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Square Buff Floor Sanders - Cheap Fix Mostly

Square buff floor sanders are targeted at the do it yourself Video on this pagemarket because of the ease of use and not needing 220 volt power as do traditional and more aggressive sanding machines professionals use. But a question many may be asking; does it really do the job?

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Most of the machines available for rent at the big box stores are manufactured by Clarke; a recognizable floor equipment manufacturer with a long history. However, most professionals simply do not use square buff machines with the exceptions of abrading finish coats Gaps in floor not filledduring the finishing process. Even so, most are more comfortable with traditional rotary buffing machines. Using the square buff system for rougher sanding sequences has also been known to create scratch pattern problems

Scratch Patterns?

Scratch patterns are simply the appearance of the hardwood after a sander has passed over it. Ever try refinishing a piece of furniture? The first few passes vividly shows the pattern, but as you remove more finish, bare wood appears and the patterns aren’t as visible. A stepped up speed or pace with the square buff can also leave elongated scratch patterns that are more visible once any stain or finish is applied. Then it's too late to fix.

Does It Do The Job Effectively?

For floors that need deep sanding the answer is a resounding no. We’re looking at ones that may have damage depths greater than 1/16 of an inch, or over wood that needs to be flattened. Houses settle over the years as do floors. Slight differences begin to appear in the vertical height of one floor board to another. Run your hand over a much older floor and you can feel the differences. For newer floors that were originally site finished this may not be an issue. Prefinished beveled or micro beveled floors on the other hand, will have these issues. In no way or form is it even worth considering a square buff machine for handling these. It simply takes too long along with the time and costs involved.

Leaving Old Finishes Behind

Those unfamiliar with floor fishing don’t know the signs if the finish has been completely removed. While it may look like it, wait until you apply the first coat after you think it’s ready. In due time any new finish will begin to peel or flake, making all the previous work worthless.

Look At Those Gaps!

Another problem with unsuspecting weekend enthusiasts is not filling cracks or gaps. Older floor cleaning agents may be clinging on the underside waiting to breathe. Once that happens, and it will (typically with prolonged humidity) you’ll see more failure. By crack filling, any cleaner or wax residue is neutralized.

See A Story On Fixing A Square Buff Sander Job

Transcript of the video

Pictures taken before the work started told the story. We learned Video transcriptfrom the homeowner a handyman attempted to refinish this 2 ¼ inch red oak strip floor. Folks, even though you may think you’re saving a ton of money, think about the final look, not to mention how long your house will be torn up once they botch the job and you find a real pro to fix it.

The handyman used a square buff sander. Folks a square buff sander won’t handle this work. This older floor needs serious equipment for another life as we start with a rough 36 grit paper on the drum sander.

And what about those grand canyon cracks in the floor? It was obvious no filler was even considered by the handyman. Here the finisher hits the heavy ones prior to trowel filling the entire floor after the first complete pass with the drum sander.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a square buff edger, have you? An edger is a tool the pros use to sand around the wall lines to create an even consistency with the drum sanding. Here the finisher starts with the rough grit edging. More crack filling continues with the floor filler.

Moving along or once the filler has dried, the finishers continue to sand the floor with progressively finer grits of sand paper. This includes drum sanding and edging the entire floor again. Once all the big machine work has been completed the fine tuning of scraping and lightly sanding corners or where the edger cannot reach is taken care of.

The next step involves sanding the entire area with a buffer and 100 grit mesh screen. This final step in sanding takes care of any sanding marks left behind by the drum sander and ties in the edging area for a final and consistent smooth as a baby’s bottom surface ready for the coating of the floor. Finally the areas are vacuumed and the application of finish begins.

Before and after pictures are shown.