Prepare the Room
Order of Work
The direction of sanding will depend on the floor's condition. If it is fairly flat, it may be possible simply to use the sander up and down the boards' grain. If the floor is uneven, or has a very thick coating of paint or varnish, start across the grain. Sanding at a right angle to boards may damage them, so sand at 45 degrees. Cross the room in one direction, then the other before finishing along the grain. Reduce the coarseness of the sandpaper as you progress, finishing with the finest grade.
Protecting Yourself and Your Home
Sanding is a very dusty, noisy and messy job. Wear protective clothing, including ear protectors and a respiratory mask. Cover and mask around doors to prevent dust from spreading throughout the house (image 1). Open all windows, so that you work in a well-ventilated room.
You need three sanders: a heavy-duty drum sander (a drum wrapped in sandpaper that rotates at high speed) (image 2); a heavy-duty edging sander (image 3) and a corner sander (image 4). Each requires sandpaper in a particular shape, which is available from the rental store. The paper is expensive and will tear if it is not correctly fitted. Make sure nails do not protrude from the floor. Unplug the sander before changing paper, and allow it to cool if any parts have heated up while in use.