The grit of a particular sheet of sandpaper refers to the amount of abrasive particles per inch of the paper. The higher the grit, the smoother the sandpaper will smooth the floor; the lower the grit, the coarser the sandpaper will scrub the floor. The specific sandpaper grit to use depends on the type of floor surface you are sanding.
If you sand a new hardwood floor, you want to begin with a coarse-grit sandpaper, and follow it with different sandpaper that has increasingly finer levels of grit. For the first pass, use a 40-grit sandpaper. Follow this by sanding the floor with an 80-grit sandpaper. The final sanding would be with a finer sandpaper, such as 100 or 120 grit. If you are completely removing a wood floor's finish, start with an even coarser grit of sandpaper, like 36 grit. Follow with a 50 grit, then an 80 grit, and finish sanding with a 100- to 120-grit sandpaper.
Sanding resilient flooring is also an effective method to remove minor scratches that are not deep from the floor surface. Follow the same sanding principles as you would with a wood floor, and begin with sandpaper that has a medium grit, and follow with sandpaper with progressively finer grits until you totally remove the floor scratch. For example, begin with a sandpaper that has an 80 grit, which is used to remove small surface imperfections. Follow with a 120-grit sandpaper, and finish with a sandpaper of 150 to 180 grit.
Ceramic Tile Floors
When ceramic tile floors lose their luster and you want to work them back to their former glory, sanding is one of the first things you do before applying primer and painting the tiles. If the tile surface is a little rough, it is even more inviting for the paint. For the tile surface, use a fine-grit sandpaper, which is the grit you use for a final sanding pass. A 180-grit sandpaper will work.
Tips While Sanding
Anytime you use sandpaper, you will create dust, no matter how fine it may be. Wear a dust mask to protect your breathing while you work. For hardwood floors, you will likely be doing the work with the sandpaper installed on a walk-behind machine or a handheld power tool, but when you are sanding on your knees, you might want to wear knee pads. Make the sanding job easier, even on smaller areas, by wrapping the sandpaper around a block of wood instead of simply folding the sheet of sandpaper over.
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