DIY, Old houses

So you want to refinish a wood floor

I do have better pictures of this. But for now all I have available is what’s on my iPhone because we haven’t hooked up a computer yet. We haven’t hooked up a computer yet because the future office is full of boxes, cables, boxes, and other unidentifiable miscellany. We haven’t put this away yet because we work full time and somehow have to carry on with our lives until next weekend feeling like we live in a less severe episode of Hoarders.
So, before we moved in any of this junk, I decided I was going to rip up the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. I watched plenty of YouTube videos and read a few articles about refinishing hardwood floors and it seemed easy enough: get a machine to sand/screen the top layer of old finish off the floor, then clean it and apply a new finish. Wait for that to cure, and you’re set.

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What I didn’t account for was the work required to get the floor ready for the machine (which, sorry This Old House, here in LA that’ll cost you $40/day, not $25). There was a strip of wood nailed to the perimeter of the floor to hold the carpet in place, plus a hell of a lot of staples. This job alone took me two days with a prybar, a hammer, some pliers, and some swear words. I also found delightful things like this under the wretched carpet:

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20130903-215639.jpg

What the hell is that? Mold? Mold and old glue? The paint situation was bad enough, that some contractor in the 90’s had willfully flung tasteless off-white paint across the otherwise salvageable parts of what has now become my floor, but now there were these wide swaths of gray and black, daring me to admit that I needed to hire a professional.

Eff that. Now, I have nothing against professionals. They’re necessary and in some peoples’ economies I’m sure they work out great. But at this time in my life, when we’re hemhorraging money on the actual functional parts of this house, not to mention all the takeout we’re eating because we can’t scrape together a functioning kitchen between the two of us, it’s absolutely out of the question. Plus I got to that single-minded point where one gets if they’ve already invested a lot of time and energy and money into a project and I was determined to do it myself. So I sanded.

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20130903-220530.jpg

And I finished.

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The defeat I did face is that I just didn’t have time to do the bedroom before we had to start moving in. But the living/dining room looks pretty good. It’s nowhere near as good as if I had hired someone. But there are no more black or gray places, no more paint, no more black spots. I kind of like the weird scratches and light places; it makes me wonder how they got there and what stories the floor was holding under all that pile.

A casualty of this war was Milo, who I think may have scraped his paw on one of these horrid staples and had to go to the vet. Even then, he’s pretty happy with everything.

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20130903-220936.jpg

Total cost: $280 ($100 probably avoidable)
$160 for the sander, sandpaper and screens (I rented it too early and had to extend a day, and the sheets of sandpaper are really expensive)
$60 for a gallon of Benjamin Moore wood floor finish plus supplies (brush, mask)
$60 for Milo’s exam and antibiotics

in September 4, 2013

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2 Comments

  • KT September 5, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Aww Milo has a bandage like Buster had. I hope he doesn’t repeatedly chew it off like Buster did (even after we made him wear a cone).

    Reply
    • Jessica September 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      He did great! I was really surprised that he took it like a champ and didn’t even try to notice it was there. This was a week ago, so now he’s all healed up. Poor kid.

      Reply

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