Floor refinishing Frenzy!

We’ve refinished lots of floors in our restoration history.  The first house we bought had hardwoods hidden under the carpet.  To conserve money, we decided to tackle the refinishing ourselves.  We ended up refinishing them three times before we were happy with the finished product.  The sanders we rented spewed dust, went through sandpaper like it was made of toilet paper, and the polyurethane tended to have bubbles in it for no reason.  We spent more money on the sander rentals, sandpaper, and the tools to spread the finish than we would have spent on a professional to do it for us.  We did learn a few things.

1.  Staining the floors prior to finishing them will pick up every imperfection, every swirl mark left by the sander, every stain…..everything.  If you are a perfectionist….you may want to reconsider staining your old hardwood floors.  Floors finished without stain will be beautiful.

2.  Refinishing floors yourself may save you money, but it won’t save you much money and the hassle is hardly worth it.  The sanders you rent are lower quality, spew dust (even the dust-free ones), and will not give you the same product the professionals will.

Right now, we are working on two rooms.  We are nearly done with both rooms (horray!) and the proof is that we are refinishing floors!  Many of the floors in this house were covered by a thin hardwood floor at some point.  A laminate type floor that looks like it was installed in the 1950’s.  When we were removing this laminate floor, we uncovered the original hardwoods.  In the dining room, we uncovered an amazing herringbone pattern with two different woods.

Pulling up the laminate flooring

Pulling up the laminate flooring

Hubby took that picture to prove I actually do work, too.

Dining room floor

Dining room floor

I cannot fathom why in the world anyone would cover that up.  My only guess is that a laminate floor guy told the owners that the laminate would be cheaper to install than refinishing the original floors.  It was probably good that they installed the laminate as it likely protected the original floors.

Here’s the dining room with all the laminate floor removed:

Dining room floor - laminate removed

Dining room floor – laminate removed

And here’s the “front room” (we don’t know what else to call this room….for now it will be the living room, but eventually it will be the parlor….maybe?) with the laminate removed:

Front room with laminate removed

Front room with laminate removed

Notice that the wax was applied around the rug?  Like for 50 years, they didn’t move the stinkin’ rug and waxed around it!

We had a couple places where we had to patch the floors.  There were large air intakes in the floor for the old oak burning furnace.  That furnace doesn’t function any more, so we removed the grates in the floor and patched the flooring.  We found a place near by that has architectural salvage items, scavenged through their wood, and managed to locate flooring that matches.  Or, at least it will match once sanded and finished!

Fir flooring patch

Fir flooring patch


Maple flooring patch

Maple flooring patch

Today, our hardwood sanding “pro” started sanding.  This guy refinished our entire house in town, and has done all the flooring in this house so far.  His sanders are somehow dust free and his finished product looks great.  He’s probably 68 years old, about five and a half feet tall, and works harder than most people I know.  He has a little mischievous grin, his logo on his van looks like the Van Halen logo, and all I want to do is put him in my pocket and carry him around with me.  He worked all day sanding (which is a maddening sound to listen to all day) and this is what we have tonight:

Almost done...

Almost done…

Tomorrow he’ll finish up and start layering polyurethane!  We’ve decided to install the wallpaper (yes, I finally found some!) after the floors are done so it didn’t get damaged by the sanders.  Then, we’ll be done with 7/10 of the rooms downstairs!  We are so excited to see these rooms finished!


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Wife, mom, small business owner, and hobby farm hopeful.
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3 Responses to Floor refinishing Frenzy!

  1. Mom says:

    This is so beautiful! I can hardly wait for the finished product!

  2. Becky Arnold says:

    Helen would surely love what you are doing with the floors. I have no idea when the laminated wood went on the floors. I certainly was not any Arnold doing. I can’t imagine. She may have waxed around a rug though. I still have the parlor rug and am using it in my guest bedroom. It is still in good shape as is her dining room rug. I hope I get to meet your family. Keep up the good work!

  3. stephens dooley says:

    Having done hardwood floors in Trinidad, you are wise to have a pro do it goodjob.

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