The Nitty-gritty of Sandpaper

So at this point you have all your rental tools ready to go, now you need to decide which grit to start with, and which to end with. Well this can be a little tricky. You never want to use too aggressive of a grit.

Wood Species Will Determine Sandpaper Grit

The kind of wood you are refinishing also will determine what grit you will start with. If you know what your taking off the floor helps, and the period when your home was first built can also tell you a lot. For this floor fact we will keep this simple. So let’s say your house was built in 1985, and the wood species is Red Oak. The wood appears to be a natural color, so it’s most likely an oil-based polyurethane. My choice to start with would be a 40 grit, and finish with an 80 grit if you were doing a natural finish.

Match Your Grit Per Sanding Tool

If you have rented a belt sander (not a drum sander) these sanders are state-of-the-art and do the best for wood floors. Your first cut would be with 40 grit, after the body of the floor is sanded, you would match the grit on the edger. Now comes your second cut (rule of thumb - you can’t skip more than 1 grit), so your next cut will be with 60 grit, then follow behind with the edger. Then your last cut would be with 80 grit. From here you can decide if you want it to be smoother. If so, there are many other fine sanding tools you can rent from your local flooring rental store. Once you’ve completed all your steps, you are ready for finishing.

Check back for my Floor Fact #9 about preparing for stain. Thanks!

~ Floorman