Dustless Floor Sanding Durban and Cape Town

Hardwood floor sanding in Durban and Cape Town is normally done by making use of a specialised company such as The Wood Joint. Some wooden floor sanding companies hire them in when needed but if you are sanding floors regularly then you may want to consider buying one. There are, broadly speaking, two different types of floor sanders or floor grinders. They are relatively expensive to buy and therefore expensive to hire.

Drum sander

The drum sander is an older technology machine that uses a drum with sand paper of varying grits attached to it. The drum spins in a horizontal direction and removes sealer or coating from the wooden floors. One would typically start with a rough grit like a 40 grit paper or rougher and then proceed through the grits to get a finer, smoother finish on the floors before sealing them. These machines come in different widths and different size motors. All of these machines do a similar job. The wider ones at 300mm wide obviously remove sealer a lot quicker as they are covering more surface area. There are two type of paper one can use. A paper-backed sandpaper which is cheaper but will tear or rip more easily if the drum catches a nail or rough edge on the floor. There is also a cloth backed paper which is about 3 times the price. Being cloth backed it is a lot more durable and won’t tear or rip as easily as paper-backed sand paper. Also because it doesn’t get as hot, it last a bit longer than paper-backed before it becomes dull. This is well worth the investment especially if you have a floor that has rough edges or nails protruding or if the drum sander is an older machine. Older machines tend to rip paper more easily because of worn parts. These machines, if calibrated properly work fairly well as they remove 300mm of sealer at a time. They can be difficult to “drive” as they are continually trying to run away from you in a forward direction and the machine needs to be pulled back against the direction of turn. They can also be very messy because the drum is rotating in a horizontal direction and throwing saw dust up into the air. A word of caution when using these machines. When they are switched on make sure the sand paper is not making contact with the floor as the machine will move on its own, probably slap bang into the wall if no-one is hanging on to it. Or worse still slap bang into the pool if you are sanding a deck. The machine can be tilted back so that the paper doesn’t engage the floor,or they are sometimes lever driven. Always work the floor sander in the direction of the boards to avoid scratching the boards against the grain.

Planetary System Floor Grinder

The other type of machine is essentially a floor grinder and is the same machine used to grind concrete floors to a smooth finish. It works with a motor in a vertical position and the shaft spins vertically as opposed to horizontally. Below the motor are three disks of 180mm diameter which can accept various tools, with varying grit, for different applications. Each disk spins in one direction while the whole set of three disks spins in the opposite direct. It is called a planetary system. They move a lot slower than the drum sander but because they are moving in the vertical direction they tend to keep the dust down rather than throwing it into the air. With the correct tool you can achieve the same result more quickly, with less effort and less mess. Even without dust extraction they are a lot less dusty and the dust can be controlled and extracted up as the machine works. Because they spin slower they are a lot easier to use and can be pushed along with one hand. Dust extraction can be fitted to the machine to result in a 99% dust free process. The idea is to start with a course grit tool, or paper, and move through the tools, or papers, until the desired level of smoothness is achieved. There are also other steel tools which act as rasps or files that can be used for stubborn sealer or to level a newly installed floor where small ridges have been left between boards after installation. These machines sand about 10mm to 20mm from the edge of the skirting so the edge sanding is minimised greatly. These machine can be used with or against the grain as they are spinning cross grain anyway.

At The Wood Joint we use both machines depending on what the application is.

A good finish to use is a water based polyurethane as you will be able to apply multiple coats in one day as it dries very quickly. Apply by roller and brush in the corners. Attach a broom stick to your roller so you can stand and do it rather than kneeling on the floor. A light sand with a very fine grit should be performed after the first coat as the first coat will raise the fibres in the wood. Once these have been sanded off very lightly the second and third coats can be applied. Make sure to vacuum properly to remove all dust before the second coat. Dust settles into the polyurethane and dries leaving it rough. Allow it to dry as per the manufacturer’s specification which should be dry enough to walk on after a short while but it will take several days to hard dry. It is best to take your shoes or boots off when sealing and walk in your socks.

This machine can also attend to concrete floor grinding. There is a separate article on this blog regarding concrete floor grinding.

For a free no obligation quote on dustless wooden floor sanding, please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Floor Sanding Durban

Floor sanding Durban

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Many home owners, with old houses, are finding that once they remove the carpets, which became so popular in the 70’s, that there are lovely solid wood floors beneath. After so many years of being trapped beneath a carpet, they do of course need some sanding and sealing in order to bring them back to their previous splendour. Most often there is nothing wrong with these floors and all that is required is a sand and seal to bring them back to new. At times one might find that some of the boards are lifting as the adhesive has given way in which case you will need to clean up the surface and re-adhere them to the substrate. Some of the older floors were stuck down using linoleum glue and I have found floors where this has all come off and left the boards loose. It then needs to be cleaned using mineral spirits. It is best to remove all of this and then use a modern-day adhesive to re-apply them.

Most contractors who installed solid wood floors of yesteryear used top quality timber and therefore you will find that the timber itself is quite all right to last another 100 years, if not longer. Because floors are generally not exposed to much water and weathering, their condition will remain almost as original and all that is required is a good sand and seal.

Floor sanding Durban

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We use an industrial floor sander with a rough grit paper to remove all old sealer and any dirt and blemishes that may have taken hold over the years. The floor sander cannot reach all corners and once we have the majority of it off we use belt sanders and a rotex sander to reach the corners and up against the skirting or wall. Once it’s all off we come back and sand to a smoother finish using a smoother grit paper on all machines until we have reached the desired smoothness.

Once the floor is sanded to the desired smoothness by slowly taking the grit of the paper up, the floor should be completely swept to get rid of all dust. Be careful not to wet the floor with water. Water will cause the fibres in the wood to rise which will result in it going out of smooth and the sanding process will need to be started all over again. A good industrial vacuum cleaner will do the job and will lift all dust to get your floor ready to seal. There are dustless floor sanders available which either work by containing the dust in a bag or they connect to a vacuum cleaner that sucks the dust up as it is being sanded. The latter of course is the better option as then there is much less cleaning after sanding.

Once your dust is up you are ready to start sealing. There are various sealers on the market but the best to use is a polyurethane sealer. You can get a good quality water based one which will allow you to apply subsequent coats more quickly as it dries much quicker. You can get all three coats down in one day using water based polyurethane. The other polyurethane is a two pack one which contains a catalyst so that it dries extremely hard. The choice is yours. Two pack polyurethane will take longer to get your coats down so will cost more due to the time factor but will probably last longer, but will also be more harmful to the environment. Water based coating technology has come a long way these days and I wouldn’t completely shy away from it. But chose a well know brand to make sure that you are getting quality all the way.

Floor sanding Durban

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You will need to lightly sand after the first coat to get rid of the fibres that stand up after sealing. As mentioned above water will make these fibres rise, so you will find with water based polyurethane these fibres will be more prominent resulting in a rough finish. So lightly sand them off, suck the dust up, and apply the second coat. Feel the wood between coats 2 and 3 to see if that step needs to be repeated as the last thing you want is a rough finish after all that sanding. Take your shoes off too as you don’t want to damage the finish.

For a free no obligation quote, call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact form below.