Belt sanders are becoming increasingly popular, especially with DIY’ers just like you and me. We all see to look for bigger and bigger jobs to tackle, and when looking at home improvement options one of the biggest tasks are taking on hardwood floors. Getting rid of the old finish and replacing it with something new will give you that same amazing look at a fraction of the cost.

There are many different sanders which can be used on hardwood floors, but for larger rooms it may be better to start out with a belt sander. Belt sanders are great for removing a large amount of stock in a very quick amount of time as they are especially great on hardwood floors that have many, many years on them.

You have to think, to refinish hardwood floors that have been walked on and abused for many years, it takes a sander that provides plenty of relentless power. A belt sander works wonders on the bulk of the room, and its best used in conjunction with a floor edger sander which is better suited for the areas of the hardwood closer to the walls.

Steps on How to Sand Hardwood Floors with a Belt Sander

Below, we have detailed all the steps on how to sand hardwood floors with a belt sander to get the most of your next refinish.

  1. Look to see if there are staples or nails raised above the floors – Old staples and nails can end up ripping the sandpaper, or worse, injury. Using a hammer, either tap the staples or nails back in or remove completely being sure the floors are still secure.
  2. Make sure the hardwood floors are completely clean and have no objects on it
  3. While the sander is unplugged, place a coarse grit sandpaper on the sander. Start off with a 60 grit sandpaper, but you may want to consider 36 grit paper for heavy duty jobs or older hardwood floors.
  4. Plug the sander in and start off in an area of the room that is covered or in a less visible spot on the floor such as in a closet. It’s good practice to try in a remote area before moving on to other more visible areas of the floor.
  5. Sand with the grain and be sure to keep the sander moving. Sanding stationary will likely cause an uneven surface or other blemishes. When sanding, stay approximately 2-3 inches from the wall to avoid damaging as the area closer to the wall is better suited with a floor edger.
  6. After a couple of passes, change the sandpaper being sure to move in an upward progression of coarse to finer sandpaper. Be sure not to skip a sandpaper grit as the number above will eliminate any scratches left from coarser grit paper. It’s recommended to finish with a 100 grit paper if you’re intending on staining when finished, or if your floors are maple or birch.
  7. Be sure to clean up before staining – we recommend using a belt sander with an attached vacuum bag, but you will still find there is a fair amount of dust. With a damp but no wet rag, be sure to wipe down the hardwood thoroughly before staining.
  8. Finish the job using an edge sander – edge sanders will reduce the chance for damaging the walls or trip. Use sandpaper in the same progression as you used with the belt sander to make sure the floors are sanded to the same smoothness.