Little 2 inch circles on sanded wood floor

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Q: I used an edger as part of sanding down a floor. Now, there are little circles around 2 inches in diameter that are incredibly light compared to the rest of the floor. I have sanded the floor several times, even with 20 grit paper to try to blend the color, but the circles are still there. I can’t move on to sealing and varnishing the floor until I get these circles gone. I am certain it was the edger that created them… How can I fix this?

A: I’m a bit confused by your description. You mention using 20 grit which is extremely rough sand paper. I only use it for extremely nasty floors on the initial sanding to remove paint or old shellac or a wax on varnish type coating. It leaves very heavy and deep scratches. Little circles sounds like a mark one might get from the bolt holding the paper to the edger pad when the edger is in bad repair and the shaft is worn out. Regardless, the entire perimeter should be sanded with an orbital or random orbit sander using 80 grit followed by screening the main area with a polisher and 100 grit screen. This is assuming hardwood and not softwood.

Follow-up Q: Hi there. I appreciate your quick response. Here is the scenario: oak floors, and first time sanding and refinishing. Actually, I was mistaken… it was 36 grit on the edger. I rented a sander and an edger and 36 paper for both as well as 80. I ran the edger first, which was a mistake, then ran the sander. I saw the horrible difference and went back and got 20 paper for the sander to match the edgers job. 2 Passes with 20 paper and its still awful.

I finally found last night that hand sanding with 60 paper is blending the wood. However, I was only able to get half the living room so far before having to stop and with the exception of the bathrooms and kitchen. Every room has the swirl marks and this is going to take days and days at this rate. Is there a faster, easier method?

A: I try not to use anything rougher than 40 grit for the first sanding and work my way to finer grits, not skipping more than one grit. For example, if I rough sand with 40 technically you should go to 60 though I generally go to 80 and if it is for staining, finish with 100 grit. It sounds to me your grit selection is way off. And it takes quite a lot of practice to become skilled at running these machines. Maybe you can call in somebody to finish it off? Or perhaps you can rent one of those flat pad machines. I’ve never used one but now that the finish is all removed you may get a smoother job.

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