There are a number of sandpaper manufacturers these days who supply quality products for the floor sanding industry. As with many products you tend to find you will get what you pay for. Basically there are three general classifications of sandpaper that are most popular in trade circles. This is just a brief overview of some of these.
Most metalite belts you find are generally of a brown to blackish colour. These belts are made of an aluminum oxide and are the most common abrasive grain in the marketplace. These belts while being the least expensive will do a great job in sanding your timber floors. When compared to other zircona style belts they will not get the same sort of meters but they tend to have a more even grain. By this I mean there tends not to be as much variance in the individual grain sizes when you look across the surface of the paper. This means if for instance when you are sanding a floor with your belt machine these style of belts will provide a nice even looking surface without the track lines. Some of the better manufactures of these style of belts are NORTON and SIA.
Zirconia alumina belts tend to be of a blueish colour and are becoming ever more popular with the guys in the floor sanding industry. Because of the mineral used in these belts you will tend to find that you will get a lot more wear per belt or disc when compared to the metalite sandpaper. The upside of this is that you are obviously not changing your belts or discs as much and saving a lot of time. Some of the quality manufacturers of these belts now produce paper that has a very even grain pattern. These belts are slightly more expensive than the metalite belts but when you look at the life you are getting out of them they do weigh up quite favorably. Some of the more popular brands in these belts are HERMES, NORTON and SIA.
These belts are a relatively new addition to our industry and are made of a ceramic alumina for longer life and faster cut and a more consistent finish. Feedback from our customer on these belts has been very positive since their introduction. Once again these are a premium product and this is reflected in the pricing. In saying that if you want something that is going to last and you get a quality finish then you really can’t go wrong with these belts. Currently the only manufacturer of these belts is NORTON ABRASIVES.
The selection of the type of mineral you use for your sandpaper is just one of many things to consider. Other thing you may want to look at is if the backing is cloth or paper and also have a look at how the sandpaper is joined.