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  • Question about floor finishing:

    Actually a two-parter, as I'm undertaking a sanding of old CVG fir floors in the upstairs of my Portland home, which I just bought. They have been under a shag carpet for years, and 1 room in addition had been finished, probably in the 60s, with a linoleum tile. The troweled mastic mostly scrapes off, but this combined with the existing polyurethane has wreaked havoc on the sanding disks...they load up within seconds and are useless shortly after. I'll be drum sanding (a renter from Home Depot) the bulk tomorrow and anticipate much replacing of the initial (24 grit) drum papers...any advice?
    Secondly, anyone feel free to weigh in on finishes/applications to the sanded floor, assuming I haven't shot myself first...anyone familiar with the brands they sell at HD? Any other possible fast-drying, non-stain options?
    thanks to all


  • #2
    A friend of mine used to run a floor finishing business. I gotta say, having helped him a couple times, you have a lot of hard work ahead of you!!

    For the sanding, see if you can find a mesh disk for the drum instead of paper. The mesh doesn't load up near as fast. You'll want to have the paper around for after the first pass with the mesh. Keep the machine moving at ALL times. Don't ever let it sit in one place for even a second.

    To do the edges around the walls and other places the drum won't get, there are hand power sanders that work well. Typically these have disk sanding surfaces, but it's not a classic random orbit sander. These are more industrial looking. I'd suggest going to a rental center rather than home depot to be honest.

    The key to any floor finish is to take your time, go in small sanding steps, and get ALL the dust out before floating the finish. Use a good vacuum with a fine filter. Do one area at a time, and start with a room you wouldn't mind putting carpet over as a "learning" room. Take your time, and with all that work comes a very fine floor you'll be tremendously proud of.

    This brings up the point that you'll want to use the best breathing apparatus you can find. You're going to be kicking up a lot of very fine dust, and none of it is good for your lungs!
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Justin - How old is your house and what part of Portland is it in?


      • #4
        i couldn't agree with the other poster about going to a reputable rental center for the edge sander, and i would go for the floor sander there too.

        i went to the HD for a disc sander, like you described, and the guy told me to use a regular belt sander for the edges and stairs.

        second of all, HD's equipment is beat to the bone. i had to get 2 sanders before one worked, and had a similar experience with a drywall hanger.

        thirdly, IMO the drum sanders work better for floors since you don't get the swirls. i rented an Essex Silver Line after the HD debacle and the machine was awesome. The dust removal was far superior and it made correcting my mistakes with the crappy poly and machine alot easier.

        In addition, the sealers and poly at HD are not high quality at all. if you are going to spend all this time with prep and labor, use something good. it really isn't that much more when you think of it. I used that Pro Finisher or something like that from HD, and it was marginal at best. I spent a little extra on Bonakemi from Sweden and it was well worth it. don't even think about water based finishes for wear reasons.

        here's a couple of tips: when you empty the sanding bag, make sure it is outside away from anything flamable, the dust is highly flamable.

        if you don't like the gloss finish like i do, do your 2,3,4 or whatver undercoats in gloss and the top in satin (after you sand inbetween of course) my buddy the pro taught me that and it is beautiful and durable. oh ya, and get good applicators at a reputable place and make sure to use a sealer.


        • #5
          Sanding updates...thanks to all replying here!

          Originally posted by cjh20
          Justin - How old is your house and what part of Portland is it in?
          It's in SW around Garden Home and 55th.
          I took yesterday to stripping with KleanStrip and my cabinet scraper. Talk about a pain in the ***, but I think the result will be far better, and the frustration of clogged paper mimimized. I'm glad to have heard these experiences here...great forum!
          The random orbit (4 pad) sander at HD was in pretty good condition, and the guys in the rental center were extrememly helpful, didn't charge for the machine when I told them of my experience, just the paper. Also lotsa grace period on the edger return hour...but for sure I'll want a better finish material, like Bonakemi, now that someone has mentioned it...