How To Use A Floor Sander – Useful Tips And Information

You have probably been into a new area and bought a new house but you just don’t like the floor. A house renovation is a good way to make a house your warm home.

You can either get someone to work on the floors or you can decide to do it yourself. You can simply spruce up your space by sanding it. This requires that you know how to use a floor sander.

It is not as tedious as it sounds. It's easy and you might even have some fun sanding your floors.

Wood floor sanding

Below here, we have everything you need to know about how to use a floor sander.

What Is A Floor Sander? Know It Here

A floor sander is a powerful tool used to smooth surfaces by abrasion with sandpaper. A sander is usually attached to the sandpaper and it has a mechanism to move it within a house with either a means to hand- hold it or attach it to a workbench.

A sander is usually attached to the sandpaper

Floor sanding is, therefore, the process of removing top surfaces of a wooden floor by sanding it with abrasive material. Different types of floor materials can be sanded. These include timber, particleboard, cork and in some instances parquet.

corner sander

Woodworking sanders are mostly powered electrically while those that are used in auto- body repair works are compressed by air. There are different types of sanders of different functions.

electric sander

Woodworking sanders include belt sander, flap sander, disc sander and detail sander among others. It is important to find somebody who knows how to use a floor sander if you want the best results for your floor.

belt sander

How To Use A Floor Sander: The Guidelines

A floor sander is simple to use. You do not need to get a professional to sand your floors. This is something you can simply do. Below are some tips on how to use a floor sander.

Prepare The Room

Your floor’s condition will determine the direction in which you carry out the sanding. If for instance, the floor is uneven or it is covered by the thick coating of varnish or paint, it is advisable to start across the grain. If on the other hand, the floor is reasonably flat, it is possible to use the sander down and up the board’s grain.

wood floor sanding

Sand at 45 degrees because sanding from a right angle is likely to damage the board. Cross the room in one particular direction and then the other before finishing along the grain. As you progress, reduce the coarseness of the sandpaper and make sure you finish up with the finest grade.

Protect Your Home And Yourself

Sanding is noisy, messy and very dusty. Always wear protective clothing including a respiratory mask and ear protectors.

Cover and mask around doors to prevent dust from being spread all over the house. Ensure that you work in a well-ventilated room by opening all the windows.

Sanders Required – The Types

You will need three sanders; a heavy duty drum sander, a heavy duty edging sander and a corner sander.

drum sander floor

Each of these sanders requires sandpaper that comes in particular shapes which can be found at the rental store. The sandpaper is a bit expensive so it is important to ensure that it is well fitted so that it does not tear.

drum sander

It is also important to ensure that nails do not protrude from the floor. If there are any loose floorboards or protruding screws or nails, drive them below the surface. It is important to ensure that all the nail heads are beneath the surface of the floor.

corner sander

Always unplug the sander before you change the paper and allow it some time to cool off if there any parts that got heated while using it.

Drum Sander

The drum sander is the main machine used to sand most parts of the floor. It is operated from a standing position. The drum sander should not get too close to the walls; to sand the perimeter of your room you will need to use the edger.

drum sander

The Edger

The edger is a 7 diameter rotating abrasive disc that you should operate from a kneeling position or a bent- over position. It is used to sand the edges of the room as well as areas that are too shallow to use the drum on.

edger sander

Both the drum sander and the edger are powerful machines that are able to remove a similar depth of wood using similar grit. They, however, differ in size with the drum sander being way bigger than the edger.

floor sanding edger

Drum Sander Sanding Patterns: How To Use A Floor Sander

As you learn how to use a floor sander, it is important to know that the drum sander and the edger use different sanding patterns.

floor sanding drum

Drum sanders are designed to cut a divot into the wood of the floor that is 8 inches wide by ½ inches long. It looks like a cross between a lawn mower and a vacuum. You, however, cannot move it across a floor in a mowing or vacuuming pattern.

Provided the drum sander moves across the floor, the cutting area leaves an even nice swath of smooth floor. However, if you stop for a single moment, it will leave a deep trench known as a stop mark on the surface of the floor.

This essentially means that you can only sand in a straight line either moving forward or backward. You cannot turn or change direction while using the drum sander. It is advisable as you learn how to use a sander, to sand the first half of your room first to minimize on the turns you would have to make.

wood floor sanding drum

The Edger Sanding Patterns: How To Use A Floor Sander

The edger runs clockwise. It is advisable to start from the central area or the field of the floor and carefully move towards the wall so that you are sure to blend the sanded area with the drum sander into the area you sand with the edger.

Sand one to two feet at a single time and always keep the edger moving forth ad back in a Z pattern, each time moving closer to the wall.

Overlap and blend a news section with each section you complete. It is important to mark the perimeter of the room using pencil marks so that you are able to track the progress you are making and also ensure that you have sanded every bit of the floor.

