Must-have tools for refinishing floors

Sanders, sandpaper, kneepads help job go smoothly
Published on Jul 26, 2006

Q: In a previous column, you suggested that a homeowner use an orbital hand sander to refinish his floors. Wouldn't using an orbital go against the grain of the wood and adversely affect the look of the finished floor? I have a similar small floor project to do and I want to be certain to use the correct sander. A: If you use the proper procedure and the right sandpaper, your floor will turn out as smooth and shiny as glass. Refinishing a small area of floor yields the same result as doing a large one, but the tools are different and the labor is lighter. On large jobs, three tools are used to prepare the old hardwood floor for a new finish. A large drum sander cuts a wide swath on each path it takes down the field of the floor. An orbital edging sander is used to sand the sides of the floor close to the walls where the drum sander cannot reach. Finally, a sharp paint scraper is used to remove the old finish from inside corners where neither the drum sander nor the orbital sander can r...