I'm looking to have some hardwood floors refinished. Its one large room and a tiny hallway under 250 sq ft so I could get all the sanding done in 1 rental day.

What are the usual steps? Off the top of my head I'm guessing:

  • Pop up the shoe molding
  • Use an edger to sand all around the room
  • Use the drum sander for the rest of the room
  • Then use some type of filler for any gaps/holes/imperfections, let it dry, and do one last sanding
  • Vacuum/Wipe up all dust
  • Stain if I decide to not leave it natural
  • Apply poly (Oil or Water based) in 3 coats according to the manufacturer and let it dry/cure

I've done far harder DIY jobs. Just debating if its worth me doing this one or leave it to the pros at an extreme premium cost.

  • You're asking for a start-to-finish tutorial here, it seems. That's too broad for this site, and this topic has been covered fairly well already. Also, pricing discussion is off topic here, so it's not even important to mention local costs. Whether it's worth doing is completely subjective and also not for us to decide.
    – isherwood
    Apr 13, 2023 at 18:19
  • Yes. Those steps should work. How well it works depends on your skill level and experience but you're on the right track. Nobody here can say if it would be better to hire someone to do it for you.
    – gnicko
    Apr 13, 2023 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


Large orbital sanders are an alternative to using a drum sander. They use a large square sheet of sandpaper about 18 inches by 18 inches. They work well for DIY use as they are less aggressive. With a drum sander a momentary loss of concentration can result in a large divot in the floor. Being less aggressive orbitals require repeated passes with multiple sheets. The orbital action means you can get very close to baseboards. A sheet of corrugated cardboard taped the baseboard will prevent most damage. They don't typically have a vacuum system so you have to allow time for the dust to settle for your final clean up. Also watch the local weather as very humid conditions can have a considerable effect on drying times.


Have done multiple times over the years. Normally drum sand first, then you can see where and how far you need to edge to match it.

Beware that the common approach is either expecting a LOT of damage to remove, or designed to get you to replace the floor faster by sanding it away in large amounts. If you don't have a lot of damage you might want to give the 24 or 36 grit a pass, and/or consider another approach entirely.

Don't forget hearing and dust protection for the operator.

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