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I'd like to sand the hardwood in a bedroom and a somewhat weathered deck. The bedroom is mostly in good condition, but in a couple of spots the wood is worn from traffic and furniture. I could forego sanding the deck and just paint it, but after a small experiment with a belt sander, I found that the surface is much smoother/nicer after sanding. The main difficulty there is that to get the surface to be smooth, I also have to remove the old paint, which may use a lot of sheets of sandpaper (or is it actually possible to take off a sheet of sandpaper, shake the paint off, and reinstall it? —— alternatively, is it possible to hose down the deck to dislodge some of the old paint, and then continue with fresh sandpaper?).

My local big box has three kinds of sanders for rental. Which one should I use? Will just one fit both jobs?

  1. Square Buff Floor Sander

square buff floor sander

  1. Floor Sander

floor sander

  1. U-Stand Pro Random Orbit Floor Sander

U-Stand Pro Random Orbit Floor Sander

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The Square Buff Floor Sander is a big version of a palm sander. In other words, you attach a piece of sanding paper and the machine shakes it in some pattern.

The Floor Sander is a big version of a belt sander. Unlike a belt sander (where the sand paper comes as strips with the ends glued) the large version just takes an ordinary rectangular sheet of sanding paper. The paper is wrapped around a drum and is inserted in a notch in the cylinder to stay put.

The U-Stand Pro Random Orbit Floor Sander takes a flat sheet of sanding paper, but one cut in a circle. It is not advised to use this machine by someone without some experience, because it can easily spin out of control, damaging the floor. It must be held steady.

To summarize, for minor marks in the hardwood, use the Square Buff Floor Sander. For major marks, use the Floor Sander. Either way remember to keep moving, and steadily, to get a uniform layer off.

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