Ways That DIY Sanding Messes Up The Floor
Just as with other household projects, there are those who choose to try their hand out with DIY floor sanding. The premises is that it can save on costs, and you get to pick up on a new skill, plus the satisfaction that comes with completing a project by yourself. There’s just one problem: floor sanding is not your typical renovation project. In fact, the DIYers often find themselves biting more than they can chew, and end up calling in the professionals midway to come in and rectify the damage made and complete the task. Here’s a look at the common issues that the DIYers face:
- Low-Capacity Machinery
Right off the bat, the DIYer does not have access to the industrial-grade sanders that the professionals use, unless they are willing to fork out loads of cash to get it. This equipment is expensive to acquire and maintain, restricting the DIYer to the lower-grade machines that are available for rent from the local dealerships. These are smaller to enable them to be more portable and easily manoeuvrable over the floor, but the reduced size makes them less effective in the process, which can cause the floor sanding exercise to take far much longer than anticipated. Then there is the issue of dealerships that don’t properly maintain their equipment. With the rented sanders having passed through multiple rookie hands, it can have got beat down and out of tune, which pits your floor and personal safety at risk.
- Inadequate skill
Floor sanding is not the same as dealing with wood blocks in woodshop class. It also takes more than just a few blogs and YouTube tutorials to develop a firm grasp on the task at hand. In fact, even the professional contractors themselves took months to hone their skills – and this is after intense training about the different sets of equipment and approaches to use when working the floor. The DIYer taking on the task as a challenge can end up wreaking havoc on the floor, and this will lead to costly ramifications. Common mistakes that the DIYers usually make include:
- Using the wrong grit of sandpaper
The sandpaper used will depend on the condition of the floor. Typically, one starts with coarse sandpaper to remove the existing finish, then proceed through with the medium and fine grit sandpaper. In these three categories, there are variations in the grit level. For instance, for the coarse units, one can work with grits like 24 and 32, though there are cases that will call for grits as low as 12 or 16. Starting with medium or fine grit sander because of a fear of removing too much of the wood means that you end up not even taking off all of the old finish coats. The new finish coats that are to be applied will react differently to sections with bare wood, and those that still have patches of the old treatments. When the wrong grit of sandpaper is used it also clogs up quickly making it useless and forcing you to keep getting more sandpaper, adding to your costs.
- Working with the wrong equipment for the different parts of the process
There are different machines needed during the floor sanding process. From the belt sanders to the orbital sanders, edgers, and buffers. Each has their target application. A mistake like using the orbital sander – which is a finishing machine, to carry out the initial sanding where you need to remove the lacquer, dents and deep scratches, will be exasperating.
- Failing to sand enough
The floor sanding process is tedious, but that does not mean that you get to take shortcuts or rush the process. At the initial stages of the sanding, there will be clear distinctions between the areas whether the varnish has been removed, and the rest of the floor. However, as you proceed through the grit sequence to smoothen the surface, the changes will be less dramatic, and the process will seem to be much slower. However, skipping too many grits causes the scratches to remain on the floor, and these will be highlighted by the finish coats that will be applied. There are also cases where the floorboards themselves are not completely flat, meaning that the drum of the floor sanding doesn’t get to all parts of the surface in one pass. This leaves behind shadows at the edges of the floorboards if the surface is concave, or middle of the floorboards if it is convex. The sanding needs to be carried out until all blemishes are completely removed – which can be frustrating for the DIYer. After all, that experience of spending hours in a dust-filled room, sweating as you move around the gear, can be frustrating.
Here, issues range from sanding in the wrong direction, ignoring those nails sticking out of the floor which leads to the sanding belt passing over them getting damaged, to starting the sander when the drum is in contact with the ground which causes the unit to spin on the spot and dig a divot into your floor. Remember that with the rented equipment, any damage to the machine being used will need to be repaired at your own personal cost. When the floor is ruined in the process, additional measures will need to be taken to rectify the issue, all putting a strain on the budget. It is also frustrating when you spend hours of your day sanding the floor, only ending up with low quality results that force you to have the process repeated.
Get It Done Right From The Start
Calling in the pros from the word go will ensure that the floor sanding and restoration job is carried out appropriately, and can save you lots of headache in the process. Engaging with an established company whose personnel have years of experience in providing the services will make the project safer for your floor, and reduce the costs incurred in the process, as well as the amount of time that it takes up. With a properly sanded floor, the finish coats will be able to bond strongly with the bare wood, and you also end up with a smooth finish.