How to Prepare Hardwood Floors for Staining

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    • 1). Load up 36-grit sandpaper in your drum sander. Raise the sanding surface off the floor using the raising-and-lowering lever on the sander. Start the sander and get it up to full speed.

    • 2). Sand the floor at a 45-degree angle in the direction of the floor boards, working from one end of the room to the other, grinding off the top layer of wood and smoothing away the sharp edges between the boards. Make sure not to let the sander stand in one place while it's running.

    • 3). Vacuum the dust thoroughly. Load the sander with 60-grit sandpaper. Sand the floor as before, except run the sander in the opposite 45-degree angle (perpendicular to the direction it ran during the first sanding). Vacuum the dust.

    • 4). Load the sander with 80-grit paper and run it in the direction of the floor boards. Vacuum the dust. The wood should be bare and relatively smooth.

    • 5). Re-load the sander with 120-grit paper and sand it in the direction of the boards again. This should smooth out the wood completely.

    • 6). Vacuum up the dust. Go over it by hand with tack cloths to take up any residual dust. The floor is now ready for staining.

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