Some days you’re going along on an even keel. Paying bills, cooking
dinner, spending time with the Babies, working in the garden.
And the next day you and your husband and four cats are living in
one room and using a makeshift camping toilet and cooking on a
camp stove for a week and a half. :-O
Why you ask? Well, 24 years ago our home was built. And that was
the last time our floors looked brand new.
It was time our orangey-yellowed, oak floors saw a new life. Even
if we did have to “camp” in our own home during the process.
Refinishing Wood Floors – Before & During
We put it off for about three years. I knew it would be a painful process.
Why? Because plain and simple… I am a hoarder. Or, as I call it – a
“collector.” We also have a lot of old, large, heavy furniture. Such as
three hutches, filled to the brim with dishes and crystal and what-not’s.
Lots of “what-not’s” which had to be meticulously wrapped in bubble
wrap and packed away in plastic bins before the furniture items could
be removed. It took us five days of working from breakfast to late at night.
But, we got it done. I joked that it was the cleanest and most
organized my home had been since we moved in 12 years ago. LOL
My Mama was in the hospital the day/night before the refinishers came
to sand, so I didn’t get any “Before” shots. But, here is how the floors
looked after the sanding process, which took them one whole day.
Note poor Max the Cat, above, being forced to lay on the floor instead
of a comfy chair. Oh the inhumanity of it all.
(Wouldn’t you love to know what he was thinking?) 😀
( The Foyer After Sanding)
(The Foyer After Sanding – Looking Into the Living Room)
( The Living Room After Sanding)
(The Kitchen After Sanding)
(The Breakfast Room After Sanding)
The image above shows the two stain samples that we had chosen. One is
a Light Walnut, and the other is a darker Walnut. We really debated
long and hard about the color. We didn’t want the original color we had
lived with for over 12 years. I never really liked that orangish look to
begin with. But, we didn’t want anything too dark, either. I mean – we have
FOUR cats and THREE incredibly messy Grandloves. The problem?
We had some older stains in the wood which were present when we moved
in, and some newer stains which had developed when our older cat was sick.
We were very disappointed some of these stains did not sand out completely
as we had hoped, especially the much older stains. In the end, we chose the
darker stain even though I feared it would be TOO dark and I would hate it.
After a day of running errands, I was petrified to come home as they were
completing the staining. I was so scared I would hate it.
I LOVED IT!!!! We loved it!!!
Here are images after the staining process but prior to any sealant or poly.
( The Foyer After Stain )
( The Kitchen After Stain )
( The Breakfast Room After Stain )
I can’t explain why, but the floors now look really old. “Really old”
in a good way. LOL The refinisher thinks it’s because the floors were
originally finished in a natural state and they used a water-based varnish
on the floors versus an oil-based product. This water-based product caused
the wood grain to swell. Now, all of the grain shows so beautifully where
it did not before. And that color! Swoon!
The quarter-round shoe molding needs to be replaced next week, and we are
painting the foyer and Dining Room the same color as the Kitchen and Living
Room (Sherwin Williams Maison Blanche). Then, the process of putting
everything back into place without scratching the new floors can begin. Ugh!
Did I say UGH?
So, how did we prepare? What are some tips I can offer?
1.) Research a refinisher you are really happy with. Once we had narrowed
it down to two contractors, we went and looked at some referral homes which
had just been completed and spoke to the homeowners.. The guy we ultimately
chose was a bit costlier but we felt his work was better and therefore worth the
2.) Make a plan. We had to pack up and unload 4 large spaces: the Foyer, the
Living Room, the Dining Room and the Kitchen. We used a larger Bonus Room
to hold all of the bins and furniture while the floors were being refinished.
(This room will get done in a few weeks after it’s no longer the temporary
“storage room.”) You may need to consider renting a pod or a temporary
storage unit while the work is being done.*Keep in mind – this is about a
9-10 day or more process! It took us FIVE days to prepare. Then, once the
crew arrived: One day (or more) to sand. One day to stain. Then, three days
to apply the poly. (it needs 24-hours drying time between coats.) It ideally
needs three more full days to “cure.” Longer is better. It will take the
contractor at least a day or two to put back all the shoe molding. Folks, this
is not a job for the weak at heart. LOL
3.) If it doesn’t move, wrap it in plastic. We were warned about the dust
but I truly had NO idea. Yes, he used a new-tech machine with the vacuum
attached, ect, but c’mon. Ain’t no vacuum that good. I am so glad we took
the time to prep. Especially in the kitchen.
There is dust on top of dust. In the other rooms we could not access while this
process was going on, we closed the doors and taped all around them.
4.) Consider an alternate sleeping arrangement while the poly is being
applied. We thought we could stand it. I mean, we had taped off the doorway
and slider going into the Family Room where we would be “camping” during the
poly time – how rough could it be? We survived the night after the staining, but
after waking up with scratchy, irritated throats and scratchy red eyes, I said NO
WAY. (especially with all of my thyroid and auto-immune issues.) We high-tailed
it to a local motel for three nights. We could not take our furry babies with us and
it concerned me that they would be there, but they are indoor-outdoor cats so they
stayed out most of the time and we checked on them often. Just make sure you are
prepared. The smell is horrible!
5.) Have your stain samples ready to be tested! I won’t lie. I goofed.
I chose only two choices, but to be honest I should have chosen at least four if not
even five. More choices are good. I felt like we chose the darker sample because
we didn’t have other choices on hand, and we didn’t have time to go out and come
back and try out more stain samples. He was waiting for our decision. Spend the
money to have more choices! Me of all people should have known better.
I am excited to get the painting done and get all of our furniture back in.
I figure now is the time to make some changes in the house, as well, while
we have empty rooms. Because the next time it is THIS empty, we will be
moving out for good. 🙂 I will share a few of these projects and also
share the final outcome, too. Of course I will, I am a blogger! 😀
Thanks for letting me share the process thus far…
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minutes of your day here with me.
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