All vacuums are not made the same. More importantly a vacuum “system” are not all made the same. While all vacuums have great initial suction, with hardwood and fine dust that is not the main concern. With fine particles you want a vacuum that keeps the same suction throughout the process of using that particular vacuum. By having constant suction you are able to suck all particles and transport them out of the house. Usual houses are over 350 sq. ft. of wood and you need to empty filters/bags multiple times. On a typical 350 sq. ft floor we are removing 50 gallons of dust. If the dust containment system is not 98% or above efficiency the whole time – you are getting gallons of dust in your house.

The Different Vacuums

Shop Vac's

Shop vacuums are a common vacuum used in the hardwood flooring industry. The reason shop vacuums are so commonly used is they are easily readable and are very cheap. However, homeowners will soon notice the issue with these type of vacuums, they have very little filter surface and get clogged very easily. The hoses are meant to be run at a 5 foot maximum and not used for 8 hours a day. The filters are to be changed every 30-60 min of use with fine particles due to clogging.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Easy to buy
  • Great initial suction

Cons:

  • Loses suction
  • Spews dust within 5-10 min of use
  • Meant for 5′ foot hoses and no longer
  • Dust containted in the house
  • Worse than the bag method
  • Leaves dust everywhere
  • Leaves debris on the floor
shop-vac-example

Canister Vacuum's

Canister vacuum’s are very popular when refinishing a hardwood floor. They are better than shop vac’s as they are designed for wood flooring. The reason they are so popular is due to the price is not a killer on the bank and they have better filtering options. While this option is truly better than shop vac’s it still has the major issue of clogging within 20 minutes or so due to the design. When the filters get clogged suction plummets and dust is no longer sucked. When dust is not being sucked it is being thrown around the house.

Pros:

  • Decently priced
  • Meant as an entry level option for ¬†hardwood flooring
  • Great initial suction

Cons:

  • Will start throwing dust around 15-20 minutes
  • only 10′-15′ of hose allowed
  • About the same as the bagging method
  • Dust is contained in the house

Dust Bags

Dust bags are what has for over 100 years come with hardwood flooring machines. This option was the best option until around 20 years ago. It captures around 70% of dust. When people think of refinishing they think of the dust and bags/shop vac’s are the reason why. These options if not managed every 5-10 min will shoot out dust into the air of the home. Another issue is the dust is contained within the home. What this means is that when you take the bag off dust will shoot out of the bag into the air no matter how careful you are.

Pros:

  • Free option
  • Sucks up 70% of dust

Cons:

  • Very dusty
  • Loses suction every sq. ft. of sanding
  • Leaves dust in your house
  • 100 Year old technology
amax engine of vacuum

Trailer Vacuums

Trailer vacuums were specifically made for hardwood refinishing. These vacuums are the only vacuums to be truly dustless certified and green air certified. What this means is that 99% of dust is sucked out of the house and ran to our canister outside. With the big blower on this machine the suction is over 3.5 any other vacuum option on the market. The bag/filter on this system is like having 125 canister vacuum filters. The filter is 5 feet tall vs 6 inches tall. The suction is simply fantastic. This option allows you to not worry about dust all over your house. Trailer dustless vacuums are what A-MAX Hardwood uses on every job at no extra charge.

Pros:

  • certified dustless
  • certified green guard safe
  • dust canister is outside and not in your house
  • hoses can run 300′ feet without suction loss
  • Constant suction for 30-40 min

Cons:

  • expensive
  • parking