Sanding a floor against the grain...

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

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Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby roush9799 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:23 pm

Here's the deal, I have a 4 foot by 20 foot hallway upstairs. The floor is in rough shape and needs sanded, some of the boards are slightly cupped. Anyways, the floor boards are laid crossways. Looks like it's almost impossible to be able to sand them with the grain except where I can back into the doorways. Is the floor going to look horrible sanding it this way, or will there just be some sanding marks left. I can live with some marks, it's got to look better than it does now.
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby cs » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:06 pm

A regular drum sander will absolutely leave marks in your situation – you will hate the results. You need a rotary sander… like the hand held “edger” that they usually rent WITH the drum sander. It will be a pain in the back, but doable. Maybe someone makes a larger, walk-behind, rotary sander, but honestly, since you will be doing short sweeps, the hand held is (IMO) your best bet.

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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby Iowa4Square » Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:51 am

Yep, use a hand held random orbit sander. I did two rooms that way; it's really not that bad.
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby roush9799 » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:03 am

Well, I guess I could use the drum sander where I can back into the doorways, I maybe able to get 2/3rd's of it. I got 2 bedrooms, a landing and a closet along the way. If it doesn't work, I'm also doing a bedroom so I won't be out of the rent for the sander.

I measured it off, I can get 12 feet of the 24 in the hallway. I'll have about 48 square feet to do by hand.
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby NT Victorian » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:56 am

They make random orbit square floor sanders.
Something like this might work.
http://www.sci-rental.com/images/floor_sander_1_.gif

I think you can rent them at some home depots.

Chris
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby Sacto Diane » Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:52 pm

or something like the U-Sand floor sanders that are in essence 4 random orbital sanders together in a square unit. My local big box tool rental place has them

http://www.cherryhillmfg.com/u-sand/index.htm
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby mgb1234 » Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:54 pm

If you start out with heavy grit paper then end up with fine grit (220) the scratches should not be that noticeable. :)
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby Sombreuil_Mongrel » Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:43 pm

I'll put this idea out there FWIW. On cupped boards that aren't thick enough to take the amount of material removal (sanding) to get them flat, OR where the floor is very antique, and you want to keep "the look", a hand-scraping technique can be used. I use a 1 1/2" paint scraper, and round off the blade so the corners don't dig in. For a real "hand scraped" effect, the entire blade should have a gently-rounded profile. Yu have to keep the blade sharp; a file is used almost continuously for this purpose. I have done two floors this way, both times on wide/random heart pine from about 1800. It turns out great, very little material is removed, and a good bit of the patina (old color) retained, which would be totally lost in a drum sanding.
I have also used a cabinet scraper to level a new installation of heart pine where the owners did not want it sanded. That is a more practiced technique, and very hard on the thumbs.
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby roush9799 » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:23 pm

NT Victorian wrote:They make random orbit square floor sanders.
Something like this might work.
http://www.sci-rental.com/images/floor_sander_1_.gif

I think you can rent them at some home depots.

Chris



That looks like something i need to get my hands on. I'll have to check home depot. I don't know of anywhere else around here that would have one like that. The local rent place only has the drum sander and the edger which I used in the rest of the house.
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Re: Sanding a floor against the grain...

Postby NiceTom » Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:20 pm

I rented a similar one at the local Lowe's. It did the job nicely. I liked the U-Sand at the Home Depot better-it seemed like it would get a bit closer to the walls. But no worries about the sanding direction. Also no worries about ruining a floor, which is very possible with a drum sander.
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