How To Sand Hardwood Floors With Drum Sander?

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Sanding hardwood floors is a suitable method to rejuvenate the appearance of the floors and give them a newer look.

However, many professionals and homeowners get confused when it comes to choosing the right tool or machine for sanding the floors.

A common notion is to choose a drum sander but many people hesitate due to its size and the general perception that it is very difficult to handle and maneuver.

However, sanding the floors is very easy using a drum sander as all you need to do is attach the right sandpaper, lower the drum, and start sanding.

Sand Hardwood Floors With Drum Sander

Read along if you want to find out more about this process and how this works.

What Is A Drum Sander?

A drum sander is one of the most commonly used sanding machines.

It is mainly used in the commercial sector due to its large upright body, which allows coverage for many areas, making the sanding process much faster and more efficient.

Many homeowners also prefer to use drum sanders for the same reason and rent them whenever a sanding session is due.

The working mechanism of a drum sander is quite simple. It has a wide sandpaper sleeve attached to a wide cylindrical drum.

What Is A Drum Sander

Both of these rotate and sand the floors as the machine moves forward. The mechanism is similar to a belt sander but allows for greater coverage and an easier process.

Moreover, drum sanders are very popular due to their versatility.

They can work with almost all hardwood floors, from pine to mahogany, and provide smooth sanding sessions without damaging the floors.

A drum sander is the most powerful sander for sanding hardwood flooring. It also has the potential to damage a floor.

If the tool is tilted or the drum is allowed to grind away at a single spot, the floor can be damaged beyond repair.

Also Read: How To Sand Unfinished Hardwood Floors?

How To Sand Hardwood Floors With Drum Sander? | A Step-By-Step Guide

If you also want to sand your hardwood floors and you’ve chosen a drum sander for this purpose, make sure to follow the guide given below for optimum results.

Step 1: Inspect & Clean The Floors

Before you start your sanding session, you need to understand and realize the condition of your hardwood floors, the amount of sand the floor can take, and the amount of sanding required for your hardwood floors.

Inspect Clean The Floors
Inspect and Clean The Floors

Besides, it is also necessary to inspect if there are any loose/popped nails or shifting boards that might hinder the sanding process and decrease its efficiency.

Once you have all these factors checked, it is necessary that you clean the floors and ensure there is no dirt or dust on the hardwood surface.

The dust can cause scratches on the hardwood floors and will make the sanding dangerous for the wood’ surface; therefore, it is necessary to remove it.

You can use a dry mop or a vacuum to clean the floors. Lastly, remove any furniture or other items from the floors so you don’t have to change course during the sanding process. Or the furniture might slide during the sanding process.

Step 2: Wear Necessary Safety Gear

Before you can start sanding, keeping your safety in check is necessary.

Sanding is not a very dangerous project, but it can turn out to be one if you have any allergies or if there are any accidents.

Wear Necessary Safety Gear
Wear Necessary Safety Gear

It is always better to be safe than sorry; hence, it is recommended that you wear gloves, protective goggles, a mask, and earplugs even before starting the sanding session so you don’t expose yourself to any risk.

Moreover, wearing a normal face mask will not prevent you from inhaling the dust from the sanding process.

Therefore, you need a proper respirator mask to keep the dust particles out of your system.

Even though a dust bag with the drum sanders collects most of the dust, it is still thrown into the air and enters your airways to cause irritations and trigger allergies.

If you don’t want to use the sander, you can also sand hardwood floors by hand.

Step 3: Prepare The Sander & Dry Run

You would need sandpapers of various grit to perform a successful sanding session for your hardwood floors.

The common strategy is to move from lower to higher grit and then back to a small fine grit for the final touches.

Therefore, you must have sandpapers ranging from 40 grit to 180 grit if you want a suitable sanding session with your drum sander.

For the first cut, 40 grit paper is most commonly used. The edges of the floor cannot be reached by the large sanders, so they are sanded by an edger with the same grit paper as the rest of the floor. Usually, this is the stage where holes or boards are filled. For the second cut, 80 grit papers are usually used.

Prepare The Sander Dry Run
Prepare The Sander Dry Run

Using the instruction manual, install the sanding sleeve and attach the lowest-rating sandpaper to your drum sander.

Once the drum sander is ready, making a few dry runs is best. A dry run means that the machine won’t be switched on, and you won’t be sanding the floors, but still, you will keep moving the machine in the same motion as sanding.

The drum will be raised above the ground level so it does not get ground on the surface of the wood, causing scratches and scars as it moves.

This is necessary to ensure that you get accustomed to the sanding process and will help you understand the force, pressure, and speed you need according to the drum sander.

Hence, an effective sanding session will be conducted using this method.

Step 4: Start Sanding

After you have completed a few dry runs and are confident about the procedure, it is time to start sanding your hardwood floors using a drum sander.

Switch on the machine, lower the drum to the floor level, and start the drum.

Start Sanding Floor
Start Sanding Floor

Once the drum starts to rotate, lower it further so it comes in contact with the floors. It would be best to keep moving like the dry runs as soon as this happens.

It is necessary to never stop at one place while the sander is turned on, as this can damage the flooring underneath.

Keep moving from one end of the wall to another with a moderate speed.

Once you reach the other end, lift the drum and change direction; then, change lanes and lower it again to start sanding the remaining surface.

Repeat this process until the floors have been sanded 2-3 times using the specific sanding paper.

Step 5: Change The Sleeves & Sand Again

After completing the process, it is time to change the sanding sleeve and move to a higher grit for better sanding and targeting of the wood’s grain.

A recommended grain would be 100-grit for your hardwood floors to perform medium sanding.

Repeat the same procedure as before and give the floors a few rounds until you can stop for the next step.

Step 6: Final Sanding

After completing this process, it is time for the final sanding of the floors. Use a sandpaper of 120 grit and attach it to the sleeve of your drum sander.

Repeat the same process a few times and ensure sanding the edges properly as you want them to be sanded at the same level.

Once done, clean the floors and empty the dust bags as your sanding process is complete and your hardwood floors are fine and smooth again.

Last Words

Using a drum sander to sand down your hardwood floors is an excellent decision and you’ve certainly made a reliable choice.

Follow the instructions given above to carry out a smooth sanding session and give your hardwood floors the right appearance and treatment that they deserve.

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