How to sand your timber floor


There is a common misconception that timber floors will last a forever. The truth is that timber floors have the potential to last a lifetime, as long as they are treated the right way. As long as you are diligent at periodically treating your floors with the right oils, the floors will easily outlast you. However, floors can get damaged, dry up and splinter and be susceptible to water damage if left untreated over time. As long as the timber floors have the right thickness, meaning that there is sufficient amount of timber down to the tongue and groove which keeps the boards together, you will be able to sand the floors down past the point of damage. This article will delve into the steps involved in bringing your timber floor back to its deserved glory.

What you need

  • Filler of a colour close to the intended finish of the floor after polishing
  • Sandpaper of various grits ranging from very fine to medium.
  • Floor sander (available for hire)
  • Masking tape
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dust pan
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Earmuffs


With any renovation job you undertake, it is essential to spend enough time on the preparation. Obviously you need to remove all furnishings from the room, as well as the curtains and blinds if possible, as the job creates a lot of dust. If there are any permanent cupboards in the room, it is advisable to seal the doors up with masking tape to prevent dust entering the cupboards.

Inspect the timber floor for any holes, exposed nails or splinters. Use the hammer and nail punch to recess the nails that are above or level with the floor, as the nails can tear the sandpaper and even create sparks when in contact with the sander. Fill in any small holes with a filler of a similar colour to the desired colour of the floor after polishing, as the filler does not absorb the colour from the oil in the same way as the timber.

Vacuum the floor to remove any loose items that may scratch the floor when in contact with the sander.

Using the floor sander

Before sanding, ensure the abrasive sand paper is fitted tightly to avoid tearing. Using a floor sander to sand down your floor involves being very meticulous in your movement and application of pressure. When you do not apply pressure, the sandpaper should not be in contact with the floor. As you push the sander down, it will get in contact with the floor. Sand up and down the floor in the same direction of your floorboards. It is a good idea to start sanding two thirds of the room first, before finishing the last third by overlapping the other section by about half a metre. When you reach the end of the room, ease up the pressure before walking backwards with the sander on the same section as you just sanded. When you reach the point where you started, ease up the pressure and move on to the next section by overlapping the previous section with about 7 cm. It is essential to keep equal pressure on the sander and walk in a steady pace. Also avoid resting the sander in one spot, as it will create dips and hollows in the floor. If you are not confident in doing this, you may want to outsource the job to a professional floor sander such as Max Francis in Brisbane.

The professional sanders always aim to remove as little of the wood as possible, and might test out the sander with a medium or fine grit at first.

Hand sanding

You can sand the edges by hand, or by using a special edge sander. Sand corners and difficult to get to areas by hand.

Clean the floor

When you have sanded the floor back to a point where the floorboards reveal no signs of damage or deterioration, you can vacuum all the dust using an industrial or builder’s vacuum cleaner, as the dust will clog up the filter of your domestic vacuum cleaner. Make certain you remove all the dust before polishing the timber. For best results, it is advisable to sand again using a finer grit between the first and second applications of oil.

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  1. Pingback : How to polish your timber floor | DIYit

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