Prefinished floors with aluminum oxide finishes are one of the most challenging types of floors to sand. Finding the right product and sanding sequence can be a matter of trial and error—wasting time and money in the process.

While newer ceramic products do make sanding aluminum oxide finishes easier, there are still areas that make the process challenging the unpredictability of finish hardness, which wastes a lot of abrasives; the need to use a special sanding sequence; and the difficulty of edging. While some finishes may be as easy as a site-finished floor to sand, many are so tough that nothing seems to scratch them, and that wastes abrasives. The sanding method that has been taught for a while is to first sand with a fine grit like 80 grit to scratch the surface, giving a coarse grit like 36 grit a place to bite into the finish. This adds extra steps and time, and, most often, it will require you to do two coarse cuts to remove the finish and remove the bevels.

Norton has come up with a solution for these pain points with the introduction of BlazeX Fiber Discs and Blaze Plus Belts and Rolls. They use next-generation ceramic grain technology to make sanding prefinished floors as easy as sanding a site-finished floor in many cases, and they are designed to be used together as a system.

The type of ceramic grain used in BlazeX Fiber Discs and Blaze Plus Belts is designed for grinding the hardest materials, which makes it ideal for sanding prefinished floors. These abrasives don't require any special sanding sequence, so you can just start right off with 36 grit like you would on a normal floor. In most cases, the bevels can be ground down with the first cut, saving time. The rigid fiber backing of BlazeX Fiber Discs makes it very easy to sand edges. Though very aggressive, both BlazeX and Blaze Plus leave a fine scratch pattern like Norton Red Heat, so coarse grit scratches are very easy to refine, meaning you can use whichever Norton product you prefer to finish the floor after the coarse cuts.

Gregory Mihaich is Application Engineer, DIY/Professional Floor Sanding Markets for Norton Abrasives. He can be reached at (518) 266-2212 or greg.c.mihaich@saint-gobain.com.