By: TFSP On: March 22, 2024 In: Article Comments: 0

You’ve got those old, worn floors staring up at you daily. Sure, they’ve seen better days, but they could look fabulous again with a little work. 

Floor sanding might sound daunting, but with the right tips and techniques, you can transform your floors and make your home shine. 

This guide will provide the ultimate floor sanding Melbourne tips, from choosing sandpaper grits to applying the perfect finish. Prepare to roll up your sleeves and transform your floors from drab to fab! 

What is Floor Sanding?

Floor sanding is the process of removing the top layer of a wooden floor using abrasive materials, such as sandpaper or sanding machines, to achieve a smooth and even surface. 

It helps to eliminate imperfections, scratches, stains, and unevenness in the wood, restoring its natural beauty. Floor sanding is often a precursor to refinishing or sealing the floor to protect it and enhance its appearance.

Why Sand Your Floors?

There are a few reasons you may want to sand your wood floors:

  • They’re looking dull or scratched. Sanding removes the top layer of wood, buffing out imperfections and breathing new life into tired floors.
  • You want to change the stain or sealant. Sanding strips the floor bare so you can apply a new color or switch from lacquer to oil-based polyurethane.
  • Uneven patches or water damage need fixing. Sanding levels the floor surface so repairs blend in seamlessly.
  • You’re going for a rustic, distressed look. Lightly sanding wood floors in strategic areas can give them a charming weathered appearance.

How Does Floor Sanding Work?

Floor sanding is a multi-step process that requires patience and the right tools. 

You’ll need an electric sander, sanding pads of varying grits (80 to 220), a shop vacuum, and eye and ear protection.

Start with a rough, open-grit sandpaper (around 80 grit) to quickly strip away the existing finish. Then proceed to progressively finer grits (120, 150, 180) to smooth the wood surface. 

Finish with a very fine grit (220) for a buttery smooth result. Vacuum away dust thoroughly between grits. It does create a mess, so seal off doors and vents and return beforehand. 

Work systematically across the floor using even pressure and multiple passes. Once done, your floors will be ready for a fresh coat of protection and left utterly transformed!

How to Do Floor Sanding?

Floor sanding is a meticulous process involving specialised equipment such as floor sanders and edgers to remove old finishes and imperfections from wooden floors. 

Experienced floor sanding Melbourne typically begins with coarse sandpaper grits to level the surface, followed by progressively finer grits for a smoother finish, culminating in applying a sealant or finish for protection and aesthetics.

  • Gather the Right Tools

You’ll need a few essential tools: a floor sander, sandpaper in progressively finer grits, a shop vacuum, tack cloths, and a dust mask. 

Trust me, you’ll thank me later for that last one. Floor sanding kicks up a ton of dust, so protection is key.

  • Start with Coarse Sandpaper

Attach some rough 60 or 80-grit sandpaper to your floor sander and go over the entire floor with the wood. 

This removes the old finish and evens out the surface. Vacuum and wipe away dust with a tack cloth as you go.

  • Work Your Way to Finer Grits

Swap out the coarse sandpaper for progressively finer grits – 100, 120, and 150. 

Go over the floor with each, vacuuming and wiping in between. This smoothes the wood and provides a “tooth” for the new finish to adhere to.

  • Finish Up with a Final Sanding

For the final sanding, use ultra-fine 180 or 220-grit sandpaper. 

Wipe away every speck of dust and your floor will be glassy smooth, ready for a new coat of polyurethane or wood floor finish.

  • Apply the Finish

Follow the directions on your chosen finish and apply 2-3 coats, waiting for each coat to dry in between.

 Once the final coat is dry, you can move furniture back into place and enjoy your new fabulous floors!

With some elbow grease and patience, you’ll transform your tired hardwood floors into a surface you’re proud to walk all over. 

The results will be worth every minute spent sanding, dusting, and wiping. 

With shiny, smooth floors as the foundation, your space will feel open, clean, and fresh.

Preparing for a Floor Sanding Project

Before embarking on a floor sanding project, ensure the area is free of debris and properly ventilated. 

Additionally, gather all necessary equipment and familiarise yourself with the sanding process to achieve professional-quality results.

  • Gather Your Supplies

Before starting a floor sanding project, you’ll want to get your supplies in order. Pick up sandpaper in a range of grits from rough to fine, as well as a sanding block or electric sander to speed up the work. 

You’ll also need wood filler to patch holes or imperfections, tack cloths to wipe away dust, primer and paint or stain, and sealant to protect the final finish.

  • Clear the Area

Move all furniture and accessories out of the room since floor sanding creates a lot of dust. 

Pull up any carpeting or floor mats. Fill any cracks, holes or imperfections in the wood with wood filler and let it dry as directed.

  • Choose Your Grits

Start with a lower grit, like 80, to quickly sand away the current finish and smooth the floor. Then progress to higher grits like 120, 150 and 220 to refine the floor before finishing. 

