Thursday, August 15, 2013

3rd Floor: Refinished Hardwood Floor DIY


Cross it off the list-- our 3rd floor hardwoods have been refinished!!  And, they're drop dead gorgeous.  Words cannot describe how happy we are with the outcome.  My industrious husband, Dave, did everything from start to finish.  And, his obsessive attention to detail really shows.  The refinished floors look terrific.  :) 

Just to refresh, here are some pics of the floors from last month (at this point, we had finished the wainscoting, hung the trim, and painted everything)...








 
As you can see, the floors were in rough shape but worth saving (some areas were worse than others).  Our center hallway was covered in a dark shellac, and the hardwood in the bedrooms was completely unfinished.  We did a little bit of research on removing the shellac and came up with mixed reviews.  Most people concluded that it would be a BEAR to remove-- some suggested stripping the floors, others suggested going through countless sheets of sand paper.  The shellac sort of  looks like paint.  It's opaque, yet it has a lighter/thinner finish.  When you try to remove it, it feels almost like tar and tends to gum up the sander.  But, Dave decided to sand it off (rather than strip the floors) and ended up with decent results!  We were pleased.  So, if you have shellac on your floors, don't worry.  It can be removed with little to no damage.  The floors in the hallway look AMAZING now.  Who would have known that all that gorgeous graining was hiding underneath a layer of ugly shellac all these years?

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Our DIY project can be broken down like this:

step 1:
Prep your floor -- pull any nails or staples, address the gaps between planks (either fill with wood filler or replace planks entirely).  Make sure to secure any loose boards.  When you're finished, vacuum the space thoroughly.

step 2:
Sanding-- we rented a drum sander from the Home Depot to sand the majority of the floors.  Then, Dave used an edging sander to get near the walls and corners-- places that the drum sander can't reach (if you have spaces where even the edging sander can't reach, you'll need to use a paint scraper to remove that layer of old finish).  He started with a 36 grit paper and went over the entire floor, following the grain of the wood.  This rough grit will aggressively remove the top layer of wood (our floors needed it!).  When he was finished, he repeated this step with a 60 grit sand paper.  And then, finished using the 100 grit paper.  By going over the floors three times with the drum sander and the edger (using a gradual progression in sand paper every time) you will create a smoother, more even finish.  And, your hardwoods will be better prepared to accept the stain.

drum sander


step 3: 
Popping the wood (this is an optional step, but we did it, so I'm including it as "step 3") -- lightly mist the floor with water from a pump sprayer (something like this).  Do not over water, since this can create water stains.  Just lightly LIGHTLY spray it.  The water will open up the grain to allow for a better buffing, which happens in the next step...

step 5: 
Blend the edges -- use a vibratory sander (we rented one from the Home Depot) to blend the areas where the edger and drum sander met.  Dave used 100 grit sand paper.  By blending (or buffing) the two spaces you will create a seamless finish.

step 6:  
Clean up -- vacuum the entire floor to make sure that you've cleaned up all the dust and debris (we did this twice with the shop vac).

step 7: 
Stain -- now it's time to apply that beautiful stain!  We selected oil-based Minwax "Jacobean" stain, which can be found at any Home Depot store.  We wanted a dark floor that complemented the tone of our original banisters.  "Jacobean" was the perfect fit for us.  Dave applied the stain with a natural bristle paint brush, and immediately followed with a rag (we used an old t-shirt) to remove excess stain.  Wiping the excess with a rag will allow the wood grain to shine through.  Allow the stain to dry for at least 24 hours.

"Jacobean"


checking our sample piece with the original banister finish-- it's a winner.


 applying the stain



step 8:
Polyurethane -- the final application!  Apply 1 coat of polyurethane (we used Lenmar Polyurethane Wood Finish in "satin").  We used a roller with a 3/8" nap, and then used a brush to get in the corners.  Allow approx. 12 hours of drying time.  After the poly has dried, sand it with a 220 grit sand paper.  Now, REPEAT this step 3 times.



step 9:
Wait -- wait for the final coats of polyurethane to completely cure before moving furniture (or area rugs) onto the floor.  RESIST!  It's very difficult to be patient, but trust me.  The poly needs to fully cure. We let it sit for almost a week, just to be safe.  But, you could get away with 3-4 days of drying time.

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And, here is what the refinished floor looks like today:













 





a little "before & after" comparison...













I'll be back tomorrow to talk about the lighting we selected for this space.  So excited to share the final selections.  :)

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if you're interested, a few previous blog posts on this 3rd floor renovation...



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30 comments:

Ashley said...

The hardwork has definitely paid off! The floors look amazing. Now, sit back and enjoy your 3rd floor!

Annmarie Galvin said...

WOW!! SO awesome!!!

Alison H. said...

Your DIY house renovation is so inspirational and gives me hope for my own 100 year old farm house. The floors and wainscoting are beautiful! I cannot wait to see how you finish off the interior with your impeccable style.

TJ said...

Looks stunning! And the stairs look so much better without those finials!

kayce hughes said...

