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...
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
*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.
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.
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.
You left out a very important step there:
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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