When it comes to making old wood floors look brand new or making new wood floors smooth and shiny, floor sanders and finishers are the specialists in that area. They use a variety of machinery and chemicals to remove any imperfections. They work in offices, buildings, stores and homes. In this occupation, there is expected to be an annual 15% growth across the United States. This results in approximately 200 job openings each year. The industries that employ the most floor sanders and finishers include building and residential finishing contractors and home furnishing stores.
Floor Sanders and Finishers Skills and Abilities
In order to succeed in tis trade, you will need a thorough understanding of machinery and tools such as sanders, buffers and brushes. A basic knowledge of building and construction is also helpful because you will be using materials, methods and the tools required for working in homes, buildings or other structures. Arm and hand steadiness and multi-limb coordination are essential since you will be handling machinery while doing a lot of bending, kneeling and lifting during the course of your work.
Floor Sanders and Finishers Duties
Floor sanders and finishers need to be able to handle, install, position, move materials and manipulate things. You will also be expected to analyze information and evaluate results to make the right decisions and solve problems. Some of the other tasks associated with the position include:
- Inspect wood floors for smoothness
- Scrape and sand areas of the floor that is inaccessible to floor sanders, using sandpaper, disk-type sanders and scrapers
- Guide sanding machines over floor surfaces until surfaces are smooth
- Place sandpaper on the rollers of sanding machines
- Seal wood by applying filler compound and coats of finish
- Get rid of excess glue from joints, using wood chisels, scrapers or knives
Floor Sanders and Finishers Tools and Technology
Floor sanders and finishers rely on a wide range of tools to do their job effectively. The most common tools include claw hammers, tack cloths for cleaning, floor buffers and waxers for polishing, floor scraping tools and power sanders. In addition, you may also be required to use computers. The software you can expect to utilize includes:
- Project management
- Floor planning
- Data base user interface
Education and Training for Floor Sanders and Finishers
Most Floor Sanders and Finishers have a high school diploma or less. While you are in school, a few of the classes you should focus on taking include:
- Business arithmetic
- Mechanical drawing
There are many ways to obtain employment in this field. Formal apprenticeships, which are supervised by building contractors or trade unions, teach you how to work with different sanding machines and tools and how to apply finishes after the wood floor has been sanded. However, the most common way of entering this trade is on-the-job training. In this instance, you will start out as a helper while working under the supervision of a skilled worker.
Floor Sanders and Finishers Salary
The salary for people working in this field can vary quite a bit, depending on your experience and what state you live in. The lowest 10% of floor sanders and finishers make about $22,000 a year while the median yearly salary is $35,800 a year. However, the top 10% of earn approximately $54,400 a year.
Floor Sanders and Finishers Jobs by Geography
Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee have the largest concentration of floor sanders and finishers by population. However, the top-paying states are New York, Missouri and Iowa. You need to look at all these different factors in order to determine which location is best suited to launching your career as a floor sander and finisher.