You’ll want to end with at least 220 grit for a smooth final finish for most floors. Change the sandpaper often to keep the sanding even.

  • Consider Renting a Sander

While sanding blocks and palm sanders can work for small floors, renting an orbital sander or floor sanding machine can speed up the work for larger floors. 

These sanders come in various grits, so you can efficiently progress from rough to fine. They take some practice to master, so go slowly until you get the hang of it.

  • Wipe Away Dust Frequently

Use a tack cloth, dusting brush or vacuum frequently to wipe away dust as you sand. 

If left to build up, the dust can scratch the floor. Wipe in the direction of the grain, using a clean section of the cloth with each wipe.

Preparing properly before starting your floor sanding project will ensure professional results. 

Take time to gather supplies, clear the space, choose your grits, and consider renting tools to speed up the work. 

Frequently wiping away dust will prevent imperfections as you sand. 

With some elbow grease, you’ll have your floors smooth and ready for a flawless finish in no time!

Choosing the Right Floor Sander and Sandpaper Grit

The key to achieving gorgeous floors is using the proper equipment and abrasives for your floor type and project. 

You’ll want to rent an electric floor sander, edger, and orbital palm sander for DIY floor sanding.

  • Floor Sander

Rent a drum or belt floor sander for large, open areas. Drum sanders are easier to operate, but belt sanders cut faster. 

Start with a coarser 60-80 grit to quickly level the floor, then switch to progressively finer grits (100, 120, 150) to smooth the surface. Always sand in the direction of the grain using overlapping passes.

  • Edger

Use an edger to sand tight areas along baseboards and corners where the floor sander can’t reach. 

Attach the same grit sandpaper as the floor sander. Hold the edger at a 45-degree angle as you work. Make multiple light passes instead of applying heavy pressure.

  • Palm Sander

A palm sander or orbital sander is ideal for sanding stairs and sanding between coats of finish. 

Equip it with 150-220 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. Work slowly using small circular motions, keeping the sander flat against the floor.

  • Sandpaper Grit

Use progressively finer grits of sandpaper (lower numbers mean coarser grit) to refine the floor’s surface slowly. 

Start with a coarser grit to quickly level the floor, then switch to medium and fine grits to smooth and polish the wood. 

For most floors, you’ll use 60-80 grit to start, then 100-120 grit, and finish with 150-220 grit for a smooth surface ready for staining or sealing.

Using the proper equipment and sandpaper for each project stage, you’ll get professional results sanding, smoothing and polishing your wood floors. 

Take your time and be meticulous—your efforts will show in the final fabulous finish!

Floor Sanding Techniques for a Smooth Finish

Sanding your floors is the most important step to achieving a smooth, polished finish. The key is to go slowly and be thorough. Start with a coarser sandpaper grit and work to progressively finer grits.

  • First Pass: 40 to 60 Grit

For the first pass, use 40 to 60 grit sandpaper. Attach the sandpaper to your floor sander or sanding block and move it along the wood grain using even, overlapping strokes. 

Go over the entire floor with the coarse grit to rough up the surface and provide a “tooth” for the finer grits to adhere to. Vacuum away dust with a shop vac as you go.

  • Second Pass: 80 to 120 Grit

For the second pass, switch to 80 to 120-grit sandpaper. Repeat the same technique, moving slowly over the entire floor with even, overlapping strokes along the grain. 

The medium grit will smooth the surface further in preparation for the final sanding. Vacuum away the dust before moving on.

  • Final Pass: 150 Grit or Finer

For the final sanding pass, use 150 grit or even finer sandpaper, around 180 to 220 grit. Move the sander slowly and carefully over the floor using light, even pressure. 

The fine grit will polish the floor and provide an ultra-smooth surface for your finish to adhere to. When you’re done, vacuum thoroughly.

  • Extra Tips
  • Consider renting a drum sander, belt sander, and edger to tackle large floors. For small areas, a sanding block or pad works well.
    •Always sand in the direction of the grain. Never use circular motions.
    •Vacuum in between each pass using a shop vac to remove dust.
    •Wipe the floor with a tack cloth before applying your final finish.
    •Consider sanding the floor at an angle for the final pass. This provides slight scratches for the finish to grip onto.

With some patience and the proper technique, you’ll have sanded floors smooth as glass in no time. The effort will be worth it once you apply your finish and see your floors transformed.

Applying Stain and Finish to Your Sanded Floors

After all your hard work sanding your floors, it’s time for the fun part—staining and finishing! 

Adding colour and protection to your floors will make them gorgeous and durable. The key is to take your time and be meticulous with each coat.

First, thoroughly vacuum and tack cloth your floors to remove all dust. Then apply a wood conditioner or sealer, especially for softwoods like pine. 

This will help the wood absorb the stain evenly. Once dry, you’re ready for the stain.

  • Choosing a Stain

Select a stain that will give you the shade you want, from light maple to dark walnut. 

Oil-based stains produce richer colour, while water-based stains raise the grain less and have fewer fumes. 

