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What is a Hardwood Floor Sander?

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  • Written By: R. Anacan
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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A hardwood floor sander is a powered tool that is used to sand down and smooth out the surface of a hardwood floor. A hardwood floor sander is typically used to prepare a wood floor for resurfacing or refinishing. It is important to remove any layers of finish that may have been previously applied to the floor and for the wood to be as smooth and even as possible before the application of stains, lacquers, varnishes and finishes. This allows the wood to absorb applied finish much more effectively and also gives the newly finished floor a smooth, even and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

There are several varieties of hardwood floor sanders that are designed for the different elements of the wood resurfacing and refinishing process. For many, the first hardwood floor sander used is known as a drum sander. The design and power of the drum sander enables the user to sand deeper with a drum sander than with other types of sanders and is generally used when the condition of the actual floor is rough, uneven, scratched and dented.

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Sandpaper is installed on a rotating drum, and the force and pressure exerted by the drum is what makes this type of sander so effective in removing almost all of the imperfections and layers of finish on a wood floor. A drum sander is usually a large machine and requires a certain amount of skill and strength to operate correctly. The power of the drum sander also makes it critically important that it be kept moving at all times when in use, as it can cause damage to the wood if left in one spot for an extended period of time.

After a drum sander has been used, the next type of sander typically used is a vibrating sander. A vibrating hardwood floor sander is often used to smooth out any imperfections or unevenness caused by the use of a drum sander. Sandpaper is attached to a vibrating pad which moves back and forth. A vibrating sander is also used when the physical condition of the floor is good and sanding is only required to remove previous layers of finish.

To sand the edges and corners of a wood floor an edge sander is typically used. The edge sander is a smaller hand held tool that enables the user to reach areas not able to be accessed with a larger floor sander. An edge sander utilizes an orbital motion, meaning the sandpaper is attached to a head that moves in a circular motion. Although the edge hardwood floor sander is a smaller tool, it is a powerful one and can cause damage to the wood if not used properly.

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