Sanding Floor With Hand Belt Sander

September 18, 2022

Sanding hardwood floor using a hand belt sander.

One type of belt sander that you can use to sand out damages on the floor and old finish is the hand belt sander. While this sander type is not as quick as the regular drum sander, it will still get the job done for you. When using this sander, you need to keep moving from side to side and forward and backward to get the job done. You can move it in a circular motion for optimum results likewise. Moreover, you need to apply more pressure on this hand belt sander to get the job done faster. 

However, the hand belt sander is not for sanding the edges. Of course, you can get close to the edges, but it will not get to the very edges of the room. Besides, it might go against the grain when sanding the edges, leading to a bad outcome. Nevertheless, you can expect a reasonably smooth result when sanding along the grain using this sander.

Steps on How to Use the Hand Belt Sander to Sand Floor

Before using any power tool like the handheld belt sander, it will be best to learn and know the straightforward steps on its use. It will also help if you are familiar with the tips and tricks on sanding using a hand belt sander. Below is a rundown of the simple steps on how to use the hand belt sander:

Step 1: Check the Floor Conditions

Before turning on your hand belt sander, you should first inspect the floor. Check if the floor has enough thickness to undergo sanding. Knowing how thick the wood floor is will help you determine how many times you can sand down the floor. Check if the floor is clean and even. If you see that the floor is even, you can achieve the desired smoothness by sanding along the floor’s length.

Nevertheless, if you see that the floor is warped and got lots of damages, it will help sand the wood along its length and diagonally. Moreover, you can determine the floorboard’s condition by inspecting it. Based on your observation, you can determine the sandpaper grit you will use for sanding the floor. When sanding, you only need to utilize three abrasive grades: 40-60 grit sandpaper; 80-100-grit; 120-abrasive for the finish.

Step 2: Prepare the Floor for Sanding

Before you start sanding, you should prepare the room for sanding. Remove all window treatments like curtains from the room. Remove all the mats and furniture likewise from the room. If you can’t remove any pieces of furniture like the piano or refrigerator because they are pretty heavy, make sure you cover them with a plastic cover. In this way, you can prevent dust from settling or damaging your appliances and furniture. 

Seal the undersides of the doors to prevent dust from escaping out. 

Ensure you wear all the safety gear like goggles to protect your eyes from injury and a face mask to protect your lungs from the dust. Moreover, you should wear your earplugs to protect your ears from loud noise generated by the sander.

Step 3: Prepare Your Hand Belt Sander

If the floorboard is not warped or uneven, you need to sand it diagonally. You can use 40 to 60-grit sandpaper. It will be best to begin at the farthest corner of the room. But before you begin sanding, you should tilt the hand belt sander to ensure that the abrasive face will not hit the floor before switching the sander. 

Then, switch the sander and move the belt sander to let it come in contact with the floor and begin sanding. As a caveat, you should not run the sander while not moving to avoid uneven sanding. 

Before reaching the opposite corner, you should tilt the equipment and lift the abrasive from the floor before hitting the skirting board. Turn the sander around and redo the initial process. Move again in a parallel line with that of the first pass. Slightly overlap with the first pass. 

Continue sanding until you sand the entire room. As you begin with the next round of sanding, repeat the abovementioned process. But begin in the adjacent corner to let the sander cross the previous sanding at the right angle.  

Step 4: Use the Right Sanding Grit

The floorboard’s condition will determine the abrasive grade you will use on your handheld belt sander. You can start with 40-60-grit sandpaper. Then, proceed with the use of 80-100-grit. Then, end with 120-grit sandpaper. It will help keep the sander moving when sanding to prevent it from digging into the floor. 

When sanding, you should ensure you remove the old finish. Otherwise, you will end up with a lousy finish after staining. After sanding, you can thoroughly vacuum the floor to remove dust and debris before applying the stain or coat.

Step 5: Sand the Wood’s Length

After sanding the floorboards diagonally twice, you can transition to the second-grade abrasive using 80-100-grit sandpaper. Start sanding along the wood’s length. Begin at the room’s corner and move across the wood’s length. 

As you reach the opposite end, tilt and lift the sander, turn around, and move the machine parallel to the previous pass. Overlap with the previous pass to ensure you cover every part of the floor. Once done with the two passes, you will notice that the floor surface will appear smoother. 

You should complete the passes to smoothen the entire floor. Once done with sanding the entire floor, you can transition to the 120-grit sandpaper and repeat the abovementioned procedure. You can use a sanding block for sanding the room’s corners manually.


When using the handheld belt sander, it will be best to learn the necessary techniques and steps to do it right. The portable handheld belt sander got designed to remove materials extremely fast. Often, this sander gets used to rough out wood before transitioning to the use of the random orbital sander for a finishing touch. 

Unlike the random orbital sander that features round sanding pads, the portable handheld belt sander comes with a sanding belt that revolves around two drums or rollers. Moreover, the handheld belt sanders get usually classified according to the width and length of their belt. 

How you select the right sander usually depends on what your projects are. For example, if you work on big projects, you can go for four by twenty-four sander. Yet, if you only work on smaller areas, you can go with the three-by-twenty-one sander. The handheld belt sander has a pretty straightforward design. You can detach the belt with ease and replace it with a different belt. So, you will not have a hard time operating and changing its belt. 

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