When sanding a floor, you need a floor sander, but if stairs are involved, you'll also need an edge sander. Both sanders are necessary to produce good results.
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Use a floor sander by sanding in a back-and-forth motion, going over the same strip of wood several times. Start out with 36-grit sandpaper, then move up to 60- or 80-grit sandpaper, if necessary.
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