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Has anyone sanded/varnished a wooden floor themselves?

(48 Posts)
LadyIronDragon Thu 08-Oct-20 22:24:22

We'd like our sitting room and hall sanded and varnished but have never tackled anything like that before. We've had one quote but the guy is messing us about a bit and the others locally are completely booked up for months...

Has anyone hired the floor sanding machines and just done it themselves? If so, any tips?

I'm quite up for it other than the fact we have 2 really small kids and we'd need to farm them out for a few days to get a decent chance at it.

OP’s posts: |
Onceuponatimethen Thu 08-Oct-20 22:35:08

Place marking as we also want to do this!

bravotango Thu 08-Oct-20 22:38:07

It's loud, exhausting, incredibly messy and a bit scary. But will cost about 1/10th of the price of getting someone in. Make sure every sticking out nail/staple is hammered deep into the boards or pulled out. Watch some YouTube videos on getting good coverage. We did a large bedroom, open living/dining room and hallway and it took a week but that was working on it every day for many hours! With finishing, many opt for oil, if you decide to go for varnish do not go for clear matt. It scratches immediately and will look dusty. Overall it will be tiring but worth it!

LadyIronDragon Thu 08-Oct-20 22:41:13

Thanks bravotango! That's all good to know. To do it before Christmas we really do need to do it ourselves. And yes it will be a hell of a lot cheaper!

I'll watch some YouTube videos and try to figure out some childcare...

OP’s posts: |
LadyIronDragon Thu 08-Oct-20 22:42:02

I think it would be oil we'd choose as well, yes. Hmm. Maybe we should just be brave

OP’s posts: |
parietal Thu 08-Oct-20 22:43:39

I did it on my bedroom as a teenager - by hand! Took me a couple of weeks. I sanded (probably not very well) and then painted the floor with several coats of paint.

TabbyStar Thu 08-Oct-20 22:44:52

Yes, the drum sander is fine but the edger is really hard to manage as it jumps around (unless technology has moved on, this was a while ago). Also filling the gaps takes a while. It's quite satisfying to have done it but I'd never do it myself again!

Austereorange Thu 08-Oct-20 22:47:31

Also if you’re in an attached house give your neighbours due warning. The sanders are horrendously loud and the sound vibrates through everything.

Take every last thing out (even curtains) and close every door - the dust is an absolute swine.

AgathaX Thu 08-Oct-20 22:51:18

Not hard to do but messy and noisy. Very satisfying to see the results of your hard work though.

VallarMorghulis Thu 08-Oct-20 22:51:57

Yes. Don't do it, it's hell. Getting a professional to do it is money well spent IMO

Sarahp2308 Thu 08-Oct-20 22:54:13

We started ours...put it this way we now have carpet instead!

After spends hours on end and god knows how much money we gave up, it was the edges that were the problem,

Hope it goes better for you!

ivykaty44 Thu 08-Oct-20 22:55:32

Yes, I did it myself

But... I did it with a hand held electric sander - as I already owned this tool

I knocked the nails in carefully
Sanded the floor - wore glasses and gloves
Hoovered
Mopped
white spirit
Then varnished

It cost me the price of one tin of varnish for each room I did.

I used mahogany down stairs
Neutral in the bathroom

StillWeRise Thu 08-Oct-20 22:56:53

yes, have done it many times
it is very, very noisy and very very dusty- you need to seal off all other doors, using eg masking tape around the edges
as pp have said, warn your neighbours- it will be much more pleasant if you have the windows wide open
it will depend what is on the floor already- some of our floors have a thick tarry varnish that sort of melts when it gets hot (because of the friction of the sander) and then it sinks into the wood! such fun!
however, you will end up with a long lasting finish that looks good and is easy to clean

claire697 Thu 08-Oct-20 23:16:08

We did, I'm not sure I'd do it again. We got pine slivers, filed the gaps, chiseled etc.

But the sander we hired was off level, we tore through sheets like crazy, and its loud. I ended up not being able to be in the house and leaving DH to do it. Once we finally got a replacement sander it was better. But DH also managed to overfill the bag and explode it (apparently my fault for being at the end of the garden and not watching). The edging sander also threw us around.

We are actually pretty good at DIY, but it's one of those jobs, I wouldn't like to do again!

ElizabethinherGermanGarden Thu 08-Oct-20 23:48:52

I really enjoyed it - the noise and the big machine and all the fuss along with the satisfaction of seeing something really happening. My tips would be:
-- Buy more bits of sandpaper for it than you think you need from the hire shops (you can usually return them if you don't use them) especially if your floor has that Victorian black goo on it
-- the edging sander as pp said hops about so hold tight
-- get a little mouse sander for the corners and do them first
-- expect to be very tired from the vibration of the machine - you can do a large area in a day but don't expect to be able to speak or walk or eat or do anything other than stare vacantly afterwards (I'd book a weekend rather than a day for the machines, even for a single room)
-- watch out for your car (scratched mine to buggery on the inside getting the machine in and out on my own because it's too heavy really for a medium sized woman to lift on your own).

ElizabethinherGermanGarden Thu 08-Oct-20 23:49:23

Oh piss it. Those were meant to be bullet points, not crossings out.

Butterer Thu 08-Oct-20 23:52:05

ivykaty44

Yes, I did it myself

But... I did it with a hand held electric sander - as I already owned this tool

I knocked the nails in carefully
Sanded the floor - wore glasses and gloves
Hoovered
Mopped
white spirit
Then varnished

It cost me the price of one tin of varnish for each room I did.

I used mahogany down stairs
Neutral in the bathroom

I'm in the very long lazy process of doing this (as in I have the kit and intent, just not found the motivation yet) with a belt sander- either vanishing or painting when I actual get round to it. I'm dreading it taking ages.

earsup Fri 09-Oct-20 00:10:32

Get the Swedish machine. Not the old ones from h and s etc..they are awful ! Practice first to avoid taking big lumps out of the floor.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 09-Oct-20 00:19:39

Yes, just hire a machine, follow the instructions and do it!

It is noisy, so you can't do or hear anything else all day, which is an interesting experience. Lots of room for thought. Best done and over with quickly though. You can easily do a room and a hallway in a weekend.

fatfacesellcupstoo Fri 09-Oct-20 09:16:30

To those who have done it themselves what hand sander would you recommend please?
I've attempted it a few times but just couldn't manage the big machine though in the end finished it off with the edging machine
I need a hand sander anyway

echt Fri 09-Oct-20 10:30:44

After sanding the whole ground floor of our house: corridor, front and rear living rooms, my lovely late DH said: If I ever suggest doing this again, just shoot me.

'Nuff said. wink

echt Fri 09-Oct-20 10:32:14

Oh, and satin varnish.

Gloss looks cheap.

GiraffeNecked Fri 09-Oct-20 10:37:34

I have twice - even though the first time I said never again. hammer the nails in really well - there's a thing you can buy to do the hammering. Get up every staple.

It's noisy, dirty, dusty but not hard. I wouldn't try and do it with a hand sander. Hire the big machine and edger. Having the deadline for getting it back kept me focussed.

GiraffeNecked Fri 09-Oct-20 10:38:14

We are getting a man in next time.

Butterer Fri 09-Oct-20 10:40:12

GiraffeNecked

We are getting a man in next time.

How much does that cost, out of interest? I've got 27 metres of floor to make nice in one room...

I'm reluctant to hire a sanding machine because I honestly don't think I can carry one up two flights of stairs.

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