How to Choose the Best Floor Sander: Tips for Professionals 

How to Choose a Hardwood Floor Sander

Hardwood floors are a great way to elevate the look and feel of any space, whether it’s a spacious, cozy living room, an office space, or even a retail showroom. An added bonus is that hardwood floors can last for decades, their patina only adding to their charm, but that’s only if they’re properly installed, repaired, and maintained. 

An experienced flooring professional will know the importance of properly prepping, cleaning, installing, restoring, and replacing hardwood floors. Sanding is one of the most important steps of the hardwood floor installation process, and a crucial part of the refinishing process, and it can add durability and adherence to any hardwood floor. In order to achieve the best possible results, you’ll need to use the right sander for the job. But with the myriad of choices available on the market, how do you make that choice? We’re here to offer a few tips and help you pick the best floor sander for your needs – you might even find what you need in our shop, so be sure to check out our selection of sanders and abrasives

What is a floor sander and what is its purpose?

A floor sander basically helps you remove old finishes, paint marks, scuffs, or adhesives from the surface of hardwood floor planks. The sander removes the top layer of the wood and creates a smooth, even surface that’s then ready for staining, coating, and finishing, making the floor look as good as new. Sanding is required whenever you need to restore, repair, refinish, or reseal hardwood flooring for a client. However, using the wrong tools for the job can work against you, and damage or thin out the wood – what we call oversanding. That’s why it’s important to use the right sander for the task at hand. 

What types of floor sanders are there? 

There are several sanding tools that professionals can use to restore hardwood flooring to its former glory, including sanding paper, sanding discs, sanding belts, detail sanders, orbit sanders, and professional-grade floor sanders. You can use detail sanders to smooth out the hardwood in hard-to-reach areas, such as corners, or between staircase railings. Handheld sanders like sanding papers, discs, or belts, are good for smaller areas or for smoothing out small imperfections or scratches. On the other hand, if you’re working with a large area, like an open-floor office space, you’ll want to use a floor sanding machine to get the job done in a timely and effective manner. 

Disc sanders

Disc floor sanders are probably the most commonly used option when it comes to sanding hardwood floors. Sanding discs or buffer pads are easily attached to the machine, either through a hook-and-loop or stick-and-sand attachment. Depending on the job at hand, you’ll be able to use different sanding discs or sanding sheets of different grit levels, to even out flooring and remove any imperfections. The machine works at a high speed, so it’s best that they’re used by an experienced professional to avoid damaging the structure of the wood. 

Belt sanders

If you’re dealing with smaller, more narrow areas, like deck railing tops or narrow corridors, a good option is to use sanding belts. Handheld belt sanders are easy to use, very lightweight, and a lot more affordable than other machines. They’re also a good choice for beginners and for projects that include smoothing out rougher surfaces or stubborn scratches or cracks. You can find a wide variety of sanding belts in our shop, from reputable brands like 3M, Bona, and Norton. 

Random orbital sanders 

Orbital sanders are one of the top choices for professionals looking to tackle a sanding job for clients. They’re very similar to disc sanders, and at first glance, they look almost the same, as they both use disc attachments. However, not all disc sanders have the random-orbital motion, which is highly effective at smoothing out any imperfection without leaving any marks. The random-orbital motion and high power ensures that the hardwood floor is sanded and smoothed to perfection – you might not even need to use a finishing tool afterwards. 

Sanding papers and screens 

Sanding papers and screens are great for smoothing out small imperfections from hardwood floors without using a big machine, and you can also attach them to pole sanders to make the job easier. They’re not as abrasive as sanding discs or belts, and they’re also easy to use even for beginners. While sanding papers are one-sided, solid pieces, sanding screens are double-sided and allow dust to move through the screen, thus avoiding build-up. These are great tools to have in your professional kit, but for more complex jobs and rougher surfaces, you’ll definitely want to use a belt sander or orbital sander.

Floor sanders 

For bigger projects and larger surfaces, a professional-grade floor sander is your best option. These large machines get the job done in no time, and they create a smooth, even surface with minimal effort – you just turn on the machine and work your way across the surface of the hardwood floor, taking slow turns. Any dust and debris will be collected in the attached bag. The downside of floor sanders is that they take up a lot of space and can be quite pricey, but if you have a lot of projects and little time, they’re the most effective option. 

If you need materials or equipment for a hardwood flooring refinishing project, feel free to browse the First Atlanta Flooring shop, and contact us if you have any questions about our products.