If you are sanding hardwood floors, a drum sander is an excellent tool to do the job. A drum sander is a large power tool with detachable sanding belts that will finish wood using abrasion. The abrasive sheets can be quickly replaced. You may want to rent a drum sander as they are expensive to buy. They can usually be hired for around $40 a day.
Step 1 - Check and Clean Your Floor
Before you begin sanding you should check your floors over for any protruding nails or objects that might damage the sanding belt. You should remove or hammer down any nails or tacks or remove them completely with pliers. Any nails must be hammered below the level of the floorboards. You should also make sure that there are no loose floorboards. If there are, then secure them with a hammer and nails. You should then sweep your floor clear of any dirt and debris.
Step 2 - Choose Your Sanding Belt
If your floor is in reasonably good condition you may only need to use sandpaper with a fine grade abrasive at around 120 grits. For a floor that requires more sanding you should use a lower grit sandpaper of between 40 and 80 grits.
Step 3 - Prepare for Sanding
Open all the windows in your room make sure that it is well ventilated. You should also seal around the door to prevent any dust from spreading into the rest of the house. Put on your eye goggles, mask and ear defenders and make sure you are wearing old clothes as sanding a wooden floor is messy. If you are sanding the floor using the diagonal method skip Step 5. If you are sanding along the lengths of the floorboards continue to skip Step 4.
Step 4 - Sanding the Floor (Diagonal Method)
If you are sanding the floor diagonally you should start in one corner. Tilt the drum sander before you switch it on so that the abrasive belt isn't in contact with the floor. Sand directly to the wall opposite and tilt the sander when you get to the wall before turning 180 degrees. Continue in this manner until the room has been sanded. Each time you reach the wall, tilt the sander to avoid the belt damaging the floor.
When you have finished you will need to begin sanding again in the adjacent corner to the one you started in to ensure that the whole floor has been fully sanded. You can complete any missed areas with a small sander. Continue to step 6.
Step 5 - Sanding the Floor (Along the Lengths of the Floorboards)
Tilt the drum sander before you switch it on so that the abrasive belt isn't in contact with the floor. Lower the sander and sand along the length of each floorboard from one wall to the opposite end of the room. When you reach the wall tilt the sander up to avoid damaging the floor. Follow this process sanding each floorboard. Use a small sander to complete any missed areas.
Step 6 - Clearing
When you have finished sanding, sweep the floor to remove any dust and vacuum using a soft bristle attachment.