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Hardwood Floor Update: Done with the sanding!

First-Floor Basics

We are officially DONE sanding floors downstairs. It was the longest weekend in recent memory – the only other time I remember working this hard was when we were laying tile floor in preparation for our open house. We worked straight through the weekend, except for a quick run to the local townie bar to sip beverages with our good friends Katherine and Kurt. (A much needed break, might I add.)

The results? Our dining room and foyer floors were sanded, the dining room beadboard was stripped and sanded, and everything got a new coat of Mahogany stain. Today, Teague laid down the first coat of varnish and though I have not seen them shining yet, I know they must look beautiful. I can’t wait to get home to them! It still amazes me that our floors could come back from the grave like that – before we started, I honestly wasn’t sure it would work.

Here’s what we started with – the orange-ish sections are the patches that we made a few weeks ago, using salvaged lumber from ReHouse.
Before refinishing the hardwood floors.

Here’s what everything looked like after sanding and before staining – you can see some darker areas where cat pee caused major problems – hence our going with a darker stain. The salvaged lumber was in much better shape then ours, so we had to do some creative aging and staining to get it to match. You’ll see in pics tomorrow that we came pretty close.
After sanding the hardwood floors.
It was not an easy weekend…. the next time we decide to sand floors, I’m taking a week off and doing it at a leisurely pace. It’s very physical work, and my muscles were protesting this morning when I hoisted myself out of bed, crawled out the window, and meandered to the back of the house in the lovely 40-degree weather we’re having.

Oh yes – you read that right. We are now using our windows as entrance points. That would be because roughly 1/2 the downstairs is a no-walk zone for the next week or two.
Here’s Teague, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, leaving for work this morning:

Climbing out the bedroom window

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

psion had this to say on 05.23.06:

Nice job. Back breaking work, isn’t it? I still have vivid memories of the floor sanding I did in my ex-girlfreind’s house 19 years ago, mostly the choking sawdust everywhere, and my sore arms the next week or so.

How did you deal with the dust? Did you have masks? (I just wore a handkercheif around my mouth)

mindylaw had this to say on 05.23.06:

Psion – Yes, extremely back breaking! We wore good masks, which I highly recommend to everyone… the orbital sander didn’t make too big a mess, to my amazement – it sucks it all up pretty good. But the palm sander was terrible. And no one wants wood-chip boogers!

I’m still pretty sore today – my hamstrings are killing me from balancing on my kneepads, and my arms are sore from all the sanding and wiping. Blech. On the upside, I had a good excuse for skipping my gym routine yesterday.

Becky had this to say on 05.23.06:

Ew. Wood-chip boogers.

Those floors are coming along great! I can’t believe they came back from the brink of death the way they did either!!

And I wonder if your neighbors think that you guys are really eccentric going through your windoes. Or that you lost your keys. Or that one of you is always sneaking out on the other one. That’s too funny.

mindylaw had this to say on 05.23.06:

My thoughts exactly – when they see us stumbling out in the morning, climbing over the porch railing in our PJ’s, do they think we’ve totally lost it?

They’d be right, in many ways….

We’re going to Maine on Saturday, which means we only have to put up with the oddball routine for another 4 days. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

psion had this to say on 05.23.06:

O my god- totally forgot about those WCBs (wood chip boogers). Thanks for reminding me.

Orbital sander? I remember using a drum sander, like about the size of a vacuum cleaner. Total overkill, now that I think of it, for the room size.

mindylaw had this to say on 05.24.06:

Psion – Ours was about as big as a vacuum too – we were not down there on our hands and knees with some tiny thing doing four huge floors, I can promise you! Though we did edge and touch things up with a palm sander. ;)

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