How to sand your wooden floor

Have you lifted up your carpet to discover a neglected wooden floor underneath? Learn how to bring it back to its former glory in this handy guide to sanding and varnishing.

wooden floor

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Get the right equipment

Like most DIY jobs, sanding a wooden floor is not difficult if you have the right tools. You will need an electric floor sander, which can easily be hired from a tool hire company, starting at around £60 a week. Look for one which does floor edging, so that it goes right up to the skirting board and doesn’t miss bits.

The Guardian recommends buying a special brush with synthetic fibres for applying the varnish at the end, as well as plenty of sandpaper, a bucket and mop, floor pad and hammer.

Prepare your room

Sanding creates a lot of dust, so open the window, close the door and put on safety goggles and a dust mask. Inspect the floor to check for any nails which may be sticking out, as these will catch on the sander. There are likely to be a few gaps in between the floorboards, but these can be easily filled by sticking a thin piece of wood in the gap with glue.

Begin sanding

Begin by sanding the floor with coarse sandpaper which you need to fit onto the sander. Start at one end of your room with the drum of the sander off the floor before gently easing the drum onto the floor and walking forward. Once you’ve reached the end of the room, you need to gently raise the drum off the floor again. If you are using a hand-held sander, lower it gently to the floor and sand with the grain, moving your sander side to side. Once you reach the end of a strip, turn around by moving the sander is a semicircle.


If you decide not to sand an existing floor, or need to replace parts which have been damaged, look out for wooden flooring which comes from sustainably managed forests. Shop around to find an online flooring company which meets your needs and can offer advice on how to care for your floor, such as


Once the dust has settled, vacuum and wipe your floor with white spirit. Once it’s dry, you can apply varnish to seal the wood.