A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Sand a Timber Floor

Renovating or refreshing your timber floors through sanding is a rewarding DIY project that can breathe new life into your living space. Sanding a timber floor, when done correctly, not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also contributes to the longevity of the wood.

Step-by-step process of how to sand a timber floor, ensuring a professional-looking finish that you can take pride in:

  1. Gather Your Tools and Materials:

Before starting the Floor Sanding Process, ensure you have all the necessary tools and materials. This typically includes a floor sander (drum or orbital), an edge sander, sandpaper of various grits (coarse to fine), a vacuum cleaner, safety gear (goggles, dust mask, and ear protection), and wood filler for any gaps or imperfections.

  1. Prepare the Room:

Remove all furniture and cover any fixtures or items that cannot be moved to protect them from dust. Seal off the room with plastic sheeting or drop cloths to minimise dust spreading to other areas of your home. Open windows and doors to provide ventilation.

  1. Inspect and Repair:

Examine the timber floor for any protruding nails or staples. Secure loose boards and address any structural issues. Fill gaps and cracks with wood filler, allowing it to dry thoroughly. This step ensures a smooth and even surface for the sanding process.

  1. Start with Coarse Grit Sandpaper:

Begin the sanding process with coarse grit sandpaper (around 24-36 grit) on the drum or orbital floor sander. Start in one corner of the room and work your way across the floor, following the direction of the wood grain. Overlapping each pass, move systematically to cover the entire floor. Be patient and take your time, allowing the sander to do the work.

Floor Sanding

  1. Edge Sanding:

Use an edge sander to reach areas that the main sander couldn’t access, such as corners and edges along the walls. Ensure a consistent sanding level by blending the edges with the main sanded area.

  1. Medium Grit Sandpaper:

Switch to medium grit sandpaper (around 60-80 grit) and repeat the sanding process. This step helps to remove the scratches left by the coarse grit sandpaper, smoothing the surface in preparation for finer sanding.

  1. Fine Grit Sandpaper:

Continue with fine grit sandpaper (100-120 grit) to achieve a smooth and polished finish. Take extra care during this stage to eliminate any remaining imperfections and achieve a uniform appearance. The finer grits prepare the wood for sealing or finishing.

  1. Vacuum and Clean:

After each sanding pass, use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the floor. A clean surface ensures that subsequent sanding passes are effective, and it provides a clearer view of any remaining imperfections.

  1. Inspect and Touch-Up:

Once the sanding is complete, inspect the floor for any missed spots or areas that may need additional attention. Touch up these areas with the appropriate grit sandpaper to achieve a consistent finish.

  1. Seal or Finish:

After achieving the desired smoothness, decide whether you want to seal or finish your timber floor. There are various options, including polyurethane, oil-based, or water-based finishes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your chosen product, applying the appropriate number of coats and allowing sufficient drying time between each.

  1. Allow for Drying Time:

Once the sealing or finishing is complete, allow the floor to dry thoroughly before moving furniture back into the room. This may take several days, depending on the product used.


By following these step-by-step instructions, you can successfully sand your timber floor, reviving its natural beauty and adding a touch of sophistication to your home. Remember to prioritise safety, take your time with each step, and enjoy the satisfaction of transforming your space through this DIY project. If you’re unsure or dealing with extensive damage, consulting with a professional may be beneficial to ensure the best results.