Hardwood floors are durable and retain warmth, unlike other types of flooring. A drum sander is a powerful tool with replaceable abrasive sheets that sand wood flooring to a smooth, dazzling finish. But before you turn on the machine, you have to set the stage. Check the floor for any protruding nails and cracks or gaps that need to be repaired, and then sweep the floor. Preparation also includes making sure you have a dust mask, eye and ear protection and that the room is well ventilated because sanding is noisy, dusty, messy work. Once you've gotten everything ready, it's time to roll out the drum sander.

A drum sander is a big tool that takes getting used to. Start out in a part of the room that is less visible, like where furniture usually is, until you feel that you can control the movement of the sander. There are two ways to use a drum sander. One method is to go along the length of the floorboards from side to side. Make sure to tilt the machine before turning it on and off, and don't stop in one place because the sanding belt can easily damage the floor. The sanding belts you choose depend on the condition of your flooring; sandpaper comes in different levels of abrasiveness.

Another method is to sand the floor diagonally, from one corner to the opposite one, turning around and going back, again making sure to tilt the sander as you turn. Start over again from the adjacent corner to be sure you have sanded the entire room. If you are using coarse sandpaper, go over the floor again with medium and then fine sandpaper. There are some places that a drum sander can't reach, so for those areas, you'll need an edge sander to complete the job.

Refinishing brings out the original beauty of the wood, but it can only be done so many times because each sanding takes off a layer of wood.