Summer’s here. Don’t burn your customer’s house down.

After this DIY Floor Sanding project which went horribly wrong  in Geelong, it might be timely to drop a reminder about the inciendiary nature of sawdust and coating residue.

When you’re all quite done having a little snicker at the suffering of a DIY floor sander (and we know you are…), it’s not just DIYers who have this problem…

It’s happened to us. An inexperienced floor sander doing a “love job” for a friend/customer borrowed our buffing machine. After using the machine and filling the dustbag with fine dust and oil modified residue, they decided to give the machine a break by letting it sun itself outside on the nice open decking on a 30+ degree day.

The resulting inferno left a neat hole in the $6,000 Merbau deck. The hole was shaped just like a buffing machine, as in those cartoon scenarios where the cartoon character runs through a wall leaving a hole shaped like them.


The sad part was that our buffer, which plunged two metres to its death, was only a week away from retirement.

Another contractor was brave enough to confess that he once left his finishing machine, in like manner, in his van. Miraculously, the machine and van survived.

Don’t let it happen to you! Empty your bags. If neccessary, soak the contents with water. Summer is meant to be fun…


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2 responses to “Summer’s here. Don’t burn your customer’s house down.

  1. An old collegue of mine recently had a fire after the pilot light on a boiler (fitted right next to the floor) lit the filler fumes. The rarety of things like this happening though is tiny. Dust should go straight outside when the machines are emptied. I have heard more stories of dust igniting without notice than anything else

  2. We’ve heard the same thing. The high-solvent sealers gas off quite aggressively when curing, and pilot lights for hot water systems have been known to flame them off. It’s not lethal, but enough to singe your eyebrows and give you a fright if you’re standing in the wrong spot. The dust fires are more common where oil-based coatings have been used. Even the rags used to wipe off natural oil coatings will spontaneously combust if left in a pile.

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