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#4449746 - 07/04/17 07:00 PM Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander
99Saturn Offline


Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1426
Loc: NY
Looking to refinish our wood floors, wondering who has experience and whether you'd recommend a drum or random orbital floor sander.

As I understand it, the random orbital is less of a risk factor for over sanding but will take longer. Also I'm wondering if it would do a good enough job sanding out blemishes (old carpet was stapled down in spots so there are staple holes). Drum sander should get the job done fast but over sanding is a real possibility. Thoughts?

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#4449757 - 07/04/17 07:09 PM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 11009
Loc: Idaho
Float a Pergo type floor.
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#4449759 - 07/04/17 07:10 PM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 682
Loc: Toronna
You should just start out with a higher grit than you think is necessary. You're going to kill yourself trying to sand it with the RO if it is a large surface. You could always use the RO in isolated spots or if you need to blend or something. You're going to save a ton of time even if you have to step down to a lower grit with the drum sander. You might have to live with certain imperfections depending on how far you can sand but you can just choose a dark stain if you need or want to hide them.
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#4449762 - 07/04/17 07:12 PM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
PimTac Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4329
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
I've always seen the pros use the drum sanders for the bulk of the floor and the random orbital for closer to the edges and corners. Some hand sanding was required for the corners. The tack board holes and such were matched and filled. Any board too far gone was chiseled out and replaced.

It's a dusty operation as well even with the collection bags. You will also need to vacate for the finishing due to fumes although they have products now that do not give off as much. 24 hours at least.
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#4449763 - 07/04/17 07:14 PM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
99Saturn Offline


Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1426
Loc: NY
FYI - when I said random orbital this was what i was referring to:

http://americansanders.com/2016/05/ez-sand/

Not a hand sander.


Edited by 99Saturn (07/04/17 07:16 PM)

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#4449781 - 07/04/17 07:32 PM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10590
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Years ago I did all the HW floors in our first home with a rental random orbit floor sander. I do recall going through quite a few sanding pads, but it was quick and easy for a DIY not experienced in this. We didn't mind the fact it didn't remove ALL the blemishes. It's dusty as you'd expect. I thoroughly vacuumed and damp wiped the floors down then coated them with a clear water based poly floor finish. Looked awesome and held up the years we lived there.

^ That unit looks a lot nicer than the Home Depot rental I used 20yrs ago.


Edited by JTK (07/04/17 07:33 PM)
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#4449882 - 07/04/17 09:21 PM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8662
Loc: North Carolina
How old is the current finish? If its a polyureathane and its not worn all the way through, you could buff it with 3m pads , clean and recoat.
If it is an older waxed floor, you will need to sand it all up.
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#4449962 - 07/04/17 10:48 PM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4766
Loc: MA
Drum sander is the only way. I picked one up years ago at Home Depot. They usually sell their old rental equipment. I think new they're like $2500, but used it was about $600 and that's what you can get or more when you sell them. Anyway, did a bunch of floors with it and then the last few years I finally gave up doing them and just have them done by floor sanding guys. Usually they advertise anywhere from $1-$1.50 a square foot and DIY it doesn't get too much cheaper than that. The big mistake with the drum sander is to stop while it's running, you have to hit the lever while it's still moving before stopping it. I see ruts on some hardwood floors all the time and it's a sign that it was a DIY job. Normally you start with 24 grit, then some combination of 36, 60, 80, 100, 120 depending on how the floors are. Usually you give it 3 coats. Those floor sander guys are usually fine with sanding, but they sloppy sometimes with putting the poly down and they sometimes cheat when they say they give you 3 coats. They sometimes use a sealer which dries in an hour, then they do a 2nd coat and come back the next day for a 3rd coat. Your back will be killing you if you use a random orbit sander. It's tough enough using that as an edger.

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#4450023 - 07/05/17 01:30 AM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
Driz Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 261
Loc: northern NY
I helped a guy do hardwoods like that a while back. Wow what a job, filthy nasty dust flying everywhere. You haul away literally multiple trash bags of dust. Big old fashioned drum sander is about all that will really did right down there. 1.50'sq foot is a bargain as it's a [censored] job. Find someone like this unless you are a glutton for punishment. I wouldn't even consider it after going through that. Get some decent free floating lay down like Pergo unless you are doing something historical or you just gotta have it.

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#4450095 - 07/05/17 06:57 AM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
SVTCobra Offline


Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 701
Loc: Battle Creek, MI
Drum - I refinished some floors years ago and I made the mistake of getting the RO sander because I was afraid of over sanding with a drum sander. I used the RO sander for hours and actually got my rental money back because I thought something was wrong with it. Got a drum sander and went really quick on highly cupped, and in some places gouged floors.
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#4450144 - 07/05/17 08:13 AM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
Alfred_B Offline


Registered: 05/12/15
Posts: 1968
Loc: America
Originally Posted By: 99Saturn
FYI - when I said random orbital this was what i was referring to:

http://americansanders.com/2016/05/ez-sand/

Not a hand sander.


that's the way to go if the floor is not in a bad condition. Drum sander may leave marks on the floor if you are not careful but will probably be the most useful on floors that are in a bad shape.

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#4450354 - 07/05/17 11:46 AM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: Alfred_B]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4766
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: Alfred_B
Originally Posted By: 99Saturn
FYI - when I said random orbital this was what i was referring to:

http://americansanders.com/2016/05/ez-sand/

Not a hand sander.


that's the way to go if the floor is not in a bad condition. Drum sander may leave marks on the floor if you are not careful but will probably be the most useful on floors that are in a bad shape.


Never really used one, but for the drum sander, I was able to find sandpaper online for around $2.50 a sheet and I think Home Depot is about $7-8 a sheet and it's not even really good sandpaper, it's the low end line, I got mid line sandpaper for that $2.50. Anyway, you go through a lot so I think those discs would add up to be a bit after a while. And the drum sander will even out the floors if they're cupped. I only did around 1000 square feet so you ended up with a trash bag full of sawdust, if you get too much more, maybe you're taking too much off the floors, you can only do them so many times before you hit the tongue and groove. If you DIY, you'll probably do a better application of the poly, you're only supposed to go in one direction in the grain of the wood and use a small brush around the edges so you don't get poly on the baseboard. Also the summer is the perfect time to do it, the high temperatures means the poly will settle down and you won't see brush stokes, in the winter when it's too cold, it won't really settle down and you end up seeing the strokes.

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#4481419 - 08/07/17 01:58 AM Re: Refinishing Floors - Drum or Random Orbital Sander [Re: 99Saturn]
99Saturn Offline


Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1426
Loc: NY
Likely going to go with the drum sander. For those that have done the job before, any feedback on approximate sheets needed?

This or something close will probably be what I use:
http://americansanders.com/2016/04/ez-8-drum-sander/

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