If you’re familiar with the process of refinishing wood floors, then you should know that sanding is a significant part of most floor refinishing processes.
While sanding wood floors is highly important and beneficial, we will be looking at the dangers of sanding wood floors.
Some of the dangers associated with sanding wood floors are mostly health-related hazards like lung damage, irritation, and even cancer!
But that doesn’t mean that wood floors shouldn’t be sanded since this is a critical aspect of the wood floor refinishing process.
However, with some safety precautions, most of these dangers can be avoided and managed.
Now, let’s discuss some of the dangers of sanding wood floors you might not know about, shall we?
Dangers of Sanding Wood Floors
As mentioned above, sanding is an essential and major aspect of the process of wood floor refinishing.
However, it is vital that we examine some of the downsides of sanding wood floors so that we can try as much as humanly possible to avoid these downsides.
Some dangers of sanding wood floors are listed below:
1. Health Hazard
Health hazard is a broad term that comprises a wide range of terms. Studies carried out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) show that there is a high increase in nasal cancer among woodworkers in Europe.
This study also linked wood dust in workplaces to asthma, bronchitis, lung, sinus, throat irritation, shortness of breath, and skin problems.
When the wood dust is inhaled, it can result in the appearance of small wounds on the lung’s surface, which ultimately decreases the lung capacity.
This might take a while to become noticeable, but you don’t want to take a chance.
Some timbers are toxic and listed in the allergen chart. Thus you might want to check out the timber your wood floor is made of before sanding.
Irritation in the nose, sneezing, skin flushing, itching, and runny nose might happen when you’re sanding some wood floors.
In fact, timber is listed as a potential irritant! This might not be as life-threatening, but prolonged exposure might lead to something more serious.
If you’re highly sensitive, you should probably avoid where ever wood floors are being sanded.
Some timber can make people more sensitive when they are repeatedly exposed to them.
2. Fire Hazard
Dust particles are highly flammable! As a thumb rule, most substances with dust particles like flour, sawdust, etc., are highly flammable when they have access to oxygen.
When one dust particle burns, it lights a nearby grain like a chain reaction until it finally results in an explosion.
An incident in Allenton published by the Mcall recounts an unfortunate incident where a house caught fire when the floor was being sanded during a hardwood floor refinishing project.
You might say something like, ‘fire and ignition sources shouldn’t be close by when floors are being sanded.
But do you know that during the course of sanding, the sandpaper grit is not only working against the wood but also the nails?
A small spark is produced as it strikes the nail head, which can easily ignite the wood particles, given how flammable dust particles are.
Read Also: How To Seal Hardwood Floors Without Sanding
3. Injury Hazards
You should already know that all sanding machines are highly dangerous.
Any machine that can remove top layers of wood floors can easily remove any part of a finger or toe in a mishap.
It follows that all safety precautions should be observed when sanding wood floors.
4. Floor Damage
When using a sanding machine, failure to move the machine forward quickly will result in a noticeable depression in the wood you can’t remove.
Yes, all sanding machines are capable of creating deep depressions, ridges, and cross-grain scratches.
Sometimes, you should leave the sanding procedure to the professionals instead of doing it yourself.
Note that frequent sanding can easily wear out the floor.
Thus, before you embark on another sanding exercise again, you should check the quality of your wood floor.
Frequent sanding makes the wood floor too thin and thus unsandable.
How to Eliminate Dangers When Sanding Wood Floors
- If you’re calling in professionals to sand your wood floor, ask them what type of sanding machine they are to use. The sanders should be connected to tubing that carries the dust to bags outside.
- Hire a company with good equipment and reputation
- After completing the sanding process, schedule air duct and system cleaning to remove wood dust
- Do not stay in the house when the floors are being sanded
Pros of Floor Sanding
While we have extensively discussed the dangers of floor sanding, we have always mentioned that floor sanding is an integral part of refinishing hardwood floors.
You might wonder, why is that? Well, below are some of the advantages of floor sanding.
1. It is The Most Effective and Efficient Way To Remove Damaged Woods With Worn Out Finish
Why is floor sanding such an essential aspect of the wood floor refinishing process?
Well, for one, sanding is the best way to restore damaged floors.
So yes, floors with deep scratches or heavy physical damage can easily be restored after a sanding procedure.
After sanding and refinishing, floors will look almost as good as new.
2. Sanding Is Necessary If You Want to Change the Color of The Wood Floor
Since sanding involves removing the top layer of your wood floor, it’s the best procedure to adopt if you want to stain your wood with a different color.
3. Sanding Helps reduce the Pests in Your Home
If you are suffering from a severe pest infestation in your home, trust us, a simple sanding will help get rid of these pests.
Bugs have a habit of hiding in between floorboards and subfloors.
Once the floor is sanded and coated with a protective finish, it seals up all the spaces in the floorboards preventing these pesky pests from inhabiting your home.
4. Sanding Reduces the Possibility of Splinters
It’s normal for worn-out floor woods to have splinters.
Splinters can get in your feet and cause serious injury if care is not taken.
How then can these splinters be eliminated? By sanding! Once the floor is sanded, you can then go ahead to apply a protective finish to prevent splinters from occurring.
5. Sanding Makes the Floors Easier to Keep Clean
Are you having problems with cleaning and keeping your wood floor clean? Then maybe your wood floor needs a good old sanding.
Once the floor is sanded and coated with a quality sealer, it ceases to accumulate so much dirt and dust.
It is much easier to keep your floors clean if you keep them sanded and sealed properly.
6. Increases the Value of the Home
If you know a thing or two about real estate valuation, then you should know that properties with hardwood floors installed are valued highly.
So, if you’re thinking of selling your house, having beautiful hardwood floors that are appropriately sanded and coated can increase the property value of your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Refinishing Hardwood Floor Toxic?
Yes, some processes involved in the refinishing of hardwood floors can be pretty toxic.
For instance, irritation in the nose, sneezing, skin flushing, itching, and runny nose might happen when you’re sanding some wood floors.
Also, since dust particles are highly flammable, sand dust can constitute a fire hazard in some circumstances.
Again, fumes and gases from the finish are dangerous and shouldn’t be inhaled under any circumstances!
Can You Stay in House While Floors Are Refinished?
No, you can’t. Not only will the house be too messy for you to stay in, but you will also have to deal with fumes that come from the polyurethane finish, which are quite harmful to inhale.
Do Floor Sanders Make a Mess?
Yes. Floor sanders will definitely make a mess! You will probably have sand dust littered all over the house when they’re done.
Although, you can make inquiries for a floor sander with a ‘dustless sanding machine,’ which can minimize the amount of dust generated.
Is Dustless Floor Sanding Really Dustless?
Not entirely. The only difference is that the amount of dust generated is greatly minimized.
Yes, sanding is a critical aspect of the wood refinishing process. But either way, we must acknowledge that there are some dangers of sanding wood floors that can be avoided and minimized with the right care.
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