How To Use A Floor Sander - Operating The Drum Sander

The following simple, easy to follow steps will help you gain more knowledge on how to use a floor sander. Very soon, you will be an expert.


Install the sandpaper over the drum sander, ensuring that it fits properly. Close the access door and tie the dust around the exhaust pipe.

Install the sandpaper over the drum sander


Connect the machine to a well grounded fused circuit; 20- amp circuits will work just fine.


Roll the machine to your starting point i.e. it should be parallel to the floorboards, the wall ought to be on your left and in between the back and front wall.

Ensure that the control lever is ‘up’ and that the drum sander is not touching the floor. Turn the selector switch to (S), the start position and allow it to go to the ® run position.


Feather cut - Start moving the sander forward concurrently easing sanding drum onto the surface of the floor using the control lever.


Once the drum is completely engaged with the floor surface, release the control lever and adjust your pace for sufficient stock removal. Keep your pace steady to prevent marks from occurring on the floor.


Always move the machine in the way of the grain and sand the surface at a constant pace.


Steadily feather cut-out at the end of the pass by easing the drum sander using the control lever. Sway the termination points to have a good blend when edging.


Press the selector (O) to switch off the position and instantly disconnect the machine from the power supply when replacing the sandpaper, emptying the dust bag or once you are through with sanding.


Empty the dust bag once it is 1/3 full. Sanding dust can ignite and cause an explosion or a fire; it is, therefore, important to empty the dust into a plastic bag, seal it tightly and store it away from buildings.

Make sure not to include stain or rags that are soaked in the solvent in the sanding dust bag.

How To Use A Floor Sander - Operating The Edger


Install the abrasive; turn it (the machine) upside down. Behind the motor, there is a special haul in the bracket. Use the wrench to remove the washer and the screw from the center of the sanding pad.

Ensure the maroon pad and the sanding discs are centered over the sanding pad. Place the washer and the holding screw back into position and use the wrench to turn the screws clockwise and make sure they are tight.


Add the dust bag at the end of the exhaust pipe.


Move the machine to your working location.


Connect the extension cord to the power cord on the machine.


Place the variable speed switch in ‘hi’ position. The high-speed mode is for swift removal of wood. For custom work and finish cuts, operate the machine on the low speed.


Connect the remaining end of your extension to the power supply. Do not the leave the machine unattended when it is plugged in.


Tilt the edger back to ensure that the sandpaper disc does not touch the floor.


Put the off/on switch in the ‘on’ position.


Keep the machine moving as you the sandpaper disc onto the surface of the floor but do not press down on the machine.


Once the dust bag is 1/3 full, remove it and empty. You can also empty the dust bag once the efficiency of the dust control system declines.

Benefits Of Using A Floor Sander

It is important to know how to use a floor sander because at one particular point you might need to because of the amazing benefits it offers:

One of the benefits of using a floor sander is that your floor gets a smoother and newer appearance. This coupled with proper lighting improves the ambiance in your room.

your floor gets a smoother and newer appearance

A floor sander evens out the floor making it easier to varnish it. The floor becomes easier to clean and it stays cleaner for longer.

Varnish floor after sander

You can comfortably set the furniture as well as other accessories safely within the room because your floor safety is improved. The floor’s resistance to movement is reduced.

Any asthmatic person can therefore comfortably stay in the room.

It is not only easier to clean the floor, but dust accumulation is rare because the floor is even and level.

Any asthmatic person can therefore comfortably stay in the room.

easier to clean the floor

Mistakes While Using A Floor Sander

If you just learned how to use a floor sander and are using it for the first time, you are bound to make mistakes.

The most common mistake many people make is opting for the cheaper low-quality sander. Be informed that this will not be gentle to your floor.

Most people are not sure what to expect and thus may try to get everything done in haste. It is, therefore, inevitable that your floor will be marred. This is however not to say that you should sand only once. You need to sand repeatedly and also use a finer grit as you finish up.

sand repeatedly

It is important to be careful on the kind of grit that you use. Using grit that is too fine can make it hard to varnish your floors. Also, make sure that all areas of the floor have a uniform appearance; otherwise it might be some form of a picture frame.

the kind of grit that you use

The most important thing to always keep in mind is that you cannot stop the drum while sanding, otherwise you will have a floor full or marks and ridges.

Once you are through sanding your floor, sweep and vacuum to remove any debris and wipe it using a damp sponge. Apply your favorite varnish and leave it to dry. The good thing about having wooden floors is that you can always play around with different types of varnish after sanding the floors.

wooden floor varnish

It is important to have knowledge on how to use a floor sander; one day you just might decide your house needs to have a new look.Sanding your floor not only adds some aesthetic to the room but makes it easier to clean and gives it a fresh look.

David Deen

I am David Deen. I love spaces and home improvement is my passion. To me, every space in your home needs attention and manipulation. To unleash my creativity, I take ideas from many home improvement blogs. The step-by-step instructions explained by experts allows me to live my dreams.

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