Prepping small area of new flooring


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Old 03-15-15, 09:33 AM
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Prepping small area of new flooring

Just finished installing a whopping 16 sq ft of 3/4" solid red oak flooring onto our stair landing.

As expected, some boards are "taller" than others, I assume this is common. So I want to sand them all down as close to flush as I can before staining and poly-ing.

Its a pretty small area....would an everyday belt sander do the job?

If not, is my best bet to rent a flooring edge sander and just use it to do the whole area?

Thanks in advance.

-Chris
 
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Old 03-15-15, 11:22 AM
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A belt sander can remove a lot of material in a short amount of time. Can you post some pics?
 
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Old 03-15-15, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for the info....pics are here..................

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Last edited by PJmax; 03-15-15 at 12:21 PM. Reason: reoriented pictures
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Old 03-15-15, 12:16 PM
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Looks like too little for a belt sander to me - I'd be thinking random orbital sander until the transitions between boards seemed smooth.
 
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Old 03-15-15, 12:16 PM
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As expected, some boards are "taller" than others
Curious why you would state that?

Were the boards pre-finished? - Sometimes it is difficult to make stain take once somthing is already stained and you will never duplicate the hardness of the aluminum oxide finish.

Bought on close out? - If a close out special, I think you found out why.

Engineered or solid wood? - Engineered has a small wear layer that you may penetrate if you sand too much. See also point one above. Best to test any and all theories on scrap first.

Oak is also a relatively hard wood. A belt sander will make quick work of some of the main sanding, but you will have to really work with a orbital sander to get it smooth again. Always sand in the direction of the grain.

Personally, you will be the only one to notice the small differences. Why not let it slide and see if it annoys the heck out of you a month from now when the OCD has subsided.
 
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Old 03-15-15, 12:19 PM
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I think Z gave better advice here than I did, I'd go with his suggestions.
 
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Old 03-15-15, 12:31 PM
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One last thought, if you installed the flooring parallel to the landing's floor joist system, it is natural to see these dips as the flooring settles between the floor joists. This is a main reason you install hardwood flooring perpendicular to the floor joists system.
 
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Old 03-15-15, 12:41 PM
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Thanks for the replies!

You are right...its more OCD. Ive always preferred floors that are nice and flat. With socks on you cant really feel the differences in the boards, but *I know* its there.

These werent closeout boards, but they were from Home Depot so they might as well have been! A bunch of the bundle were pretty useless (really cupped, warped and bowed, missing chunks of tongue, etc) but I managed. Solid, unfinished, 3/4" thick red oak. BLC Hardwoods is the provider.

As far as parallel/perpendicular...I built the landing as a box and with blocking there is basically no spot in the box that has a space more than 16" without a 2x4 supporting it. I figured at that point it wouldnt matter which way I installed the boards. Maybe I was wrong, but it would be nice to get things at least close to each other.

To be honest the only real gap that bothers me is in the 3rd pic....the far left of the pic is the stair nosing piece, and the biggest gap is where it meets the first floor board. If I can knock that down, Id be happy.

As an aside - how were the pics re-oriented? Was it something I could do when I posted or are the pics actually reoriented and then re-saved?

Thanks.

-Chris
 
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Old 03-15-15, 01:52 PM
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The pics error is on your end. If you are working off a tablet is the most often time we see this. I usually email pictures to myself, open up in whatever photo editor I have and it opens in the orientation that it will post. I rotate and re-save the photo and it comes up correctly when uploaded.
 
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Old 03-15-15, 02:30 PM
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Yeah Ive seen the image thing before too (coming off my cellphone)

Was just curious if there was a way built into the forum s/w itself to have it display the pic rotated, vs saving new files with correct rotation

So back to the "real" issue ... if I tried a random orbit sander just to knock down the high spots, would that cause issues for finishing? Ive seen it mentioned a few times that the round orbits made by it might be obvious once stained (especially dark, which is of course what Ill be doing!). But then some people say its not true.

Pretty sure I need to sand it a little anyway before finishing...at least thats what I did on our stair treads. Without an initial sanding, the stain didnt seem to sink into the wood as well as it did once I sanded them. They were also unfinished red oak to start.
 
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Old 03-15-15, 02:34 PM
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Sometimes sanding allows stain to penetrate better but the finer the grit you use, the less the stain will penetrate (and the lighter the color will be).
 
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Old 03-16-15, 04:53 AM
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Am I seeing correctly - the hardwood doesn't currently have any finish ??

IMO an edger works best for sanding small areas. It's a circular sander with a plate that holds the paper level, the final sanding would be with an orbital sander. Basically you want to sand everything level then sand the entire floor with a finer grit making the wood's surface even [not just flat] so the entire floor will take the stain evenly.

A belt sander can work but it is very difficult to control it for an even sand job!
 
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Old 03-16-15, 05:43 AM
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You are correct....it is unfinished, solid red oak, 3/4" thick. I didnt strip it down to no finish, it was purchased unfinished (on purpose, so I could use the same stain that was used for our stair treads)

Kind of what I was thinking...rent an edger and get some paper. Just looking at it, any suggestions on how much? I was figuring 2 pads of each, like a 36 to start, then maybe 80?

Then finish off using my ROS at 100 and/or 120

Thanks.

-Chris
 
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Old 03-16-15, 06:25 AM
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Sounds like a plan you might not need the 36 grit although I am unsure of just how much material you need to remove - a little hard to tell from pics.
 
 

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