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Old 11-20-2022, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Redwood Shores, CA
1,489 posts, read 878,712 times
Reputation: 1458

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I am sanding and and re-finishing 750-sqft of hardwood floor.

I started planning to rent a floor sander. Then I thought, this size seems small enough that I can use a hand tool to do (perhaps with a lot more time which I have). If so, for the money to rent floor sander I can buy a hand tool which can be useful for other jobs. Money aside, convenience is a big factor too in my situation -- I can't just finish the job quickly and return a rental asap.

My questions:

1. On the size -- I see 6", 8", and 11" orbital sanders. I am inclining to get the 11"; but I see 6" seems most common. For my purpose, what might be the best compromise?

2. There are gear-driven orbital sanders which has both gear-driven mode and random orbital mode. Seems these have more versatility than just the random orbital ones. Is this correct?

3. Any suggestion for my purpose?
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Old 11-20-2022, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
8,487 posts, read 11,109,735 times
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You might want to watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL0zzY25si0

He does the same thing and has a couple of warnings. If you plan to restain an orbital sander won't remove enough of the surface.
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Old 11-20-2022, 12:38 PM
 
Location: In a Really Dark Place
562 posts, read 217,524 times
Reputation: 1400
If you buy an 11" sander, that is going to limit it's usefulness on future projects that might have closer clearances. I'd go with a 6".

Random orbital, when working with wood, is a "peace of mind" issue, not having to worry about cross grain sanding. You can really screw up a piece of furniture sanding against the grain in too focused a manor. So the "random" part helps shield you from that possibility. "One less thing to go wrong".

All that said, the only floor I've ever refinished without a rental machine, I used a cheap Sears & Roebuck belt sander, with diligent attention to aligning the belt travel with the grain, and it worked pretty well
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Old 11-20-2022, 12:50 PM
 
1,004 posts, read 908,741 times
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If you rent a floor sander, you will likely need a hand sander anyway, to get the corners.

Aside from time, you will use up a lot of sandpaper using a small hand sander on the whole room. That should factor into the cost of using a hand sander vs renting a floor sander and keeping it overnight until you can return it.

It's also harder to be consistent in the amount of sanding and pressure when you are using a small machine over a long period of time. You could end up with an inconsistent quality when you are finished, and possibly end up spending a lot more time and money fixing it.

As for what size to use, yes 6" is the most common for the average consumer who might use it for refinishing furniture or something. 11" sanders are used by professionals who need to buff out scratches in corian countertops or for similar purposes. 8" sanders aren't that commonly used, because the two other sizes are usually sufficient for most professionals.
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Old 11-20-2022, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
16,660 posts, read 61,447,681 times
Reputation: 21802
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertFisher View Post
3. Any suggestion for my purpose?

Yeah; just one!

HIRE SOMEONE! You clearly don't know what you don't know-
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Old 11-20-2022, 05:20 PM
 
22,295 posts, read 65,631,559 times
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750 sf with a hand sander??? I have thought of some bad ideas in the past, but that one surpasses most of them.

With a floor sander and proper grits, you can be done sanding in a day, possibly two. With a hand sander... what year were you planning completion? The number of hours you would spend sanding would be on the order of six to eight times that with a floor sander.

A floor sander - IN THE PROPER HANDS - makes for an even sanding and flat level floor. A hand sander means variations according to your technique and strength each day. You will use FAR more sandpaper than is used in a floor sander. The aggressive grit and weight of the sander do the work, not you.

I agree with KB. Unless you want to pay for someone to come in and touch up or or fix your errors, hire a pro and be done with it. OTOH, if you have about three or four closets to practice on, and after sanding those think you can use a floor sander without creating divots, you might give it a try.
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Old 11-21-2022, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
2,063 posts, read 872,169 times
Reputation: 6186
Sanding floors is like laying tile. The first few jobs you do are going to come out lousy. If you've only got one job to do, ever, and you've never done it before, hire a pro who's done it 10,000 times already. You're paying for his practice through the years. You're also paying for his knowledge when something gets weird, how to solve it without taking the whole thing sideways.
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Old 11-21-2022, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
12,782 posts, read 11,911,148 times
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ROS are cheap! Rent a real floor sander, then buy an ROS if you really want one.

Use the right tool for the right job, and an ROS is not the right tool for this one. You will spend hours of backbreaking manual labor, purchasing hundreds of sanding disks, to get an uneven finish to your floor, all to save $100?

Offer to mow your neighbor's lawn next summer and use the money to buy a small sander if you want one that badly.
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Old 11-23-2022, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Redwood Shores, CA
1,489 posts, read 878,712 times
Reputation: 1458
Thanks for all the tips. I'll take it back and think about my plan.
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:59 PM
 
Location: D.C.
2,825 posts, read 3,066,558 times
Reputation: 4655
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Yeah; just one!

HIRE SOMEONE! You clearly don't know what you don't know-
Trust this advice, and take it from someone who knows personally. I’ve done this project, once, and will never do it again. I had belt sander, random sander, edge sander. It. Kicked. My. Ass….

There is a technique, there is a process, and if you don’t follow the steps, it will be a disaster. It’s not a “sand it once and done” thing either. No no… it’s sanding it multiple times with different grits in a sequence.

I did an entire floor of our home in a week, 14 hours a day, 2,000sf. It took 6 months for my left forearm to get its feeling back. I documented the process on here years ago. If you search “red oak” and my name as thread starter under the “house” category, you’ll probably find it.

I had 4 bedrooms go from carpet to matching hardwood last year. I didn’t even consider doing it myself. It’s a different level of mankind that can do and sand-in-place hardwood floor correctly. It is worth every penny to hire out. I promise!
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