When you want to finish or refinish hardwood floors, the first step is sanding it. When you sand the floor, it smooths it out and prepares the surface to absorb the stain. Many people want to know how long it takes to sand the floor so that they can plan the project.
How long it takes to sand your floor depends on several factors, including the experience level of the person doing the job, the size of the room, and the condition of the floor. In general, a professional can sand a floor in one room in one day, and a homeowner can do it in two or three days.
Factors That Determine How Long It Takes to Sand a Floor
There are a lot of different factors that have an effect on how long it takes to sand a floor. Take a look at the following, and see how they apply to your project.
1. The Number of Rooms
Some people measure the project by the square feet, but you need to also look at how many rooms you plan to sand. If you are doing one large room, it will take less time than several smaller rooms. One of the most time-consuming parts of the project is sanding the corners, and if you have more rooms, there will be more corners. For a large room, you can use a larger sander, which will make the project go more quickly.
You normally take three passes, and you transition to a finer-grit sandpaper each time. If you are doing several rooms, you will start with the main section of the floor and then do the edges and corners before moving to the next grit. Even if the rooms total fewer square feet, it will take longer because you have more corners to do.
2. The Type of Hardwood
The next factor to consider is the type of hardwood you have. Some types are easier to sand than others. For example, oak wood is smooth and easier to sand, while some harder woods take more effort. Some types are easier with coarse grits, but they are more difficult and take longer when you get to the fine-grit round. Oak is a fairly common wood for this reason. It is suitable for hardwood floors, and it is easier to work with.
3. Damage to the Floors
The amount of damage to the floors also plays a role in how much time it takes to sand them. If the floors are in good condition but are ready for refinishing, it won’t take as long as it would if you have damaged or stained boards that you need to attend to. When water gets inside of wood floors, it can discolor and damage the wood. Your floors can have marks from excessive heat, or they may have interacted with chemicals.
If you are trying to sand the floor to remove damage to the surface layer, it will take more time because you need to give specialized attention to those areas. If you find that the stain goes down too deep or that the floor can’t be saved by sanding, you may need to cut out and replace sections of the floor.
4. The Finish on the Floor
The finish on the floor can make the project longer or shorter. If you have new floors installed without a finish, it is a much quicker job than refinishing floors that have a thick layer of stain and polyurethane on them. If your floors are coated in oil, it will be really easy to sand them. However, if your floor has an aluminum oxide finish, which is designed to resist scratches and scuffs, it will take quite a bit longer.
How to Sand Your Hardwood Floors
If you want to get through the job more quickly, you need to have a plan for how you will attack the floors. You normally sand the floors at least three times; you begin with a coarse grit, and then you use a finer grit each time.
You start with a coarse grit to remove the finish and stain that is already on the floor. If you have damage to the floor such as stains or unevenness, you will want to use a very coarse grit such as a 12 grit to start. If you have a new floor or one without layers of stain and finish, you may be able to use a 36 grit.
Once you select your grit, you will use a drum sander to sand the main area of the floor. If you are doing more than one room, you can do the floors in all of them with this sander and grit, or you can split the project into rooms. Move the drum sander in the direction of the grain until you complete the room.
Then you will use the edger. Use the same grit, and go around the perimeter of the room. The edger will sand the floor where the drum sander couldn’t reach. Once you get all the edges, if you still need to do the corners, you can use a handheld sander with the same grit and get the corner done.
After you finish your first round, you can sweep and vacuum all of the rooms. Take up all of the dust that was left behind so that you have a clean surface for your next round. Repeat the above steps for each pass, using a finer-grit sandpaper each time. Then you can buff the floor with a buffer, and vacuum. The floor should look great.