The Complete Guide To Timber Floor Sanding

Timber Floor Sanding

Discover the transformational power of timber floor sanding – a process often overlooked or mishandled by many homeowners. This in-depth guide provides everything you need to know about bringing new life into your tired, old wooden floors through effective sanding and polishing techniques. And remember, if it all seems overwhelming, you can always get a professional floor sanding contractor to do it for you.

We’ll walk you through each step of the journey from preparation, and choosing tools, to maintenance post-sanding. Are you ready to restore your timber floors to their beautiful best? Let’s dive right in!

The Importance of Timber Floor Sanding

Timber floor sanding is key to having a neat and shiny finish. It gets rid of any rough spots on the timber floors. This makes sure your floors are smooth to the touch and safe to walk on.

Sanding also helps keep your floor in good shape for years. It takes off the worn-out top layer and brings out a fresh one. So, your timber floors look new all over again! Polishing in Brisbane or other places adds extra shine after sanding.

Moreover, it’s a process doable by DIYers as well. You can give it a try if you want some change at home! But don’t forget to switch the sandpaper often for faster work.

Before You Start: Essential Preparation Steps

Before you begin sanding your timber floors, it’s important to take essential preparation steps to ensure a successful outcome.

Clearing the Room

You need a clean room to sand timber floors. First, take out all the stuff in the room. This includes tables, chairs and other things you have. The floor needs to be clear for sanding.

Make sure there is no dust or dirt on your timber floors.

Next, give the room a good clean-up. Use a broom or vacuum cleaner to clear off any loose dirt or dust from the floor surface. Now your room is ready for high-class floor sanding! No furniture should get in the way of your work now.

Assessing Floor Condition

First, look at your timber floor. Does it have dents or cracks? Are there marks that don’t wipe away? These are signs of damage needing special care. Too many nails sticking out can hurt the sanding machines.

You need to make the floor flat and nail-free to start with floor repairs. This helps you get the high-class floor sanding results you want!

Gathering Necessary Tools

To work on your timber floors, you need some special tools. It is a good idea to collect them all before you start. Here are the tools you will use:

  • A drum sander: This big machine will help you sand large areas fast.
  • An edging sander: You will use this tool to sand the parts near the walls that the big machine can’t reach.
  • A hammer: You need this tool to put any nails back into place.
  • A nail punch: It helps make sure all nails are below the wood surface.
  • Sandpaper: This paper rubs away the old finish and smooths out the wood.
  • A vacuum cleaner: It cleans up all dust and small pieces of wood before varnishing, staining or oiling.
  • Dust masks and ear protection: They keep you safe while working.

Safety Equipment

Safety tools are a must for timber floor sanding. To keep safe, you need to suit up in the right gear.

  1. Dust masks: These cover your nose and mouth. They stop you from breathing in dust. You should wear them all through the sanding work.
  2. Ear protection: This keeps loud noises away from your ears. Like dust masks, you should use these the whole time.
  3. Good fit: All safety gear must fit well and feel comfy on you.
  4. High ratings: Look for tools with high filtration and noise cut-down scores.
  5. Regular checks: Always check your gear for any harm or wear before using it.
  6. Protective clothing: This guards your skin during the job.

The Process of Sanding Timber Floors

To sand timber floors, you must understand the sanding process, choose the right sandpaper, and decide between hand sanding or machine sanding.

Understanding the Sanding Process

Sanding is like cleaning wood. It takes off the old, rough parts. You use a machine called a drum sander for most of the floor. This machine has big rolls of sandpaper that rub away the bad bits.

You need to put on safety gear before you start.

After using the drum sander, there are small spots left in corners or near walls. To get rid of these, you use an edging sander. It’s smaller and easier to control in tight areas. This way, every part of your wood floor looks nice and smooth after sanding is done.

Choosing the Right Sandpaper

Pick the right sandpaper to make your timber floors shine. Start with a coarse grit to take off old varnish. Then, use a finer grit for a smooth finish. It is best to use floor sanding machines rather than hand sanding.

This will save you time and effort. You need less sandpaper too! Always consider how rough or smooth the floor is before picking your sandpaper type.

Hand Sanding vs. Machine Sanding

Sanding timber floors is a crucial aspect of maintaining their quality and aesthetic appeal. However, the choice between hand sanding and machine sanding has often been the subject of debate. Here is a succinct comparison to help you understand their differences and their pros and cons.


