I think I may have mentioned that I recently decided to purchase my mothers home. Our family moved into this home when I was 14. Life was different then in Hillsboro and lots has changed all around the house. But for the most part the house and it’s grounds remained largely unchanged and somewhat unkempt. We knew before we moved in that the floors really needed to be refinished. The problems ranged from scratches, to worn finish to significant pet damage. And we are talking about 4700 square feet of this – all over the house in varying degrees.
Fortunately the floors themselves were of high quality old growth hard wood, an indestructible Oak. So we had a good foundation to work with and in some places, sanding itself couldn’t make it any worse. So we began.
I had some experience with refinishing a floor. We had done it years earlier for my mother in the same home, but that was like 25 years earlier… a lot has changed, from equipment to products to use. And my memory isn’t that clear, so I needed a refresher course and my husband has no experience with this kind of thing, but is a hard worker and is very strong. I usually get to play the brains and he is my brawn!
(this is my husband doing his research)
1st DO YOUR RESEARCH: The internet is a great place to research. It’s alive with content suited to almost every project you have. We watched a few folks adventures with refinishing floors. We also talked to anybody who said they had done this before. We wanted to learn and anticipate as much as possible. We found the most helpful people, were the technicians at Home Depot tool rental. They instruct you on how to use the tools and equipment, but they also can provide a bit of guidance. We were initially planning on using the large upright drum sander. After the guy had talked with us a bit – he showed us the big machine with the 4 orbital sanders, it practically floated across the floors – huge difference – Like in Gorilla vs. Guerilla (see Capt’n Ron!). Home Depot will also help you figure out what materials you need, with a simple deposit, you have your equipment and more than enough supplies, and you true up when you are done – take more than you need, no extra trips to the store for what you forgot.
DON’T PLAN ON ANYTHING ELSE: 1 make sure the rooms are empty, I mean empty – it’s so much easier, 2 it’s going to take longer than you thought. We split it into projects. The entire Upstairs and then the downstairs, 3 wear dust masks, and just know it’s really going to be dusty, add your goggles and clothes you don’t mind getting dusty. I really mean dusty – everywhere, every nook and cranny.
We were so amazed and excited at how beautiful it turned out. The newly exposed wood – was exquisite – you almost didn’t want to put a finish on it.
And there was something for everyone to do. While my teenage son looks like he’s just standing around – we found cord management a big need – and my teenager is good at just standing around. Fortunately the sander is loud and you can’t hear the whining and complaining.
IT WILL BE DUSTY!: A lot of sweeping and wiping and sweeping later (did I say it would be dusty? yes, it’s very dusty). but you have to have a clean surface, you can then apply the stain. We picked an Early American stain, given the house is Colonial style. Again, the folks at Home Depot were very helpful. Expect to get dirty during this part. You apply it, but you also have to wipe it down and remove the excess and it’s stain – you get dirty.
Then we let it dry for over 24 hours, then it was time for the Polyurethane. This is not for the faint of heart and you can’t be in a hurry. In the Dining room, I had to redo the floor because of some bubbling – that meant sanding again, redoing some stain – it has to be even and then reapplying the poly finish (lather, rinse, repeat).
But was it worth it? What a difference. We love the floors, the biggest thing was – have an empty house and don’t push yourself to be in a huge hurry.