Attempting to re-finish old floor, sandpaper gets "gummed up"


Old 02-24-13, 07:29 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: USA
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Attempting to re-finish old floor, sandpaper gets "gummed up"

I rented an orbital sander from Menards and based on their suggestions purchased 2 packs of 36 grit, 2 of 50 grit, and 2 of 80 grit sandpaper. The room is only about 100 square feet.

The floor is old and has been covered with carpet for years. The house was built in the early 1900s.

After prepping everything and starting the sander, the sandpaper gets coated in what appears to be the old varnish/finish, rendering it useless. This happens in a matter of 30 seconds or less and at $5 per pack, not very cost efficient. The images below speak for themselves:

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As you can see, the floor is quite a mess. I've read many articles and watched many videos, but this is my first time attempting this. Nothing mentioned having to strip the old varnish off... but is that what's causing this issue? What can I do?

I've been told that the issue may be that the current floor has a wax based finish, which won't removed correctly using a sander. If this is true, would I need to buy a chemical and strip the floor prior to sanding?

Appreciate any help - especially since I'm paying by the hour to rent this thing!

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Old 02-25-13, 04:43 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
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Welcome to the forums!

I agree it might be wax, I'd try a wax stripper and then go back to sanding to see how it does.

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