Hand Sanding

Machine Sanding

Efficiency Hand sanding can be time-intensive and may require excessive amounts of sandpaper, making it less efficient for large areas Machine sanding is not only faster but also more efficient, making it the preferred method for sanding timber floors
Cost While hand sanding may initially seem less costly, the time and effort required can contribute to higher overall costs Although machines may have a higher upfront cost, they complete the job faster, which can offset their initial expense
Quality Hand sanding provides a more detailed finish but is not recommended for large floor spaces Machine sanding provides a high-quality finish, especially when the sandpaper is regularly switched out, as recommended
Recommendations For small, detailed areas or furniture, hand sanding could be preferable For timber floors, a dedicated floor sanding/supply shop or hire shop can provide advice on the best sanding machines to use

As such, your choice between hand sanding and machine sanding should hinge on the size of the area you’re working on and the quality of finish you desire.

Finishing Your Timber Floors

After sanding your timber floors, the next step is to finish them with varnish, stain, or oil for a beautiful and long-lasting result.


Varnishing is a key step after sanding your timber floors. You should put varnish on the wood right away. This helps keep the wood safe from damage. Use a brush to apply the varnish along with the grain of the wood.

The number of coats you need depends on how much foot traffic your floor gets. Three coats are good for rooms with less use, like bedrooms or studies. If it’s a busy room, like a living room or kitchen, you might need four coats instead.

After varnishing, taking care of your floor is easy! You just vacuum and wipe down with a wet cloth regularly to keep them clean and fresh.


Staining is a part of fixing up your timber floors. You do this to bring out the wood’s charm and make it shine. But you need to clean up any water spills right away. This stops stains from forming on your floor.

Regular cleaning also helps keep your floor looking good. Vacuum often and wipe down with a damp cloth when needed. Be careful though, too much water can cause damage!


Oiling is key in the process of timber floor sanding. It gives the timber floor a better look and shields it from harm. First, clean your floors well before you put on oil. Use a rotary sander to make sure the surface is smooth and even for the oil to go on.

Do not forget to sand around the edges too for an even finish!

Cost and Time Estimates for Timber Floor Sanding

The cost and time required for sanding timber floors can vary greatly depending on the floor’s size, condition, and finish. The following table provides an estimate of the expected costs and timeline for a standard timber floor sanding project.


Estimated Cost

Estimated Time

Floor Sanding Starts from $22 per square meter 2-3 days for standard floors
Finishing (Varnishing) Included in the floor sanding cost Done immediately after sanding
Extra Services (e.g., repairs) Additional costs apply Can extend the project timeline

Keep in mind that these are just estimates. The actual cost and timeline may vary based on the specifics of your floor and the professional’s availability. If you’re considering doing the job yourself, don’t forget to factor in the cost of hiring necessary tools, like a drum sander and various grits of sandpaper. For instance, the author spent approximately $250, roughly $17/m², on a DIY floor sanding and polishing project. However, if you’re not up for a DIY project, hiring a professional can be a valuable investment for a well-done job.

Maintaining Your Sanded Timber Floors

To maintain your sanded timber floors, regular cleaning is key. Vacuuming or sweeping the floor regularly will help remove dirt and debris that can scratch the surface. Wiping down the floor with a damp cloth can also help keep it clean.

In case of spills, it is important to wipe them up immediately to prevent staining. Water can damage wood floors, so it’s crucial to avoid leaving any water sitting on the surface for extended periods.

When refinishing your timber floors, lightly sanding and revarnishing may be necessary. Before applying varnish, make sure to remove any dirt and dust from the surface. You can use a brush or roller to apply the varnish, making sure each coat dries completely before adding another layer.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can keep your sanded timber floors looking beautiful for years to come without much hassle or effort.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional: Pros and Cons

The choice between doing it yourself and hiring a professional for timber floor sanding has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The following table outlines the pros and cons of both options:



Hiring a Professional

  • Economical: You can save a significant amount of money.
  • Flexible timing: You can schedule the work at your convenience.
  • Learning opportunity: It provides a chance to learn new skills.
  • Expertise: Professionals have the necessary expertise and experience.
  • High-quality finish: The result is often superior due to the use of high-quality equipment and materials.
  • Time-saving: It frees up your time for other tasks.
  • Time-consuming: It may take a longer time than expected, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process.
  • Quality of work: The finish may not be of professional quality.
  • Physical effort: It requires significant physical work and proper planning.
  • Cost: Hiring a professional can be expensive.
  • Scheduling: You may need to work around the contractor’s schedule.

Remember, the quality of sanding machines can vary, and seeking advice from a dedicated floor sanding or supply shop is recommended before embarking on a DIY project. Similarly, the cost of sanding and varnishing a wooden floor can greatly depend on the professional you hire.

Conclusion: The Value of Well-Maintained Timber Floors

In conclusion, timber floor sanding is an important step in maintaining the beauty and longevity of your floors. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your timber floors are properly prepared, sanded, and finished.

Regular maintenance and care will help to preserve their appearance for years to come. Whether you choose to DIY or hire a professional, investing time and effort into timber floor sanding is worth it for the value it brings to your home.