LESLIE: Elaine in Kansas needs some help refinishing a hardwood floor. What’s going on?
ELAINE: We discovered that we have solid oak hardwood flooring in our living room and dining room and …
TOM: That’s a good thing.
ELAINE: They’re beautiful but they’ve never been finished.
ELAINE: And we were told that there was a machine that would help you sand these down and that it would self-contain the sawdust or sanding dust to eliminate the majority of the mess.
TOM: Yeah, there’s actually a couple of machines that do that. Now, the professionals will use a floor sander, which is like a big belt sander, and that does contain some of the mess. But there’s another machine called a U-Sand – and it’s simply U-S-a-n-d – that is one machine that has four spinning like disk sanders underneath the same head with a big sort of vacuum attachment to it. I’ve used that machine on my house and it works real well; very minimum amount of dust and it’s kind of hard to screw up your floors. If you use the big floor sander and you hiccup, you know …
LESLIE: Lean too much on one side.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. You’ll put a big dent in it. But the U-Sand is very forgiving, so …
LESLIE: Yeah, it floats very evenly; you’re not going to press too hard on one side and cause a divot.
TOM: It really depends on how much you need to take off. Now, have these floors been covered by carpet?
ELAINE: Yes, they’ve been since the day the house was built.
TOM: The other option might be to rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen. Now, it’s a buffer just like you would use in sort of a commercial building to apply wax or something like that. But instead of a buffing pad, you use a sanding screen that sort of looks like a window screen that’s a round disk that goes underneath it. And what that does is it just takes off the upper surface of the floor; kind of freshens it up and gets it ready for the next coat. And if those have never been really used before, that might be all you need and you may not need to sand it down much more than that.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit on air and online at MoneyPit.com.