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Floor Sander

Job Duties

Floor sanders, sometimes referred to as floor finishers, are responsible for scraping and sanding wooden floors. They use floor-sanding machines to sand the floors to a desirable smoothness. They inspect the floor to ensure the appropriate quality of smoothness has been achieved. If there is any excess glue remaining on the floor surface, they remove it using knives or wood chisels. Sometimes they sand wood floor surfaces by hand using sandpaper. When the sanding phase is complete, they apply several coats of finish to the wood.

Floors serve an important basic function in all buildings. However, their decorative value can greatly contribute to the appeal of a building, as well as its value. Floor sanders work on floors in many different types of structures, including homes, offices, hospitals, stores, restaurants, and other buildings.

Job Skills

Aspiring floor sanders should have a number of desirable traits. They should have excellent manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. They need to be physically fit. A good aptitude for solving quick mathematical problems is very helpful.

Income

In 2002, floor sanders earned a median hourly wage of $13.22. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $8.96, to the highest 10%, who earned more than $22.51.

Training and Education

Some floor sanders learn their skills in an informal way by working under the supervision of experienced workers. Most employers prefer to hire sanders who have completed formal apprenticeship programs, usually sponsored by local unions and employers. Apprenticeship programs combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, which is typically held once or twice a week at training centers and covers all aspects of the work. Graduates of these programs are much more desirable to employers because they are fully trained.

In order to be considered for admission to apprenticeship programs, applicants must be at least 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers also require a background check and a driver's license. Sometimes a written test or interview are required. Most programs last about 3 to 4 years. With experience, floor sanders may become supervisors or estimators, or they may start their own businesses. In fact, many employees who work for large contractors end up starting their own businesses. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.

Employment

In 2002, floor sanders held about 17,000 jobs. Most worked for flooring contractors or floor covering retailers.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of floor sanders is expected to increase more slowly than the average. There will be a continued need to renovate and refurbish existing structures. However, the increased use of prefinished hardwood and similar flooring will have a negative impact on the employment of these workers.