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Homeseller Questions: Should You Sand and Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself?

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. In many cases they even add to the value of your property and really are at the top of many homebuyers ‘want’ lists. After a several years of use though most hardwood floors begin to look like they could do with a bit of help and if you are planning on putting your home on the market and making the most of them as a selling point you may need to have your hardwood floors sanded and refinished.

At this point many turn to Google, or even that old standby the Yellow Pages to find someone to do the job for them. Then they see an advertisement for a place that rents sanders and another thought occurs; why not do it myself?

Sounds like a great idea, a way to save a little money. There are a number of very good reasons though why sanding and refinishing a hardwood floor is not a job for an amateur, however good they believe their DIY skills to be.

The first problem is the actual machinery itself. Rental sanders are what those in the sanding and refinishing trade tend to refer to as “toy sanders.” But why? Rental sanders run of an average 110v household current that is they plug right into the wall. Very convenient but they lack the power needed to sand a hardwood floor effectively. A professional machine has a far more powerful motor (between 3 and 7 HP) designed not to stall and their weight and balance means they remain steady as they pass across the floor.

Because the rental machines are light duty however careful the amateur is using it will leave “chatter” marks on the hardwood floor. These show up as stripes or waves going against the grain of the wood and do not become easily visible until new stain and/or polyurethane finish is applied. By that time, it’s too late though.

The second problem is with the operator themselves. When professionals hire new sanding and refinishing technicians they have to go through months of training before they are allowed anywhere near a client’s hardwood floor. So an afternoon spent watching YouTube videos does not qualify anyone as an expert in sanding and refinishing hardwood floors.

Most people like to save money, but when it is time to sand and refinish your hardwood floor hiring a professional simply makes sense. Your hardwood floors are an investment that deserves to be protected and perhaps even pampered. In return they will add to the charm and value you need to get your home sold quicker.

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