Two Ways to Remove Aluminum Oxide Finish from Flooring

This post is based on our Facebook Live about the same topic, recorded on August 9, 2018. Follow us on Facebook to get updates about our upcoming Facebook Live videos and let us know of any topics you would like us to cover in future videos.

Removing aluminum oxide finish is a difficult task, and is something that you will have to do when trying to refinish prefinished flooring. This type of finish is typically UV-cured in the factory and has usually 5-7 coats of very hard finish. Aluminum oxide is mixed into the finish to give the floor very good wear resistance and scratch protection, which makes it extremely difficult to remove with silicon carbide sandpaper.

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There are two different methods you can use which we’ve found to be more effective than working with standard sandpaper: using a wood mastic removal block or Norton Blaze belts.

Removing Aluminum Oxide Finish with a Wood Mastic Removal Block

Using a wood mastic removal block

The wood mastic removal block, which attaches to a standard 16″ buffer like the American Sanders RS-16, will effectively remove the aluminum oxide finish without damaging the wood. The five blades are diamond-coated and can also remove carpet-back and mastic. Once you go over it with the mastic removal block, you can use the big machine to get the scratches out. These are 50-grit scratches, so you can start with 50-grit sandpaper or one step below when using the big machine. The mastic removal block method is much more efficient than starting at a lower grit, such as 24-grit sandpaper, and having to work your way up––which wastes your time and money.

Removing Aluminum Oxide Finish with Norton Blaze Belts

Using Norton Blaze Belts on Aluminum Oxide Finish

The second method is to use the orange Norton Blaze belts, which are made of premium ceramic––making them perfect for tough jobs like this. In the video, we started with a 24-grit Norton Blaze belt. Within one pass, you can see that a significant amount of the finish was removed. The key feature that makes the Blaze belt so effective at removing a tough finish like this is the fact that rather than dulling out as you use them, the ceramic particles fracture and give you another sharp edge so you can continue working much longer than you would be able to with lower-quality sandpaper.

Click here to purchase a wood mastic removal block.
Click here to purchase Norton Blaze belts.

Have you ever tried to remove aluminum oxide finish from a hardwood floor? If so, did you use one of these two methods? How did it go? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Two Ways to Remove Aluminum Oxide Finish from Flooring

  1. Frank

    Interesting video on aluminum oxide removal. However, I would like to know if anyone is aware of prefinished hardwood flooring WITHOUT ALUMINUM OXIDE in the finish. Somebody must make it, but I haven’t found it yet! Any info (brand names, etc.) of such aluminum oxide free flooring would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. City Floor Supply Post author

      Hi Frank – A lot, if not most of “big box store” hardwood flooring brands are finished using Aluminum Oxide products. However, our own Wide Plank custom flooring division uses various Aluminum Oxide FREE Finish Systems such as conversion varnishes, water based finish products, and penetrating oil finishes. All of our flooring is made to order specific to you and your flooring needs. Stop by, design it from scratch, choose your finish system, and we will have samples made just for you! In the mean time, check us out…


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