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How to Refinish a Wood Floor Using Rented Sanders
Even do-it-yourselfers, who refinish a hardwood floor for the first time, can achieve professional results by using the proper rental equipment and following these steps. Keep in mind, that these instructions are general in nature and that you should follow the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer of the sander.
Safety Tips:
  • Read all manufacturer’s warnings and instructions for using the rented floor sander or edger before beginning the project.
  • Read all warnings and instructions on packaging of solvents, stains and finishes before using them.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hearing protection, safety glasses, dust masks and gloves.
  • Connect rented floor sander or edger to a grounded outlet.
  • Keep power cable out of water and away from wet surfaces.
  • Do not use extension cords with rented floor sander or edger.
  • Unplug floor sander when changing abrasives or vacuum bags.
  • Only use sanders, cleaning solvents and finishes in a well-ventilated area.
  1. See Floor Sander Rental Options to determine which floor sanders you need.
  2. Call your local ARA-affiliated rental store to reserve a floor sander, a floor edger and a floor buffer. Ask if the rental store carries the abrasives, dust bags, PPE, floor finishes, etc., that you will need to refinish your floor. If not, find out which abrasive sandpapers, disks or belts your rental sanders require and purchase all supplies not available at the rental store before you pick up the rental equipment.
  3. Empty the room of all furniture and wall, window and floor coverings.
  4. Inspect the floor. Set any protruding nails, remove any staples and trim splinters to avoid damaging the sandpaper or rented floor sanders.
  5. Remove any quarter round along baseboard.
  6. Fix any floor squeaks by nailing floorboard into the floor joist and then setting the nails.
  7. Cover door openings and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) registers with plastic to control and contain dust.
  8. Vacuum floor.
  9. Pick up your floor sander and floor edger rentals from your local ARA-affiliated rental store. You also may purchase needed sandpaper, belts, disks, dust bags, PPE, floor finishes, etc., available from the rental store.
Sanding and edging the hardwood floor
  • Begin sanding the wood floor in an inconspicuous area, such as a closet, to become familiar with how the rented floor sander operates.
  • Sand in the direction of the wood grain.
  • Begin sanding by easing the floor sander onto the floor.
  • Keep the rented floor sander moving; avoid stopping in one spot too long to prevent the floor sander from digging into the hardwood.
  • Vary the stopping area of the floor sander to prevent creating a straight line.
  • Change sandpaper after 10 to 20 minutes of use. Less drag and torque on the rented floor sander indicates a dull paper, screen or buff pad.
  1. Choose the correct sandpaper for the task you plan to perform. See Choosing Sandpaper for Your Floor Sander Rental.
  2. Make sure to attach sandpaper to the rented floor sander properly.
  3. With your most coarse sandpaper attached to the rented floor sander, sand as much of the floor as possible by moving the sander forward, then backward down the length of the floorboard before starting a new pass to create rows that overlap. Repeat the sanding using each of the remaining sandpaper grits from coarser to finer, making sure to remove any abrasive grains by vacuuming the entire floor before switching sandpaper grits. If a course grain sticks on a fine paper, it may make deeper scratches.
  4. Using the rented floor edger with the same sequence of sandpaper grits used with the rented floor sander, sand the areas along the wall that you did not reach previously.
  5. Lightly sand by hand any small or tight areas missed by the rented floor sanders. See Sanding by Hand.
  6. Screen or lightly sand the floor using a rented floor buffer to produce a smooth finish.
Finishing the hardwood floor
  1. After all sanding is complete, vacuum floor thoroughly and use tack cloth to remove any remaining sanding particles.
  2. Apply stain and finish according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use rented floor buffer between first and second coats of finish.
  3. Make sure finish is completely dried and cured before returning furniture.
Tip: Attach felt or material pads to the bottom of furniture legs to protect your refinished floors.
Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your floor sanding and refinishing needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.

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