Apply at least two coats of stain for the most even colour, waiting 24 hours between coats.

  • Topcoat Time

After the stain is dry, you’ll need to protect the floors with two to three coats of finish, like polyurethane. 

For high-traffic areas, use a floor finish with aluminium oxide for added durability. As with the stain, wait at least 24 hours between coats.

  • Applying the Finish

Apply the finish with a brush, using smooth, even strokes. Start at one corner of the room and work out the door. 

Once the entire floor is coated, use a roller to even out any puddles or drips before the finish starts to set. After 4 to 6 hours, you can walk on the floors in stocking feet, but avoid shoes for 24 to 48 hours.

With time and patience, you’ll have gorgeous floors that look professionally done. Take pride in your work—your sanded, stained, and finished floors will transform your home in a beautiful and long-lasting way.

Does Dustless Floor Sanding Work?

Floor sanding can be a messy job, kicking up clouds of fine wood dust that get into every nook and cranny in your home. 

Newer dustless floor sanding equipment uses advanced filter systems to trap nearly all the wood dust before it becomes airborne. 

But does dustless floor sanding really work?

  • Vacuum power

The secret behind dustless floor sanding is powerful built-in vacuums that suck up wood dust as soon as the sanding pads create it. 

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters capture 99.97% of particles, including wood dust. 

The vacuums are so powerful that they create an airtight seal between the sander and the floor. This means virtually no dust escapes into the air.

  • Multiple Filters

In addition to HEPA filters, dustless sanders use cyclonic pre-filters to remove larger particles before they clog the HEPA filters. 

Secondary filters provide additional filtration to maximise dust capture. The result is clean air to breathe freely without a dust mask, even enclosed.

  • Not Completely Dust-Free

While dustless floor sanding equipment does an incredible job of containing wood dust, some fine particles may still escape into the air. 

Sealing off doorways with plastic sheeting and running an air purifier to capture any stray dust is a good idea. When you’re done sanding, you should also wipe down or vacuum walls, trim, and other surfaces to remove any dust that settles out of the air.

  • Worth the Investment

Dustless floor sanding equipment is more expensive than traditional floor sanders, often costing 50-100% more. However, the benefits to your health, home, and sanity make dustless sanders worth the investment for most DIYers and professionals. 

You’ll save time by not having to clean up wood dust and avoid potential damage to electronics, HVAC systems, and other components in the space you’re working in. For many, the higher upfront cost is a small price to pay for a dust-free floor sanding experience.

So, in brief, while no floor sander can eliminate 100% of wood dust, dustless floor sanding equipment comes very close. 

When used properly with adequate ventilation and cleanup, dustless floor sanders can produce floors that are nearly dust-free. For most people, the advanced filtration and containment these tools provide make them the best option for a floor sanding project.

How Much Does it Cost for Sanding Floors?

Sanding and refinishing hardwood floors can give your home a new look, but how much will it set you back? 

The cost to sand and refinish floors depends on several factors, including the square footage of your floors, the number of coats of finish you want applied, and any repairs needed. 

You can expect to pay between $2 to $6 per square foot for sanding and refinishing hardwood floors. For a typical-sized living room of 330 square feet, you’re looking at $660 to $1,980 for sanding and refinishing. 

Having extra rooms sanded simultaneously can help lower the total cost. Many contractors will charge less per square foot for sanding multiple rooms. They can do it more efficiently since they’re already set up.

The number of coats of polyurethane or lacquer finish you choose also impacts the price. Two coats are standard and provide good protection for floors. 

Three coats offer enhanced protection and may last longer but will increase the cost by about 20-30%. Any necessary repairs, such as fixing scratches, dents or water damage in the wood, will also add to the total bill.

Dustless sanding systems may cost slightly more, which helps contain the dust created from sanding hardwood floors. 

However, they do a better job of preventing dust from billowing throughout your home. For some, the added cost is worth it for less mess and cleanup.

When getting estimates for sanding and refinishing floors, ask about:

  • The number of coats of finish included in the price. 
  • If dustless sanding methods are used and any surcharges for that. 
  • The warranty on workmanship and materials. Typically 30 days to 1 year. 
  • If the quote includes any necessary minor repairs. Not all contractors do this automatically. 
  • The total square footage to be sanded and if a bulk discount will apply.

With some shopping around, you can find a good hardwood flooring contractor to revive your floors for a reasonable price. Beautiful, refreshed hardwood floors can increase your home’s value and appeal for years.


So there you have it, a quick 101 on turning those tired old floors into fabulous new ones. With the right tools, techniques, and experienced floor sanding Melbourne’s experts, you can transform even the most worn and neglected hardwoods into showstoppers.

Our commitment to excellence and meticulous craftsmanship ensures that every aspect of your floor sanding and polishing project is handled with care and expertise. With Total Floor Sanding and Polishing, you can confidently expect stunning results that endure the test of time, leaving your floors looking pristine and inviting for years to come.