Hardwood Floor Sanders – DIY Tips and Product Reviews
Hardwood floor sanders are not the type of tool most DIYers have sitting on their workbenches or in their basements or garages. Hardwood floor sanders are commercial tools often beyond the professional grades many popular tool manufactures offer. Tools at this level can be expensive, powerful, and will take practice to operate safely.
Inattention and improper use can not only damage the tool and the hardwood you’re sanding – it can also cause you bodily injury.
Much of using floor sanders properly is common sense and remembering what you’re hoping to accomplish while sanding your floors. Hardwood is very durable, but it’s no match for a powerful sander with course grit sandpaper.
When using a hardwood floor sander on your floors:
• Always sand with the wood grain – sanding cross grain can scratch the wood surface and it can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to remove the damage
• Keep your sander moving – this usually isn’t a problem with your belt sander as it will move on its own unless you hold it in place, but your edge sander should be constantly moved while sanding. Allowing a sander to remain in one place can quickly create a low spot in your floor
• Don’t let it get away from you – operating a commercial belt sander takes two hands and your full attention. Keep your hands away from the belt when the tools running – unless you have a finger you can spare
• Turn the sanders on before placing them on the floor – this relates to the second tip about being careful not to create a low spot in your floor. Sanders should be running before being gently placed on the floor and then constantly moved
• Check your sandpaper often – sanding a hardwood floor eats through sandpaper quickly – especially the initial stages. If your sandpaper has little or no grit left, you’re just going through the motions
• Know where your power cord is – sanding through your power cord may give you a shock and it can quickly put your project on hold until you get a replacement
The most valuable tip for using a hardwood floor sander might be to always pay attention to what you’re doing and never try to rush the job.
Sanders can be expensive and if you’re only planning to sand one floor, you might be better off renting your tools. However, if you’re a tool junky and just have to have your own equipment, here are a few hardwood sanders the professionals use:
• Lagler Hummel 8 inch belt sander – Hummel is considered by many to be the best belt sander for hardwood floors in the world and it can be used for any sized job. At a list price of over $5,000, you might want to make sure you’re going to use it more than once.
• Clarke Floor Sander Edger Super 7 – this powerful edge sander uses a 7 inch disc that can make quick work of your edge sanding and at a list price of about $1,800, it should be good for a few hardwood sanding projects.
• Bosch and Makita are a couple other big names in the business that come back with consistently great reviews.
Here are a couple photos of sanders, just to give you an idea of price and what to look for:
As you can see, these commercial sanders are not for the casual hobbyist and are not the type of tool you use once and place in your workbench. However, if you have to have one, hardwood floor sanders are available online or at most flooring distribution centres.