How to Sand Hickory Flooring

Hickory flooring has beautiful wood grain, which will receive stain comparably to other hardwoods, and it can be identified by the brown and black streaks which are found within the grain. Its surface can be a bit rougher than other hardwoods, which will require more attention in sanding. The average do-it-yourself homeowner can finish their hickory floors in one to two days, depending on the size of the project. If you are planning on finishing your own hickory hardwood floors.

Here are some important tips on how to sand hickory flooring:

  1. Before you get started with sanding, there's some prep work involved. You should cover or plug air grilles, remove all window coverings and art on the walls, countersink all nails, and remove all doors that open into the room.
  2. The tools you'll need are a floor sander and an edge sander. A good choice for a floor sander is a drum sander with continuous belts and a lift-lower lever for better control.
  3. Start by sanding the floor with the grain of the wood. Begin sanding with an 80-grit belt to even the floor boards, and use a 120-grit belt to smooth the floor and a 220 belt to add a finishing touch. Use the edging sander and orbital sander to reach areas of the floor near the walls and corners.
  4. Follow up each phase of drum sanding with edging. After you've drum sanded at 36 grit you can edge with a 36 grit.
  5. You should also place a nylon pad under the sandpaper, which minimizes gouges and deep swirls. You should replace the sandpaper when it's dull, because dull paper won't remove swirls left by the previous grit.
  6. At the end of the sanding job, lay a flashlight on the floor to highlight any leftover swirls and hand-sand them out with 80 or 100 grit paper.

One flooring expert warns woodworkers to hand sand at the end of the job instead of using a belt sander for edging, which will over polish the wood, so it won't take finish the same as the surrounding wood. You'll save money sanding hickory flooring yourself. Floor sanding and refinishing typically costs about $1 per square foot when you do it yourself compared with $3 to $4 by hiring a professional. On jobs larger than 500 sq. ft., you'll save $1,000 by doing it yourself, which isn't bad for a weekend of work.

If you prefer to use a pro, look online for flooring professionals, and call a few to compare rates and service expertise.


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