how do i refinish old beaten splintery loft floors, inexpensively?

my floors are in terrible shape. they are old, there are holes, uneven planking, chipping paint, often provide splinters, and are very hard to clean. they need to be sanded down, painted, and sealed. however hiring a professional is far beyond my budget, and am here looking for ideas on how to do it myself.

note, ive considered renting a floor sander, but have been advised against it for 3 reasons: 1) very expensive 2) very messy 3) possibility that the professional grade floor sander might further damage the floor, by ripping up loose planks, or chipping the old wood. its been suggested to me to try using a palm sander, but that seems to take FOREVER.

id like to seal the floors. any creative approach is helpful.

thanks!


Burf8 years ago
"Inexpensive" is really subjective, mostly dependent on what you expect from the finished project.
First and by far, most important, is to make sure the floor is structurally sound.
Assuming that it is, the least expensive way would be to glue down split and splintered pieces, replace the planks that can't be repaired and re-nail all the loose boards. If you do this step properly, a power sander will not tear up the planks.
Then, fill the cracks, low spots, nail holes and gaps with a professional grade wood floor filler, sand (by whatever means fits your budget) then seal and finish only the repaired areas or refinish the entire floor, if that fits into your budget. For the best results, use products made specifically for wood flooring applications.
Re-design8 years ago
Yes, rent the sander.  I agree the orbital sander is much less likely to damage the floor when used by a non-professional.

Before you start sanding you should repair as much of the floor as you can.  Reset any loose nails.  Renail any boards that are not nailed properly.  Fill holes with wood filler.  Replace rotted boards.

After sanding any repair will have to be resanded so that the floor is level.

A sander with a dust collection system should be very clean and cleanup should be easy.

What ever paint varnish urethane product you use make sure it is listed for floors.  And follow the directions closely, especially when it mentions temperature and humidity.  The last thing you want is a paint that won't cure because you applied it too low a temp.

Good luck.
jeff-o8 years ago
Rent a floor sander!  If you try to do it by hand your arms and hands will fall off.  There are two types of pro floor sanders, random orbit and drum sanders.  The drum sander is the one that is likely to tear up floor boards, so avoid getting one of those.  Make sure that the sander you get has a dust collection system.  This will collect most of the sawdust, but there will still be lots of cleanup.  There's no avoiding it.  Make sure you wear a respirator, too!

There are many types of floor sealant, and the best one to use will depend on the floor, the environmental conditions, and how much traffic the floor will experience.  Consult with the salesperson on the best type to use.