Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

The old carpet
The one thing we knew we had to get done before we could move in was refinish the hardwood floors in our house.  In order to do that, we had to rip out the wall to wall carpeting that was covering the hardwood, which we hoped was in good condition.

Pulling out the thousands of staples

Luckily, our hopes were fulfilled and there wasn't any of the actual hardwood that needed to be replaced before we could start refinishing.  Once we had all the carpet, pad, and staples out of the floor, we were able to start sanding.

Some bad scratches, but pretty good overall

Since there were quite a few pretty bad scratches in the living and dining rooms, we decided to use a drum sander to take off the old finish and go completely down to the bare wood in those rooms.

The light part is where the drum sander has taken off the finish

After going over those rooms twice (once each with two different grits of sandpaper), we moved on to using the orbital sander, which we used throughout the house to take off most of the finish in the other rooms as well as to further smooth the living and dining rooms.  I think we did three passes with the orbital, each with a progressively finer grit of sandpaper to get the floors nice and smooth before applying the finish.

Clint working the orbital sander

Once we were done with the sanding, we vacuumed all the floors and walls with a shop vac to get up as much dust as possible.  Then, we went over the walls with a damp rag to pick up more dust, to try and keep it from moving around and landing in the finish.  Right before we were ready to put on the first coat of wood sealer, we went over the floors with mineral spirits to make sure they were as clean as possible.

Wiping up with mineral spirits

After the wood sealer had cured for about 24 hours, we went back in with a buffer and buffed the floors, just to rough them up a bit for the finish.  Then, we vacuumed and wiped everything again before putting on the first coat of finish.  24 hours later, we were back to put on the second coat of finish.  Thankfully, we didn't need to buff between coats of finish, since we did them close enough together, so we didn't need to wipe anything down, either.  24 hours after that, the floors were done!

Applying sealer with the t-bar

We were able to go in in our socks and open up all the windows to help the place air out.  Since we used oil based finish to get the rich, warm color we wanted, we had to deal with fumes which sometimes I can still smell a little, nearly three weeks after finishing the floors.  But!  Our floors are done and we are really pleased with the way they turned out!  However, we are still very much in the middle of renovating a bunch of other things, so there are no good "after" pictures yet.  Hopefully there will be some soon, though!

Stay tuned for more projects!



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