Sanding wood floor


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Hi! I'm helping a friend (re)finish the original wood floor in an 80 year old house. The floors have been covered with various tile, linoleum, carpet etc over the years. After removing everything that can be scraped up, we are left with a blotchy layer of what appears to be tar paper that has adhered to the floor over time. The paper has been removed but there is still tar? remaining on the wood that needs to be removed as well.

Chemical strippers just make a big gooey nasty mess of it all, and eliminate the chance to go back and try again with the sander as now anything the chemicals were applied to is nasty and just gums up the sander.

Sanding this tar paper dry is tedious using a large commercial orbital sander and 60grit paper. It took me 15 minutes to sand a 2x2 square to bare wood. I am going to rent a more aggressive sander but am pressed with a choice between drum type and belt type. I am a newb as far as dealing with this tar paper wood combo, and was hoping that someone else has encountered it before and may offer some advice. Would you think the drum sander or belt sander would be best for this job? or do you have another suggestion?
 
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I am planning a similar project for the 3 upstairs bedrooms in an old rowhome rental in a cheap Philly neighborhood. The floorboards are 1" x 4" planks that smell like pine to me. They are in pretty bad shape. I thought the cheapest solution would be to rent a sander, give a once-over to remove the dirt layer and then paint using dark brown color. (I somehow doubt that even multiple passes with the sander will result in stain-worthy planks) I figure once beds & other furniture are brought in only a little bit of floor will show anyway. Area rugs can cover those spots if desired.

I'll use the belt sander that others seem to prefer. Of course, I could end up covering them all in luan and then some vinyl flooring if the cost for the rental, sand paper & paint turns out to be more expensive.
 
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I am planning a similar project for the 3 upstairs bedrooms in an old rowhome rental in a cheap Philly neighborhood. The floorboards are 1" x 4" planks that smell like pine to me. They are in pretty bad shape. I thought the cheapest solution would be to rent a sander, give a once-over to remove the dirt layer and then paint using dark brown color. (I somehow doubt that even multiple passes with the sander will result in stain-worthy planks) I figure once beds & other furniture are brought in only a little bit of floor will show anyway. Area rugs can cover those spots if desired.

I'll use the belt sander that others seem to prefer. Of course, I could end up covering them all in luan and then some vinyl flooring if the cost for the rental, sand paper & paint turns out to be more expensive.

One of the preoblems will be the heads of the nails in the planks used to secure them, unless they are all well sink down, they'll rip your sander to shreds. It's a really time consuming job anmd you're bound to miss some.

As it's a rental, you could get some wood effect laminate flooring, cheap, quick and a lot less hassle.
 
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Yes. I have installed laminate floors a few times. The cheap stuff sometimes pulls apart too easily and tenants tend to not care for it well. Still weighing options. May sand-&-paint the smallest room to see what I'm going to face.
 
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