How to Use an Orbital Sander for Sanding Hardwood Floors

Lead Image
  • 3-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-500
What You'll Need
Orbital floor sander
Orbital hand sander
Mineral Spirits
Floor finish and applicator

Orbital sanders provide a unique service when it comes to sanding hardwood floors. They can do a thorough job when used in the correct manner. Orbital sanders are also known as Dual-Action or D.A. sanders. Orbital sanders were first produced in the early 1990s. Almost as aggressive as belt sanders, they have the ability to produce a finer finish. Even though the orbital sander does an amazing job, remember that it takes several hours to sand a floor, which requires a severe amount of patience. You must also consider the amount of scratches and injuries on the floor, when determining how long the sanding job will take. Follow these steps and guidelines to have the perfect hardwood floor:

Step 1 - Sweep and Vacuum the Floor

It is very important to remove all obstacles that will get in your way during the sanding process. Also, you want to prevent any nails, tacks, or any other substance from damaging your Orbital sander. This is a heavy-duty piece of equipment, but you do not want to take any chances on its wear and tear.

Step 2 - Attach a Course Grit and Sandpaper to Bottom of the Orbital Sander

Lower grit numbers, bring more aggressive action to the job. Normally a 40-grit will do the job in the first sanding, and you should always follow this rule to obtain the best results.

Don't forget to put on safety glasses and a face mask before you start sanding.

Step 3 - Start at Farthest End of the Room

Always start at the farthest end of the room, since it is an excellent idea to work with the wood grain. Also by starting with the farthest end of the room, you will save time and develop a system. Once you are into this pattern, it will come as a natural instinct to work in this direction.

Step 4 - Hand Orbital Sander

By using the same level of grit paper, you can sand low spot and edges with ease by using a orbital hand sander. The smaller sander also allows you to reach spaces that your normal-sized sander can not accomplish.

Step 5 - Repeat Sweeping and Vacuuming

This action will remove debris and dust that have come as a result of your sanding job. It is important to constantly keep the area clean, and to remember the rule from Step 1 in keeping your orbital sander safe.

Step 6 - Mineral Spirits

After sweeping, pour mineral spirits on your towel and wipe the floor down. This will remove the fine layer of dust on the floor, and give it that smooth look. Also, be sure to have your gloves on at all times, since some skin can be very sensitive to chemicals.

Step 7 - Dry and Finish

After the floor dries, apply a floor finish that works best on your hardwood floor. Your local retailer can instruct you on which finish will work best. Your manufacturer will also provide tips. With these simple steps, you are well on your way to having a beautiful hardwood floor, with the assistance from your very reliable orbital sander and orbital hand sander.