding process and open windows to allow the dust to escape.
2. Prepare the floorboards
At all times, be wary of raised nails, loose screws or any other objects which could create potential hazards during your project. Be sure to hammer any raised nails well below the surface of the floorboards. At this time you should also clean the surface of the floorboards, sweeping to remove any dirt, wax, grease or general debris.
If you find that there are flaws in your floorboards, such as cracks and unevenness, now is the optimum time for repairs. Manually sand any uneven boards, to create a level floor. Where there are cracks or gaps use a small amount of wood filler to create a smooth finish. Where necessary, replace damaged floorboards.
3. Use the electric sander
Before using the sander, load it with a sheet of sandpaper, ensuring that the sandpaper is tight against the drum for maximum effectiveness. At this point, put on some protective goggles and a mask.
Position the sander against a wall with a large expanse of floor ahead of you – the wall will be a useful guide to walk the sander along. Keep the sander off the floor when powering up the machinery and gently ease the sander onto the floorboards as you walk forward.
Walk slowly and at a steady pace, gently lifting the drum of the sander off the floor when you reach the end of the room. When starting a new column, ensure that it overlaps the existing column by 5-7cm to ensure there are no gaps in the sanding. Walk back and forth repeating this process until you have achieved a smooth even finish.
4. Sand the edges of your floorboards
As most electric sanders use a round drum, it is very tricky to reach into the corners of rooms. You can hire an electric floor sander edger which will work in the exact same manner as a floor sander, but with a straight edged drum to facilitate corner sanding. However, it may be simpler to sand the corners of your room by hand, using varying degrees of abrasive sandpaper, starting with the coarsest first. In both cases, move in semi-circular strokes to create a neat finish that will blend evenly into the main body of the sanding.
A vacuum cleaner will be the most essential tool in cleaning the area once you have finished sanding, as there will be a lot of surface dust which sweeping may not fully clear. Wiping the floorboards with a wet cloth will collect any remnants of dust or dirt.
To create a long lasting finish, varnish the floorboards. Be careful to choose the right type of varnish for your boards, and ensure that you follow the product’s instructions upon application.’
To find genuine tradespeople in your local area, visit www.checkatrade.com
Checkatrade.com helps combat the UK’s rogue trader problem by continuously vetting and monitoring local tradespeople such as builders, plumbers and electricians as well as service providers.
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