As an independent flooring inspector, I am often asked to look at sanded floorboards.

A very wise man once told me that floor sanding is almost as much about understanding and managing clients’ expectations as it is about the actual process. I took his advice and from that day I have experienced very few issues relating to floor sanding.

When we train new floor sanders, I remind them that they have one of the toughest jobs in the industry and so they need to remember the 3m’s.


Check the floor for moisture. Look for black rings around the nails. Remember that lacquers nowadays are water-based and so may fail if the floor has a moisture content that is too high. To check this, a specific pin meter is needed.


Talk to the client. Some folk want the floor looking almost perfect, others looking rustic, gappy and old. Most are in the middle. If can gauge what condition the client would like the floor to look like, then you will be largely successful.


Some clients want their floor to look like a brand-new table top, which is often not possible. They will need reminding that the floor is 100 years old, full of historical damage, staining and rot. This mean it won’t be possible to achieve this miracle sanding result.

In a lot of cases that I look at as an independent inspector, the issues could have been almost certainly avoided if the checks had been made and the clients expectations managed.