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Pre Finishing Preparation

The Flecto Technique

Materials Needed: 3M 20 grit (very coarse), 36 grit (coarse), 60 grit (medium), and 80 grit (fine) sandpaper, 3M Scotch-Brite sanding pad, coarse, medium and fine sandpaper disks for random orbiting sander, wood filler.

Equipment Needed: Respirator, SQUAR BUFF orbiting floor sander, edger or random orbiting sander, putty knife, sanding block, scraper, wet/dry, bag vacuum.

The Flecto System is the new toy in town. The SQUAR BUFF sander is a 130 pound orbiting sander. This does not make it unique. KT’s Planfix Finisher, to mention another, is a 95 pound, rectangular, orbital finisher. The SQUAR BUFF gives two handed control, wheels, double the sanding surface of the KT Planfix and automatic raising and lowering of the sander arm. In other words, it is heads and shoulders above the competition.

What makes this tool unique, is that where the other orbiting sanders are tools meant to supplement the drum sander, the SQUAR BUFF is meant to supplant it. The Flecto Verathane(R) people have discovered a market niche, "you, the consumer," and are trying to work it for all its worth.

Although the SQUAR BUFF is slower than the drum sander, in many ways it is the answer to a Do-It-Yourselfer’s prayer. It is just about goof proof. It is light enough for a woman to use so a single gal is not at the mercy of us macho types. It can be used on any wooden surface.

The Flecto Varathane(R) people have produced a beautifully written and illustrated How To brochure entitled "Floor Finishing System," and designed a product display that houses all the 3M and Varathane(R) products necessary for the process. The brochure even tells you how much product you will need for different size rooms. All in all it makes floor refinishing pretty close to a "no brainer" which is just the way I like my DIY jobs to be.

Loading the SQUAR BUFF sander is very simple. Attach the 3M Scotch Brite pad to the Sander, then lower the sander on to one of the self adhesive pads.

1. Make certain that the floor has been thoroughly cleaned with a 4 oz. dry measure of TSP per gallon of water solution and rinsed several times. If the surface was waxed, a stripper should also be used.

2. For safety’s sake, turn off all pilot lights and allow no smoking during sanding. Tape shut the forced air vents and returns. Always wear a respirator when sanding a large surface.

Sanding and vacuuming are equally important to successfully refinishing. The job will go a great deal faster if you can finagle a buddy to work with you. One sands, one vacuums. Both of you should wear respirators. Be sure to use a bag mounted wet/dry vacuum because the fine sanding dust can ruin the motor of a regular wet/dry vacuum.

3. The SQUAR BUFF people recommend that you begin the refinishing sanding procedure by scoring the surface with a medium sanding pad, then switching to the very coarse (20 grit) or coarse (36 grit) sandpaper to remove the finish.

The coarse paper may get clogged with finish residue. When that happens sanding efficiency goes way down and you will be producing a lot less sanding dust. Change to a new sheet of sandpaper immediately.

This is slow going and you’ll find conversation difficult through a respirator and over the vacuum and sander. Be prepared to spend a lot of quality time with yourself. Think great thoughts about baseball, fishing, redecorating or cousin Alma’s scandalous romance. You can’t rush this. You can make the job less boring by trading off with the person doing the vacuuming.

4. When the finish is removed, smooth out the surface by resanding with medium (60 grit), then fine (80 grit) sandpaper.

5. After the final sanding and vacuuming, inspect the floor thoroughly. This is the time to make any minor repairs that may have been exposed by the sanding process. If nails or nail holes are showing, now is the last chance you have to fill them. Be sure to counter sink each nail carefully. Use a matching color, commercial wood filler, such as Fix and Patch by the Darworth Co. or Smoothie Latex Wood Filler by Basic Coatings. Apply the wood filler with a putty knife; clear away excess; let dry completely, then hand sand.

The vacuuming job is not completed until floors, walls, sills, every possible overhang has been cleaned.

6. Finally, sweep down the floors with a broom covered by a slightly water dampened cotton cloth.


New Floors
Finishing and Refinishing
Pre Finishing Preparation
Refinishing Procedures
Floor Care and Maintenance

Pick a topic from "Pre Finishing Preparation"

You can’t scare me. How do I get started?
How should I prepare new hardwood floors and put down the finish coat?
What tools should I use for sanding?
What is the professional technique for sanding a wood floor?
Professional Drum Sanding Technique for new wood floor, or an old wood floor where refinishing is required.
16" Buffer Technique
The Flecto Technique
Refinishing a painted hardwood floor to the natural look
Can I refinish a factory finished hardwood floor?
Telling a prefininished from a site finished hardwood floor.

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