As I mentioned in my last post, I had a date this weekend with my hallway floor. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but as it turns out, refinishing a floor isn’t half as painful as I imagined! Of course, I did manage to break just about every rule there is for refinishing floors…big surprise there. If this house has taught me anything, it’s that there is more than one way to skin a cat (not that you would actually want to skin a cat. eew!).
I had thought that the varnish had just worn off this floor over time, but a closer inspection proved otherwise. There is tons of tack marks, nails along the perimeter, a tuft of red carpet here and there, and scatter marks from a drum sander. They must have had carpet down at some point, and then removed it and sanded the floor. That’s a job I’m quite thankful I wasn’t around for! So here is my floor as it began. Not too bad, if you ignore the reddish hue and the mystery spots all over it.
If somebody hadn’t made such a mess with paint splatters, sanding would have been even faster than it was. It only took me about 3 hours using a palm sander to sand it all down. I broke the wood sanding rule and only did one go over with 60 grit sandpaper. I skipped the recommended second go over with a finer grit, and I’m not sorry. It turned out just fine. Feel free to laugh, but this is how I kept the dust down while I was working.
I threw an old towel over top of the sander while I sanded! Mmmm yes, it looks funny, but it did help. If you have an aversion to getting sawdust all over your freshly painted white walls, you might try it. I sanded between the stair balusters and along the trim by hand using a scrap of sandpaper. I used a flat head screw driver to clean up the edges here and there around trim and balusters. It makes a perfect mini scraper for tiny spots.
My plan was to stain the wood dark, but once I got it sanded down a bit…I found I really, really liked the imperfect look of the old wood. I liked the varying wood grain. I liked the different tones and colors. I liked the gouges and scrapes from long use. I left it for a day and stared at it trying to make up my mind. In the end, I decided I just couldn’t stain over it. It was too pretty, and it contrasted so warmly with the white walls and black details of the stairs.
So, I skipped straight to the varnish. I used the same polyurethane that I used on my kitchen counters. It’s a floor grade poly that is water based. It’s easy to use and easy clean up. It dries fairly quickly as well, only about an hour and half dry time. I like to use a sponge brush when applying poly, I think it makes a nice smooth finish.
I did two thin coats, but I’ll be doing a third when I get the chance. It’s amazing how varnish really brings out the details of wood. I think it’s really fun to apply personally…it’s instant gratification for us impatient types.
It’s kind of amazing how a finished floor can really sharpen up a space. It makes it look finished and clean. I like it.
This floor runs into the bedrooms, and I’ll be doing the same thing to them once I get paint on the walls. This brings me to the last major section of the house that needs to be addressed. A bathroom that needs to be completely scraped out to the bare bones, the master bedroom where random stuff is piled high, and the office which is still waist deep in moving boxes. It’s a sad sight really.
All in good time. In the mean time, the Mister may now proceed with the bookcases for my hall library, my part of the action is officially done.
My take away lesson I learned from this project was, it’s important to do what you love in your own house. A sanded down floor with uneven color may not appeal to anyone else… it doesn’t really matter. Go with your gut, you’re the one that has to live with it.
Total cost for this project was $1.80 for sandpaper. It took me about 4 hours total. Not too bad for a “new” floor…totally worth it, don’t you think?
Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?there is no searching of his understanding.
Linking to: THESE great blogs Remodelaholic