How Many Times Can You Sand Hardwood Floors: Practical Solutions

No matter how careful you are, wooden flooring gets damaged over time. Naturally, you want to fix it, but how many times can you sand hardwood floors? No one wants to damage their floor accidentally. Moreover, you don’t want to replace those beautiful boards if you don’t have to. Luckily, sanding is an option when it’s done carefully. Depending on whether you’ve done this before, or someone has anyway, your number of sandings may be limited. Certainly, sanding does remove some of the wood, so you need to be careful. After working on many hardwood floors over the years, I will share what I know about sanding and refinishing. While there is a limit to what the boards can take, it’s probably more than you think. 

How many times can you sand hardwood floors? Typically, you can sand a hardwood floor up to ten or twelve times. The skill level of the sander matters, as does the depth of any damage. Unfortunately, the deeper you need to go to resurface your floor, the less wood will remain. Still, most minor damage is easy enough to sand away if you are careful. 

How Much Wood Is Removed When Sanding Hardwood Floors

When asking how many times you can sand a hardwood floor, it helps to know how much wood you are removing when you sand. Naturally, this will depend on how much sanding you actually do. A professional will be able to remove on request if they are experienced. However, when you DIY, it pays to keep an eye on how deep you are going.

In general, sanding can remove up to a quarter of an inch from your floorboards. Especially if you have deep gouges or scratches to get rid of, the sanding may need to be deeper. Unfortunately, it’s not okay to sand down in one area, creating uneven spots in the flooring. Doing this can lead to uneven replacements and even trip and fall hazards over time. 

Additionally, depending on how thick the original wood is when installed and how thick the finish on top, you may need to be more careful. However, for a general, light sanding to refinish the floor, you may end up taking far less than a quarter inch. 

Pro Tip: Never sand against the grain of the wood. You want to move smoothly along the boards. This will almost always mean moving down the length rather than across the board, but pay close attention if you are working on smaller or square pieces such as those around the edge of a room as they may face a different direction than expected. 

How Many Times Can You Sand a Pine Floor

A good pine floor can last decades. How many times you can sand hardwood or pine flooring isn’t always a simple question of thinning the boards out. Although this is also a concern, the real issue is sanding down far enough to expose the heads of the nails used to install the flooring. 

Once the mail heads are flush with the surface of your floor, it is time to replace the boards. Heat, cold, and moisture cause wooden boards to swell and shrink. Resultantly the nail heads can rise above the floor level once it has been sanded down this far. Those small nails are a danger to shoes, feet, pets, and even furniture. 

According to The Flooring Girl, “It’s fairly common to find pine in homes built before 1920 and/or on the steps or upper floors of older homes.” Pine is softer than the wood used in most hardwood floors. Unfortunately, that makes it easier to damage both accidentally and while sanding. However, it is noteworthy that heart pine has a Janka scale rating of 1225, making it nearly as hard as oak. Similarly, some aged woods can become almost like a rock over time. This includes pine. 

You will likely sand deeper than you intend if you’re not extremely careful. However, you can sand a good pine floor at least three or four times with a standard three-quarter-inch thick board so long as you are wary and don’t dig in too deeply with your sander or sandpaper. It’s best to refinish pine floors as rarely as possible, but it can certainly be done. 

I recommend a Dewalt Electric Orbital Sander from Amazon. This well-known and trusted brand in tools has been around for almost a hundred years. The separate counterweight design makes this sander easy to handle. Moreover, the powerful 2.3 AMP motor sands at 14,000 OPM, so you can get the job done fast. To learn more about the Dewalt Orbital Sander, click here

How Often Should You Refinish Hardwood Floors

How many times you can refinish hardwood floors will always depend on the boards’ thickness and the depth of the nails. You need to check the depth of your boards before a sander ever goes near them. in some cases, a hardwood floor may only be a veneer of quarter-inch boards, and sanding can strip the flooring right off. However, most three-quarter inch hardwood flooring needs to be refinished every five to seven years. 

The difference, two years, may seem like a lot, but it all depends on the traffic in a home and the care taken. A busy house with kids and pets, where furniture gets dragged around, will need a refinish much sooner. Meanwhile, an older, less active single with wood floors in a vacation home that is closed up and cleaned for half the year with no one in residence won’t need to refinish floors anytime soon. In the latter case, every ten years might be appropriate. 

Most hardwood flooring will need to be refinished four to eight times in total. After that, you need to replace the boards. Aging, sanding, use, and the nails coming closer to the surface combine to give wood flooring a finite life. 

Choose a TackLife Classic Mouse Detail Sander to reach every corner of your hardwood floor. The shaped tip on this sander easily handles narrow corners and unique design shapes. You can use the vacuum cleaner connecting pipe with your home vacuum to remove sawdust as you work for a safer sanding experience. Better still, these sanders are designed for prolonged use so you can do large floors without worries. Have Amazon deliver to your door by clicking here. 

How Many Times Can You Refinish Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Prefinished hardwood flooring can be a superb timesaver when you install your own floor. Can you refinish it when the wear starts to show? Fortunately, the answer is a qualified yes. So long as your prefinished hardwood floor is a solid board, not a veneer or engineered, you can refinish, change the color, and more. 

One of the nicest things about choosing prefinished wood is that you don’t need to spend the extra time on installation. Not only can you avoid doing the finish yourself the first time, but you also don’t need to wait for it to dry, so you can install and then walk on it the same day. 

On the other hand, a prefinished hardwood floor will show wear much sooner. Luckily, you can refinish these floors about five times before they need replacing. Like all wood floors, prefinished wood isn’t going to last forever, but it still has a long lifespan. 

How Thick Do Hardwood Floors Need to Be to Refinish

Before you can sand hardwood floors multiple times, it’s important to know whether you can sand them at all. The best way to establish this is to pry up on board gently. Choose a spot on the wall and out of the way and insert a pry bar to lever it up, and once you have the board lifted measure the depth. 

It would be best if you had a board that is at least half an inch to sand. Most wood flooring is three-quarters of an inch thick when it is installed. You can technically sand flooring that is only an eighth of an inch thick, but it’s a terrible idea. When you sand flooring too thin, it can crack the wood or even sand through completely. Sanding half-inch flooring when you could remove half the board is one thing, but any less, and you may not have the floor when you finish. 

A BLACK+DECKER Belt Sander with Dust Bag can handle large floor areas efficiently. The dust bag helps collect any debris and sawdust as you work so you can breathe easy. Meanwhile, the innovative front roller allows you to reach even the tightest corners, and the retractable, three-position handle offers more control as you work. See the outstanding reviews on Amazon when you click here. 

Final Thoughts

Every hardwood floor needs sanding eventually. Regardless of how careful you are, wood will still age and need refinishing. It’s crucial to take no more off than necessary, but with a little patience and care, you can do this yourself for a fraction of what it costs to hire the pros. 

If you are unsure how many standings a floor has had, you may want to pull up a couple of planks and get a look at their depth. When flooring gets too thin, the weight of normal activity can crack and split boards. This is bad for the floor, but more importantly, it’s dangerous for you. 

Sanding your own floors can be immensely rewarding. Although it takes a little time and sanding equipment, the satisfaction of a job well done and a stunningly refinished floor are well worth the effort.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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