DIY Floor Sanding Can Be Cumbersome
A floor restoration project is one of the home improvements tasks that will be required from time to time. When done properly, the sanded and refinished floor can last for 7 years – or even over a decade depending on the durability of the finish coats that are applied. When done improperly, then it will need to be repeated in under 3 years – which would end up costing more and reducing the lifespan of your floor. For the home improvement projects, there are lots of people who are keen on taking the DIY route. Fixing up damaged appliances in the home, tweaking the landscaping and handling the interior décor – there are plenty of areas where DIY can be fun – but not so much so when it comes to the floor sanding. Let’s look into why.
Sure, the concept looks simple: run a sander over the floor, grind away the old finish, and smoothen the surface. The professionals make it look easy, so it should be a walk in the park for you, right? Wrong. First off, a company that has been providing the floor sanding services for years will have a crew who are experienced in the task, and will have invested in powerful machinery. After all, to remain successful in such a competitive industry, the company will need to ensure that it maintains a high operational efficiency, and this includes getting a skilled team and equipping them with the required resources. On the other hand, the DIYer will likely be relying on information available on blogs and YouTube videos, and there’ll be plenty of room for error when it comes down to the actual work.
Digging around the internet for information about what type of sanders to use for the different sections of the floor and waiting in line to rent them at the local dealership store is just the start. Given that the dealerships focus on making the equipment easier to use for the individuals renting them, the machinery is usually smaller and more portable. While this means that you can probably fit it into the trunk of the average family car and will easily move the sander across the floor, the smaller units have lower capacity in getting the job done right. For instance, while the DIYer will typically be using equipment operating at 110V, the professionals will have machines rated at 220V and more. With less power, the DIYer will end up taking much more time than the professionals would for the task.
As the sanding progresses, it tends to become exasperating. At the start, there will be notable changes due to the old finish being removed, and the bare wood getting exposed. But as you proceed through the grit sequences, sanding with medium and then fine grit sandpaper, the differences are less dramatic. Yet this is still needed, to remove the scratches left behind by the initial grits, and make the floor surface more uniform. However, due to the slow progress this seems to take, some DIYers tend to rush it, which will in turn ruin the quality of the results.
There’s more – after spending hours working with the drum sander over the expansive floor space, there’ll be more work required at the edges. Finding yourself working with the edging sander when you’ve already been sweating for hours as you dealt with the rest of the flooring isn’t such an appealing idea. What makes it worse is that, after all that hard work, there is the risk of winding up with subpar results, which will require the task to be repeated. So you end up digging into your wallet, making it a much more costly endeavour.
What of all that dust? The rented sanders usually come with dust bags on the unit. While this does help in capturing a majority of the dust particles, there will still be a substantial amount that escapes into the interior space, covering the different surfaces, getting into the heating system, sinks, sockets and other areas in the building. All this will require an intensive clean-up job, adding to your list of duties.
You don’t want a sanding job to turn into a raging inferno. The dust is combustible, and proper care needs to be taken when dealing with it. There’s plenty needed for the DIYer to do here, from assessing the levels within the dust collection bags, to arranging for means to dispose them. Needless to say, there should be absolutely no smoking during the floor sanding process.
While DIYers usually use sanders with dust bags, the professionals working with dustless floor machines enable the dust particles to be suctioned away using high-powered vacuums into waiting containment units, minimising the risks involved. This also has the welcome benefit of cutting down the messes that are involved in conventional floor sanding jobs.
- Ensuring that the electrical connections have been properly set up – so you should go through the manufacturer’s guidelines for the different sanders and reference this with the local electrical codes.
- Ensure that you have comprehensively understood the operation instructions and warnings that are on the sanding machine.
- Acquire eye and respiratory protection gear. Even ear muffs are recommended, given that the sanding machines can get really loud.
- Get proper work shoes to keep your feet protected.
- One also needs to ensure that the electrical cords have been kept away from the moving parts of the different machines. Given that mishandling the cords can lead to injury, you should also avoid propping them up on your shoulders.
As you can see, with the DIY route there are lots of factors that come into play, and you need to get each aspect right otherwise there will be costly ramifications. This can be frustrating – but you don’t have to put yourself through it. Simply bring in the experts to handle the job for you. That way you will end up with the desired results without putting yourself or the property at risk.