Sanding floorboards, what do I need to know?

(21 Posts)
ZolaBuddleia Wed 17-Jul-13 11:09:10

Thinking of sanding two upstairs rooms in a 1930s house. The rooms are small, and the boards look ok from what I can see at the moment (lifting corners of carpets up).

Am thinking the end result would be varnish or paint if there isn't uniformity of colour after sanding.

So, is it really difficult to do well?

I did mine very badly. Didn't realise you have to work up from coarse to fine.

belatedmaybe Wed 17-Jul-13 11:23:30

I did mine and they are lovely. Creates an awful mess though and I recommend literally taping yourself in with plastic sheeting and masking tape then keeping the room taped until you have completely cleaned it - ceiling to floor!

It needs redoing fairly regularly and it is worth investing in excellent varnish. Do at least the maximum recommend number of coats and leave each to dry at least the maximum recommended time. Don't go for quick dry ones which don't seem as tough.

MummytoMog Wed 17-Jul-13 12:12:28

I thought about sanding my upstairs floorboards, but we had a lot of uneven boards and little bits of metal strip holding them down, so in the end I painted them and I'm REALLY pleased with how they look. White painted boards in my DDs room, with a big area rug to keep the draughts down. Looks lovely. Irritatingly can't find a picture now.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Wed 17-Jul-13 12:18:25

Osmo polyx hardwax oil is best to treat them. And yes, it's very very messy

ZolaBuddleia Wed 17-Jul-13 12:23:40

Mummy, did you sand them before you painted them?

Ooh, not sure I fancy the mess angle, one of the rooms has just been redecorated.

How frequently does it need redoing, and is paint a tougher finish than just varnish?

Smells, do you put that oil on and then varnish on top?

ZolaBuddleia Wed 17-Jul-13 12:24:38

Is it worth getting in a specialist company, do you think?

littlecrystal Wed 17-Jul-13 12:44:23

If you hire a sanding machine, be careful not to leave it at one place when switched on, as it will leave a large dent. Keep moving it or lift it before switching off.

belatedmaybe Wed 17-Jul-13 13:14:04

It is exceptionally messy! Just dust but you cannot imagine how far it goes! I would even strip before leaving the room and leave the clothes in there!

A specialist is expensive but definitely worth the money if you have it.

Accidentallyquirky Wed 17-Jul-13 13:22:48

I stripped our downstairs floorboards, I spent maybe 50 hours sanding with a hired machine and by hand ( has to be really well done)
Then another full day cleaning dust and dirt from everywhere.
Then I waxed them twice before 4 coats of the toughest matte varnish I could find.
Before I started I removed all the crap from between the floorboards too with a knife.

I love my bare floorboards, cost way more then a carpet would of but it's easy to keep clean etc. I plan to revarnish each spring to keep them looking their best.

EeyoreIsh Wed 17-Jul-13 13:26:19

We did ours over Xmas. They look amazing!

But it takes a lot of time, the edges are tricky. Do lots of research first and buy really good varnish.

It works out really cost efficient to do it yourself, It cost us £250 to do a large (8x4m) room and hallway. It would have cost far more to have got someone in.

georgedawes Wed 17-Jul-13 16:12:24

As everyone said, it is unbelievably messy.

I actually think it is better value to get people who do it professionally in. When I got quotes they weren't loads more than hiring the machine, but they will do a better job. We did it ourselves and I regretted it. It's a lot more work than it looks, very very very dusty (as in our neighbours complained!) and had so many coats of varnish it was a pain in the arse.

MummytoMog Wed 17-Jul-13 16:21:56

I didn't sand before painting. One room I undercoated first and then used International floor paint - that one looks brilliant. The other one I did in a massive hurry, and just used two coats of satinwood. Doesn't look as good, but neither does it look awful. I did hoover and then use a damp mop to wipe the floorboards down a bit though. I have also heard good things about Farrow & Ball floorpaint, but it's a bit pricey! DD's room has been painted for over two years now, sees quite a bit of hard use, and still looks lovely. Our stairs are painted too, and although they need redoing, I did them three years ago and it's only the edge of the treads that have worn through (only used cheapo satinwood on the stairs too. was poor that month).

OldBeanbagz Wed 17-Jul-13 16:34:58

Never leave the sander unattended. Sawdust and old floor finishes can spontaneously combust.

This unfortunately happened in the flat below ours just weeks before we were due to move in sad

There was a large amount of damage in the flat below ours and the one below it when the sander fell through the fire destroyed floor. Plus plenty of smoke damage to ours before anyone noticed the fire from outside the building.

Everything was put right but when we moved out 4 years later there was still the occasional whiff of smoke in the utility room.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Wed 17-Jul-13 21:48:59

Osmo is instead of varnish or wax. It's dead easy to apply, is hardwearning and totally natural. You can even eat it if you do wish! We did our floors two years ago and they still look great. You can get it clear it tinted

Sanding was ok, but we did it before moving in do the house was totally empty which helped.

It took two days to do 4 rooms. Beware though if you gave black sticky bitumen stuff around the edges, they put it there in ye Olsen days when they would've just had a central rug. That stuff is HARD to get off, it melts and clogs up the sandpaper do you use loads of sheets which adds up

Worth it though. They look great

If your boards are a bit gappy, ours were, there's stuff called 'stop gap' you can use to fill the gaps and reduce draughts. We found that cost effective and pretty good

We got the professjionals in. 25sq meter room cost £500 to have sanded, big gapes filled and whole floor sealed with varnish. It was noisy and messy and I am glad I was only on tea delievery duty.

Coconutfeet Wed 17-Jul-13 22:27:45

I sanded the floors in our old flat and found it really tricky to get a decent finish at the edges. I also didn't fill the gaps very well so they were realky draughty. It was a horrible messy job and took ages.

We toyed with doing them ourselves in our new place and investigated the new low dust sanders you can hire. Eventually we got someone in and I'm so so glad. He did a fantastic job really quickly. There's no way we would have got it to look as good. If you can afford it, I'd say it's worth spending the money on.

EeyoreIsh Wed 17-Jul-13 22:28:38

we used stop gap between the boards too, i'd recommend it.

do not use f&b floor paint. use oil based or if you really want acrylic use Leyland. learn from my (expensive) mistakes! sad

belatedmaybe Thu 18-Jul-13 08:57:08

Small gaps can be filled really easily and cheaply by mixing the sanding dust with clear wood glue. It means that the colour will match your boards as far as possible to

ZolaBuddleia Fri 19-Jul-13 12:43:32

I've been quoted 400 to sand and varnish two small double bedrooms. I think that's MUCH better than doing it ourselves, is that a good price?

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