Refinishing the hardwood floors in this character home created a complete transformation just on its own. The floors turned out incredible!
Now for all the tough stuff.
Once we had the carpets removed, we worked on removing all of the carpet tack strips that were around the edges of each space. There were also staples randomly placed in the floors to hold the carpet underlay down so we also had to remove each and every one of those so they wouldn't catch on the sander.
Once the floor was nail and staple free, we rented a plate sander to start sanding the floor. We chose the plate sander because this hardwood was already a little thin so we didn't want to risk getting a drum sander, which has been known to eat away more of the wood flooring as you sand it.
Before starting to sand, we vacuumed the floor to make sure nothing was left behind on the floor that would get caught under the sander and cause scratches in the wood.
We started off with a 60-grit sand paper and made multiple passes in each space. We were watching the floor to ensure that the old polyurethane sheen was disappearing and the natural wood was unveiling itself. Once we felt that we had gotten rid of all of the old polyurethane, we then worked through the sand paper grits, doing mutliple passes with an 80-grit, 120-grit and finished off with a 160-grit. We did a thorough vacuum between each grit level of sanding.
The sanding took a total of about 15 hours.
Once we were satisfied that all the polyurethane was gone and we couldn't see any sander marks or scratches in the wood, we were ready to do a final vacuum. We also wiped the floor down with a damp cloth and let it dry.
Next, we tried out our stain sample on a small spot in the second bedroom.
We loved the stain choice which was from the brand name 'Varathane' and the stain colour was 'Espresso'.
We started to rub on the stain with clean white rags (bought the bag of rags that you can get in the painting section from any home improvement store). We applied the stain in the direction that the wood grain ran. We lightly rubbed all the stain into the wood so that there weren't any pools of stain left behind that would create a blotchy look in the stain.
Once the stain dried, we applied a second coat of stain using the same process.
Once the second coat of stain dried for 24 hours, we began to apply a water-based polyurethane using a 'lamb's wool applicator'. Again, we applied the polyurethane in the same direction that the wood grain runs. We were careful to apply the polyurethane in a consistent thickness and avoid leaving spots that had more or less product.
We left the first coat of polyurethane to dry for 24 hours. This is a great time to get out of the house if you can because the house has a really strong odor at this point. When we came back to the house, we did a hand sand on the floor using a 220-grit. We wiped the floor down with a damp cloth. We proceeded to put a second coat of polyurethane onto the floor, using the same process we used for the first coat. We left this coat to dry for 24 hours and avoided heavy traffic on the floor for 72 hours.
What a floor! The dark stain did a great job of covering the age marks, nail holes, and slight damage that was in the kitchen. We're very happy with the final product!