Stunning! Do you just want to sit on the floor all day and stare?

Amy Williams Hall said...

WOW, what a phenomenal job!! I hope you're able to relax now before baby comes!!! :)

Eric WEST said...

This is quite a stupendous effort. Was searching online for drywall insulation for my home when I stumbled upon this. This is quite inspiring and thanks a lot for sharing.

Tobe | BIA said...

you guys must be SO. PROUD. it looks absolutely amazing!! can't wait to see how you dress it.

loving the fixture you chose for the landing! ox

Claire said...

Look gorgeous!

Jenny said...

Stunning, just stunning! I love the darker colour as well, looks great with the classic style of your home. Wonderful job, well done!!

Earl Judds said...

Wow! I can't believe the difference. I might try this method in updating my flooring in Calgary. I think this will really help the look of my house.

Conner Spear said...

The dark hardwood stain looks great with the light colored walls! I wholeheartedly agree; it is gorgeous! The Polyurethane really gave it that shiny and polished finish that really made the hardwood stand out.

Earl Judds said...

This looks great! I have been looking at getting into new hardwood floors. I love the dark color and would love something like this in my place.

Earl Judds
http://www.carpetsplusca.com/index.php/products/hardwood-floors

Evanston Hardwood Flooring Refinishing said...

Wow, your floors look fantastic! Incredible job. I love the dark finish you chose.

hardwood flooring said...

Looks amazing, also i like the shapes of your house. Great job guys

John Johnson said...

Those pictures are amazing. I love how it turned from a very old looking floor to a very modern looking floor and I seriously love the color.

I wanted to get a hardwood floor for my house (I had laminate before) and I looked at this website right here - www.pidfloors.com

One of the products look very similar to your refinished floor - http://pidfloors.com/?product=carbon-fiber

John Bond said...

wow, this is a crazy transformation. I have always wanted to do a project like this. I just don't have the experience to do a good job on it though.
John Bond | http://www.cooperfloors.com/about-cooper-floors.nxg

amy logan said...

Wow! Seeing these hard wood floor transformations are unbelievable. It really motivated my husband and I to become more active in remodeling our home. It is so amazing to see how much of a change a little re-sanding, coloring, and gloss can do. I wonder though how much everything costs and if it is possible to do the job yourself?

Amy Logan
http://www.towneinteriors.net/hardwood

Sylvia Sanderson said...

Wow, your hardwood floor just completely evolved into a beautiful creature! I can't even believe how much it improved. This is something that our wood floor could really use. It definitely needs to be refinished to look as good as yours!
http://www.jmaintenanceco.com/residential-cleaning-los-angeles-ca.html

Jason Wright said...

I just bought a new home and I have noticed that the flooring upstairs is a little rough and now smooth like it should be. I really don't want to worry about my kids getting slivers or any cuts from it. I hope that it can get some refinishing done on it. http://langspainting.com/hardwood.html

Megan Jones said...

That is an amazing transformation you did to those wood floors. I love the before and after photos side by side. The contrast showing the work you did is so obvious. That was a lot of love and hard work and was worth every second of it.
http://www.jrkflooring.com/services.html

James Duke said...

My hardwood floor in my attic is really bad. I can swear that it looks like the dust has been painted onto the wood floor. I will be really embarrassed if someone sees it before I can figure out how to clean it. I think I may need to get it refinished. http://www.jmaintenanceco.com/residential-cleaning-los-angeles-ca.html

Kristen Dockery said...

I love the way the floors turned out. They look so good and I'm really impressed. I really like how dark the wood is, it gives it a more elegant and classy look that I really like. http://www.carpetkingcarpet1keene.com/hardwoodflooring

Ellie Sutter said...

Wow, it's so beautiful! My boyfriend and I are currently renting an upstairs space. He's quite handy so the landlord has been prorating the fixes he's been making. I guess we're going to be shifting around our things and tearing out the carpet to restore the hardwood flooring next. Based on how well your floors turned out, I can't wait to get started! Or rather, do what I can to help him get started.

http://www.jrkflooring.com/services.html

Anonymous said...

LOVE seeing older homes being brought back to life. Well done!

Giovana said...

I would really like to learn more about wood floor refinishing so I can give my home a complete makeover. I bought an older home last year that needs a lot of work and the floors are at the top of the list. I would like to work on it by myself with a little bit of help from a few friends. Blogs like this one are going to a great help along the way. http://www.aandrwoodfloors.com/restoration3.htm

Hardwood Floors San Mateo said...

Nice job! You forgot to trowel fill though. Next time...

http://kaprizhardwoodfloors.com

Thomas Watson said...

Your floors came amazing! I love the colors.

Re-staining my harwood said...

Awesome post! I really love your blog, keep up the great work here!

Avery Carter said...

Thank you this was such a great post! Once you have finished sanding, you fill any nicks or gouges in the floor. Use wood putty and a broad knife to fill any spots. Let the wood putty dry according to package directions and then lightly sand the areas smooth by hand with medium or fine sandpaper. Thanks again

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