I am very new to this sort of project, but I recently moved into a new apartment and want to restore its old hardwood floors. It was carpeted when I moved in, and with a friend who redid HIS hardwood floors we pulled up the carpeting, removed all the runners, nails, staples, etc., and noticed that the old floors underneath were painted (a very bland brown).
Anyway, we rented a drum sander and an edger one weekend and proceeded with the sanding. The drum sander removed the paint from the floors just fine, but when the Edger hit the painted floor the friction caused the paint to melt onto the sandpaper and it got all "gooped" up. Suffice it to say that we had to scrap the job that weekend, as it seemed certain that I had to remove all that old brown paint from the perimeter of three rooms before all the sanding could be done.
My question is how to MOST EFFICIENTLY remove all that paint? I've tried various combinations of a heat gun, manual sanding, and a scraping tool. We had the most luck with the scraping tool, but it was still SO labor-intensive that I can't imagine there's not a better way to remove this paint. My friend suggested AGAINST using chemicals for fear of jeopardizing the polyurethane coating we will put on top of the eventually to-be-sanded floors.
Additionally, when I mentioned this to a fellow at Home Depot while trying to get supplies, he said if it's old paint that's gooping up as I described, it's probably LEAD PAINT! Does this sounds correct, as I have only been using a basic cotton mask and SOMETIMES gloves, no shirt, etc. Have I been contaminated???