Floor refinish -- square buff or drum?

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Old 02-25-16, 06:55 AM
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Floor refinish -- square buff or drum?

Hi all,
Doing about a 300 sqft bedroom this weekend. 2" red oak flooring, pretty good condition other than a couple severe wear spots in the finish. But no gouges or stains. Room was just remodeled so this is a target of opportunity while everything is out.

Have some experience refinishing -- did a great room / kitchen about 5 years ago. Wide plank red oak with bevel. Half new, half old and it turned out great. Back then we used a four puck random orbit sander. Now my local tool rental (Home Depot) doesn't carry those because apparently they caught on fire a lot. Shame because it did a great job.

So my choices are the drum/edger/buffer rental (multiple machines, multiple trips to the store, more cost) or the square buff random orbit (takes a lot longer?).

Google search shows pro finishers talking about how awful the square buff machine is and how only pros can fix the problems it leaves (I'm sure they are biased) and then information from the manufacturers and tool rental places talking about how great they are (also biased).

Didn't see much on this topic here either.

Any thoughts one way or another? Never used the drum before and don't want to mess things up.

Thanks,
Anthony
 
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Old 02-25-16, 07:08 AM
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While I occasionally finish floors I've only sanded down to bare wood a few times. Drum sanders do the best job but only if the operator is skillful, it's too easy to sand dips in the floor I've never used the square floor sanders but can't see a downside other than it being slower.

Are you intending to sand it completely down to refinish or do you just need to spruce it up?
 
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Old 02-25-16, 07:46 AM
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Sanding to bare wood. Was site finished and worn down so not the super hard and thick finish on newer floors

Problems I've seen all seem to be letting the paper go too long, not cleaning between sandings, or moving the machine too fast.

I will probably start in the walk in closet and if things go sideways I can change tools.

Thanks.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 08:19 AM
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You always need to make the machine and sandpaper do the work. Pressing down harder or going to long before changing out the sandpaper never helps. You'll also need to sand lightly between coats of poly and always remove the sanding dust prior to applying stain or poly.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 09:20 AM
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I'm doing a tung oil finish (Waterlox). It worked great last time and is very easy to repair (just clean and recoat, no need to sand the room again). It also shows off grain better than poly since it doesn't really form a hard film and gets down into the fibers.

The downside is that it is a full day between coats and it stinks to high heaven while the carriers flash off.

But no sanding between coats required unless the first coat exposed a problem.


Follow up question:
I'm planning on ~40 grit, ~80 grit, and then 120 (not sure on levels yet, have to see what the rental place has).

What kind of square footage per pad can I expect? That information also seems to be hard to find.

Thanks.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 10:19 AM
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It's hard to find that info because no 2 sanding jobs are the same but you'll catch on quick as to how far each pad will go on your floor.
 
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Old 02-28-16, 03:21 PM
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Well I ended up going with the drum first for 36 grit. It did the removal in no time. Pretty easy to use. Repeated with 80 grit and no problems. The one I rented had a handle to drop the drum and that made feathering in very easy.

Going to get the square buff tomorrow to repeat the 80 grit and eliminate some transition marks. Then one more pass with 120 on the random orbit square buff and I'm ready to finish.
 
 

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