When we first toured our current home, it's safe to say that the hardwood floors were not its selling point. Don't get me wrong - they weren't bad. They just weren't as nice as some of the other fixtures in the house. Obviously, they weren't bad enough to keep us from putting in an offer and eventually moving in. The entry way, dining room, office, and living room floors are all covered in red oak hardwood. They were a pre-finished floor when the previous owners installed them, stained a color that very much brought out the red in the wood. The sealer on them was very shiny. Sometimes, if I squinted, it looked like we had red plastic floors. Also, each wood slat had a beveled edge which meant as you walked across them barefoot, it didn't feel like one flat surface. Instead, you could feel a small ridge between each board.
So yeah, not really our favorite part of the house but also something we weren't in a huge rush to replace. Until it hit us that maybe instead of replacing them, we could try having them refinished. I think I had someone over here giving us a quote within two days of us brainstorming this idea. Yes! Please refinish our floors!
The good news was that they could definitely be done and the salesman waxed poetic about how beautiful they'd be afterwards. The bad news was that it'd take three days to do and we wouldn't be able to sleep in the house during the process. Too fumy. More brainstorming...and then it hit me that we'd be out of town two weeks later at the beach, so why not have them done then? Genius! And so that's what we did.
Of course, before they could work on the floors, we had to completely empty the rooms. Our office had been the dumping of all the miscellaneous and decorative items when we first moved in. All of that stuff got carried upstairs to the bonus room. The dining room didn't have much in it, so it was pretty easy to clear out, and all the living room furniture made its way into the eat-in kitchen. No more meals at the kitchen table...
Mom, Katie, and I hit the road for Florida bright and early on a Monday morning. Doc wouldn't be joining us until later in the week, so he was going to oversee the floor refinishing process and sleep at my parents' house. A couple hours have we pulled out of the driveway, the floor crew arrived. I don't know why I didn't think to take "before" pictures of the floors. How stupid of me. I did have Doc send me a pic of the stairs before they got to work. The stairs had a carpet runner on them that, to me, resembled deer print. In fact, I called them Bambi. I've heard of leapord print and zebra print carpet, but I had no idea deer was an option.
The floor crew would be pulling up the runner and refinishing the stairs too, thank goodness.
Here is a picture I found from when we first toured the home. It really doesn't show off the floors very well since that wasn't what I was focused on at the time. They don't look very red or shiny here, but maybe you can tell how there was a beveled edge between each slat.
The crew from day one got to work sanding all the floors. They would get them sanded down to the bare wood and apply the stain all on the first day. Thanks to Sandy and the stock markets closing, Doc was actually able to leave work early for the day and come monitor their progress. Here are the pics he sent me during the sanding process.
You can see in these pics that they hadn't done around the edges yet. It's amazing to me how quickly they were able to get it sanded down to the bare wood. And the sanding process removed the beveled edge from the slats. Hooray!
Part of me wishes I could've been there to see how they did it, but part of me is glad I wasn't there to see how much dust it created. Doc said they had tons of garbage bags that were full of nothing but sawdust!
Doc didn't hang out at the house all day, and by the time he made it back that evening, they had applied the coat of stain. We chose a medium-dark color. With the wood being red oak, we knew they could still have a red undertone, but we hoped this color would mask it a little bit more than what they originally were.
They were already looking so much better!
Days two and three were just for applying the coats of polyurethane. We chose a satin finish - much less shinier than before. This was the fumy part and the reason we couldn't stay there. Each coat needed a day to dry, so even though they were done working on them early Wednesday, we couldn't walk on the floors until Thursday. (Full disclosure: it's over a week later and we still haven't moved our furniture back in!)
Pretty new floors!
We aren't sure yet if we'll add another carpet runner on the stairs or just put down some trim to finish them out. Only time will tell.
I love them. It was not something we had originally planned on doing so soon, but we both thought it made sense to go ahead and do it while the rooms were still fairly empty. I'm so, so glad we pulled the trigger and did it! It makes a huge difference and of course, now it's kick-started some other projects. With the floors looking so good, I want the rest of the rooms to look good too! I'm tackling a huge living room project right now and can't wait to show you the pics. I'm about two days away from being done with it and I already think it makes a huge difference. Pics soon!