There’s a big difference between sanding and buffing your hardwood floors. If they’re in rough shape and need to be brought back to life, you’ll have to determine the best method. A lot of people think the terms are interchangeable…not so.
Sanding: When you take on the job of sanding your hardwood floors, you’re going after coarse sanding equipment to remove all the finish and all the stain. A lot of layers need to be removed to get under the existing stain and sealer. What you should see after a lot of sanding is natural wood. Once you get down to the natural wood, you start sanding very carefully to remove imperfections – scratches and nicks. A drum floor sander is ideal and can be rented. Sanding must be done several times using progressively finer sandpaper. The goal is to get the floor as smooth as possible. Once you’ve done all the sanding, get ready to stain!
Buffing is different. Unlike sanding, buffing means you’re tacking small areas of the floor if needed. If there are shallow nicks or small scratches, you would be buff it out by hand. Your options for buffing include either doing it by hand or with stand-behind machinery you can rent. Either way, it’s very important to clean your floor before getting started.