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So, you have decided that your old and tired hardwood floor needs to be re-finished. Unfortunately, you have a few deep scratches so a small buffering job is just not going to cut it.You realize that you will need to rent a big drum sander or orbital sander and get this floor down to the original wood. Sure, it is a big, noisy and dusty job but it is doable if you feel up to the task.

How many sanding sheets will I need for a floor sander?

As you are planning out the budget and picking up the necessary tools, you will most likely run across this very common question.

This is usually a tricky question to answer, as it will often depend on the surface area of your floor as well as the condition that your floor is in. For example, if you have a really old floor or one that is in bad condition, you may need to start with an extremely coarse sandpaper.

Let’s assume that you have an average-sized room around 20 ft by 20 ft and that the floor is only slightly worn.

In this case, you will want to start your sanding job with a 36 grit paper to take off the top layer of stain, paint and wax, etc. You will want to use this coarse paper to go right down to the original floor. By the time you are done, there shouldn’t be any old stain left on the floor.

From here, you will want to sand the floor with a 60 grit paper, a 100 grit paper and possibly a 120 grit to get a really nice, smooth finish. When shopping for sand paper, it would be wise to pick up large quantities of the 36, 60, and 100 grit paper. Most hardware stores will let you return un-used sandpaper so don’t worry too much about that.

It is key to replace the paper often, as you will find that it gets worn out quite quickly and will become ineffective at delivering a nice, even sanding. This is why it is always best to overestimate the amount of sand paper that you will need.

Unfortunately there is no set guideline as to just how much paper you should buy, however, here is a rough estimate for a standard-sized room with a typical wear and tear.

  • 36 grit paper:  12 sheets
  • 60 grit paper:  8 sheets
  • 100 grit paper: 8 sheets
  • 120 grit paper: 5 sheets

More Coarse Sand Paper

Again, this is obviously just a very rough guideline. You will notice that you typically need more sheets of coarse paper. This is due to the fact that the coarse paper is taking on the tough job of removing the old stain and is really doing the bulk of the sanding work. The rest of the grits are simply smoothing it out and making the floor ready for the finish.

Of course, there is always the option of hiring a professional wood floor sanding company that would take care of all these decisions for you and make life much easier.