Question asked on Wood You Like's Facebook Page:
To sand a parquet floor (be it herringbone or mosaic) which type of sander is best?
- continuous Belt Sander
- Drum sander (with sheets of paper)
- Handheld sander
and the answer is:
Option 1, most often.
A continuous Belt Sander is: heavy enough to remove any old varnish or other finish from your original parquet floor, and - due to the continuous sanding paper around the Belt - will give you a smooth result.
There are hire centres that do do this big machines, if not available in your area it might even be worth to contact a local floor restore company to see if they can help out (hiring their team and getting a professional result is always worth more than ruining your floor with the wrong DIY tool).
Depending on the state of the floor and the type of existing finish (for old wax layers, remove these with a wax-remover product first before you start sanding) it's best to start with grit 40 or 60.
The Belt Sander comes equipped with a large collecting bag, remove the sand dust after the first full sanding round. If the plan is to use a special wood-filler mixed with sand dust, this dust has to be clean, so never use sand dust from the first sanding!
The risk of shatter marks
The biggest problem with option 2 - a Drum sander - is the metal rod that keeps your sanding paper pressed against the drum. Especially with the coarse grits (40 or 60) this can be difficult.
If the paper is not really flush, the metal rod will "shatter" your floor instead of the sanding paper removing the existing finish. And the shatter marks will definitely show as indentation lines on your floor.
Plus, more often than not, a standard Drum sander most hire centres have available are not heavy enough to do a job like this. A proper (professional) sander machine is at least 65 kg, most Drum sanders are around 40 - 45 kg.
If nothing else is available and the area you need to sand is rather small, a decent hand held sander could be your solution. Here the problem might be the "pressure" you have to apply manually to the floor has to be as stable as possible - plus it can take a while before the existing finish has shifted.
For the best finishes
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