Resurfacing pine floors

Greetings, I have about 400 sq feet that I'd like to strip and re-poly. The high traffic areas are down to bare wood.
First, I can rent both a vibrating square sander and an orbital buffer with sandpaper. Which is best?
Second, will I have to evacuate the house for a few days when I re- poly due to smell/ fumes?
BTW, I looked at having a professional strip the floor for me - it'll be about $320. I can rent a sander + paper for about $120. If there's anyone in Southern Maine you can recommend for around $200 I'll gladly call. I'll poly it myself...
Thanks!
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You may find the vibrating square easier to handle and better for corner
This time of year with windows open, it should not be a big deal for most people. Others are highly sensitive to odor and may be bothered. While the odor may linger, the majority of the fumes are gone quickly. I saw some stuff touted on Pitchmen called "What Odor". It may eliminate the smell completely from the demo I've seen, but I never tried it. Billy Mays says it is OK.
After you get started, you may find that $320 is not such a bad price after all.
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*Pay the $320.00. You will need more than one type of machine to get into close quarters and corners. I have usually seen a drum sander as the primary tool. I had pine floors done many years ago and considered doing it myself. After I saw the crew do it I was glad that I paid the money. There are water based finishes that dry in a hour or two and have no smell. The odor won't be so bad for poly, but the inconvenience of not being able to use the floor for several days will be.
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Ive heard of people having 90-95%% humidity inside because its raining every day and wonder why nothing will dry after a week. A pro is in and out and its done, plus its hard work and when you learn on your job the mistakes you live with everyday.
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Everyone tells me that a drum sander is too aggressive for pine. Right now I'm trying to decide between the orbital and the vibrating square.
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BuckK wrote:

It's not so much that it is too agressive, it's that it takes experience to use it on anything without making gouges.

How big is the orbital? In my limited experience they are small, meant for detailing. I'd go for the big vibrator...
1. Take off baseboards
2. Start with the coarsest paper available and sand the bejeezuz out of it. Sand til all finish is gone and the floor is flat.
3. Start working with ever finer papers - their only purpose is to remove scrtatches made by the previous grit.
4. Finish with the "screen". When you hink you are finished, do it again.
5. Apply finish
6. Put back baseboards.
Be sure to get plenty of paper in each grit; normally, you can return what you don't use.
dadiOH
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On 5/14/2009 6:53 AM dadiOH spake thus:

You left out a very important step there:
4a. Clean.
Several years ago when I moved into my original live/work space, I refinished the mezzanine floors which were 5" diagonal rough pine boards. Sanding went fairly quickly; so did varnishing.
What took the most time--several days, in fact, for the entire ~1000 square feet, was cleaning. Getting rid of all the sanding dust, plus all the other crap that had accumulated in the gaps between the boards.
Now, in this case, presumably the floor is flat without gaps, so you won't have to dig out and vacuum up popcorn, paper clips, grains of rice, boogers, cigarette butts, roaches (the kind you smoke, not the insects), beads, pebbles and other crap.
But it'll still take a pretty long time to vacuum up all the dust, if you're at all interested in doing a good job without blobs of dirt and dust stuck in the varnish. Plan on *at least* a full day for this phase of the job, I'd say.
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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Good point David!
Prior to putting down the first coat of poly I vacuumed EVERYTHING in the room - walls, doorframes, tops of molding around windows and doors and of course the floors - EVERYTHING. Waited some hours for the dust to settle. Wipe down floor with paint thinner and a rag. Can of poly recommended that one. Let that dry a bit then a onceover with a tack cloth. Tack cloth between coats as well. Thinner too I think. Can't recall.
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On 5/15/2009 6:50 AM Red Green spake thus:

Good point there: in addition to vacuuming up the dust, you need to let the now-airborne dust settle, then either vacuum again or use a tack cloth. Otherwise I *guarantee* unwanted stuff embedded in your nice new coat of varnish.
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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Hmmm, now where did I see exactly that David? :-)
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I recommend a random orbit sander. I use a P-C 6" that can do far more work than the little square palm sanders. Dust control is an added bonus, and nearly any sandpaper grit you want is available. Amazon is a good source for the tool and info on competing brands if you have a preference. I chose Porter-Cable because they have been the leader for many years in portable sanding machines.
Joe
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I recommend a random orbit sander. I use a P-C 6" that can do far more work than the little square palm sanders.
To do 400 sq feet of floor? That is a couple of months labor.
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A pro would use a drum sander, I think it will take forever with a pad or orbital, those are for sanding inbetween coats. 320 is cheap for 3 coats. Pine is porus, what will the first coat take 2-3 gallons? and 4 more for 2 coats?, screening inbetween? 120 buffer-sander, 7 gallons at 30$ gal, thinner, tack cloths, rags, gas, maybe 250$ plus 120 is 370.00. A water base gloss wont smell bad but you need Low humidity to cure both quickly and seeing how I dont think you have done this before you should hire a pro this time.
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That's $320 to sand the floor only. I'll poly it myself. That'll put me over $500 for the whole project. Thanks, but I think I'll do it myself.
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Get bids, .90- 1.20 a sq ft finished might be possible, I got a deal at .90 by giving a guy 6 apartments and he is a real pro not amateur. Most floors need a layer of oxidised wood to be removed to look good, you should get other opinions on your job. A pro will use a drum sander that is lowered and adjusted hydraulicly, they are 4-6000$ machines that can be adjusted to only remove what is needed, rental stuff is not the same.
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I used the square one that has the four circular pads. Extremely easy to handle. Doesn't tear up the floor. Gets very close to edges and in corners. Only required a palm sander to finish up. Put down poly with a lambs wool pad on a pole. Goes fast which means it all flows nicely with no lines or bubbles.

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I used to date a girl who refinished the wood floors in her old victorian farmhouse. The floors were yellow pine and it was a fairly large two story house. She did all the work herself. Pretty impressive for someone about 5'2" and weighed about 105lbs.
Jimmie
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BuckK wrote:

Quick15 dries in 15 minutes.
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