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Striped, stained, studded with traces of shock, an old solid parquet needs to be renovated after a few years. An operation a little constraining, but without real difficulty. And the result is worth it!

Sand the floor

Practical tip

Disassemble a radiator on feet

For non-suspended radiators, two solutions are possible. Either leave them in place, which requires to circumvent the feet, or disassemble to be able to treat the room in its entirety. This option is quite simple if the radiator is equipped with a low setting tee. After unscrewing the protective cap, close the valve with an Allen key. Count the number of turns to find the initial setting when reassembling.
Close the high tap, and drop the pressure by opening the trap. Loosen the bottom fitting nut above a container. Depending on the size of the radiator, the drain may be longer or shorter. Finally, completely unscrew the top and bottom nuts, release the radiator and place it on two thick wool pads to slide it. In building with collective heating, the solution of dismantling is to be avoided.

The renovation of an old floor, or the surfacing of a new floor, uses the same techniques. You must bare the wood, make it impeccably clean, without any trace of glue or stain, and deliver an absolutely smooth surface. The implementation tips will be identical, whatever the finish considered: wax, paint or glazer.

Rent the sander

The power belt sander is not suitable for sanding an entire workpiece. His skate is indeed too small to allow a correct surfacing. It will therefore be reserved for nooks and finishes.
Rental shops and DIY superstores all offer professional floor sanders. These machines "biting" allow to carry out the work in a minimum of time, and without excessive fatigue (except for transportation that requires a weightlifter musculature). Indeed, they are used standing!
With the big drum sander, you also need rent a rider. It is a circular plate sander, mounted on wheels, very practical to complete the work along the skirting boards and under the radiators.

The operating principle of the roller sander is simple. The motor drives a removable drum lined with a flexible rubber band on which a strip of abrasive paper of suitable width is pressed. Two eccentrics ensure both tension and blockage of the tape on the roll. The first change of band requires a bit of trial and error, but the trick is acquired quickly enough.
The sanding is not too messy thanks to the efficiency of the suction system that sends the sawdust in a removable bag of good volume, acting as a filter. It is swiveling on one side or the other to be able to shave the walls.
If the bag is so bulky, it is because the work produces a significant amount of dust. This does not prevent that it must be interrupted regularly to empty it. An operation to be done with care, dust, very volatile, spreading freely everywhere.

Preparations before sanding parquet

It's better to rid the room of everything in it: furniture, carpets, curtains, partition doors, threshold bars... Once the room is completely empty, a complete inspection of the floor is needed to estimate the preparatory work.
This detailed review should be used to drive the nails deeply and remove the metal parts that could tear the abrasive belt: the machine rental companies add to the bill the price of consumables.
The application ofa stripper or shampoo for parquet floors is recommended in the presence of a soil heavily loaded with encaustic. This will prevent rapid fouling of the belts.
On oak or chestnut, be careful not to use soda lye that may darken these very tannic woods. The important spots will be treated in depth with the shampoo, following the recommendations of the manufacturer.
The damaged parts will be repaired with a special wood paste (preferably two-component), or by placing a piece.

Sand the floor smoothly

The first pass, roughing, is done with abrasive "gros grain" (about 60). For a first-hand grip, it is best to become familiar with the reactions of the machine, starting in an inconspicuous part of the room, an angle or the location of a piece of furniture. Using the handle as a lever arm, the machine must be tilted backwards by pressing on its casters before operating the switch.
Once the engine is running, you must slowly lower the sander by starting to move forward to avoid digging the wood at "landing". It is then sufficient to accompany smoothly the progress of the sander printed by the rotation of the roller. Then it is a question of advancing, always in the direction of the wood grain, keeping a pace as regular as possible.

In the same way that the attack is done by bringing the drum gently to contact, it is necessary to relieve the machine just before it comes up against the walls. For the rest, simply shift the machine the width of the band minus a few centimeters.
This roughing phase can require two or even three passes, depending on the state of the parquet floor. Finishing is then done with abrasives of increasing grain (average, 80 to 100, then fine, 120 to 140). This until you find all the finesse of the grain of the wood.


Sanding is followed by careful dusting vacuuming. We must not neglect a final step, too often obscured as it conditions success: a simple mop barely wet, passed on the wood, completes its preparation by collecting the last residue.
It is also the moment to apply with a brush a curative insecticidal treatment if the presence of xylophagous insects has been detected.
The finishing time arrives: varnish, wax, oil, which technique to choose?
The polishing or vitrification can finally be carried out after 24 hours of drying to a minimum.

Sand a parquet floor: sander

Heavy furniture, sofas and metal beds leave marks on the floor. The power belt sander can make up for this damage, but on a very limited surface.

to break the doors

For convenience of work, it is best to empty the room. Similarly, disassemble doors by prying with a crowbar resting on a fulcrum not likely to mark the wood.

remove a threshold bar

Take advantage of the job site to dismantle the sill bars and make them shine new. You will save time by avoiding having to polish closer to the floor of the next room.

first pass of a floor sander

The first pass of the sanding machine is spectacular. Depending on the condition of the floor, it will take two or three complete facings with a coarse-grained strip before switching to a finer abrasive.

Sand a parquet floor: floor

Unplug the power cable before working on the machine to change a worn or torn abrasive belt. Note that the drive shaft nut is screwed to the left.

Sand a parquet floor: sand

Use the worn tape as a template for cutting a new part. The ends have a slight bias whose angle and direction must be respected for proper placement.

Sand a parquet floor: floor

The abrasive belt is stretched and held by two eccentrics facing each other. The band should fit perfectly around the circumference of the drum, otherwise it may wrinkle and be unusable.

Sand a parquet floor: parquet

The ruler is used in the direction of the wood grain, printing machine light circular movements. A rubber guide makes it possible to sand closer to baseboards without touching them.

Sand a parquet floor: sand

This sander slips under cast iron radiators where a conventional machine does not pass. Otherwise, it will be necessary to ensure the work with an abrasive fixed on a wedge in wood, or to use a scraper.

Sand a parquet floor: parquet

The belt sander is used for finishing along skirting boards and for small areas. As with all sanding operations, work is done in the direction of the wood grain.

Sand a parquet floor: parquet

Cross sanding is to be avoided because of the marks that the abrasive prints in the wood. For places inaccessible to the border, the scraper is needed. It can be made by putting a shard of glass straight on a split tool holder. The tool is inclined at approximately 45°.

Sand a parquet floor: sander

The corner sander excels in hard-to-reach corners, where the rollers and circular pads can not go. But the work is a little long, because of the reduced dimensions of the pad.

Sand a parquet floor: sand

Equipped with a fine-grained abrasive, the belt sander does not mind the work. Here, in full parquet, it is used for the very last finishes on the edges of blades in light relief.

Sand a parquet floor: floor

Once the floor is properly sanded, vacuum, then a wet mop.
If you choose to wax the floor, the heat gun (set to minimum) will help feed the wood.

Video Instruction: Sanding and Refinishing Parquet Floors (whole process)