Thursday, April 16, 2015

Our Beautiful Bare Naked Floors

So my house is kind of miserable to live in right now. David and I both agreed that we feel like we are staying at someone else's house (who apparently needs to be on Hoarders) and we are both very much ready to go home now.


There are nightstands in my bathroom closet and a box springs in my kitchen. We are sleeping in the basement guest room and if we have to get up in the middle of the night you have to pray you don't stray off the narrow junk-free path and break your arm.


So here's how our floors were looking Saturday afternoon. All those white spots you see are wood putty that I put in all the gaps and gouges I could find in the floor. David also spent some time finding a lot of the squeaky areas and driving in a few finish nails to make things a little quieter. I had also previously removed the quarter round from each room.

Saturday night, we went over to Home Depot to rent our floor sander. They hooked us up with a rectangular buffing sander, which is basically a big rectangular piece of sandpaper that vibrates really quickly. We put on some 20 grit paper and dove in.

We sanded. And sanded. And sanded some more. For three hours in a 10'x10' bedroom.


This was as far as we got. Not even close to bare wood. We had known before that our floors were not originally finished with polyurethane. It was either shellac or laquer or a mix of the two. We had also heard that shellac was extremely difficult to remove. Apparently "they" weren't kidding.

At this point, I was ready to say forget it and then set the house on fire. I probably would have (given up, not resorted to arson) if we hadn't just spent the last two weeks moving out of the first floor of the house. Instead, we decided to return to Home Depot in the morning and rent a drum sander.

We had shyed away from a drum sander inititally because of all the warnings about how easy it is to ruin your floors with one, but I was so frustrated at this point, that was a risk I was willing to take.


By contrast, this is 15 minutes of work with the drum sander. I nearly wept with joy.


David chugged along on the drum sander with 36 grit paper, and as he finished each room, I followed behind him with the buffing sander using 20 grit paper to smooth things out a bit, catch any spots he missed on the first pass, and also rough up the edges the drum sander couldn't reach.


Then I made a final pass with the buffing sander using 80 grit paper. Neither sander was nearly as dusty as we had anticipated. The drum sander did an excellent job of collecting dust and left next to nothing behind while the buffing sander left a lot of dust on the floor, but there was nothing floating around in the air, which was a very pleasant surprise.

This week David and I used our hand held orbital sander to get all the edges down to bare wood. This was an extremely unpleasant task. Each room took about 2 hours and produced A LOT of dust which covered everything. Also, I think I may have nerve damage from such prolonged use of the sander. I haven't had feeling in the tip of my index finger for a few days now. Hopefully that will return now that the sanding is complete.


The bare wood is soooo pretty. I'm almost tempted to put poly over it without staining, but I know it wouldn't look the same.


We are cleaning all the dust up now in preparation for staining tomorrow night. This involves many, many sessions of sweeping and vacumming and using tack clothes to make sure the floors are spotless.


One quick project I tackled in between sanding and cleaning was to spray paint our floor vent covers. They matched the old look of the floor well, but I knew on the darker stained floors they would scream, "HELLO, I"M AN AIR VENT!!"


I picked up a can of burnished amber spray paint at Lowe's and gave them a few quick coats.


Not  only do I think the color will match pretty well, but the vents look like new! So fancy.

So after staining tomorrow and applying finish this weekend, we will be looking at moving everything back upstairs by Wednesday. I CANNOT WAIT.

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