Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our Flooring Saga

Hey all,

This is a long delayed post - the floor was finished in June - but it might still be interesting to see the differences in the floor from when we closed on our house to when we moved in a month later.

When we bought the house, we had no idea what was hiding under the carpet. We intended to simply tear it all out and replace it, as it looked terrible. First, some pictures of what the house looked like before anything was done to it:

Living Room
Family Room
Kitchen, from Dining Room
Entry and Hallway
Main Bathroom
Back Bedroom (Lauren's room)
Front Bedroom (Office)

Family Room (again)
Master Bedroom
Master Bedroom 2
Master Bathroom

The first full day we had access, I started pulling out the carpet. I started in the living room, and found plywood underneath, as I expected. However, when I started pulling the carpet up in the family room, I was very surprised to find oak hardwood underneath! Here are some pictures from after all the flooring was removed.

Plywood in Living Room
Oak in Family Room!
Dining Room/Kitchen (complete with asbestos tile remnants in dining room)
Dining Room after asbestos removal
Entry (complete with asbestos tile)
Entry after asbestos removal
Front Bedroom (Office)
Front Bedroom 2 (closet floor is almost completely white from baseboard being spray painted)
Back Bedroom (Lauren's Room)
Master Bedroom (apparently the closet area was an addition as there is not original hardwood in that area)
Master Bedroom 2

Of course we decided to keep the wood floor and restore it rather than slapping some carpet over top of it! Next step: refinishing hardwood floors in (most of) an entire house!

The first task was to pull out staples. In every room that had carpet, there were staples from the carpet pad around the edges and across the middle wherever a joint was in the pad. Ali very kindly did most of the rooms that had been carpeted. The dining room, however, was far worse - there had apparently been some other floor put in at some point with very large staples covering the entire floor. After more than 12 hours of work, here is what I ended up with. I pulled out approximately half of the staples, the others had been sanded off and I had to set them into the floor.

Prodigious staple pile (my poor knees)

Finally after all the staples were pulled I was ready to sand the floor. I started with a drum sander.

The "big machine" as the pros call it
Sandpaper for days
Family room and dining room done

I switched to a planetary orbital sander after the first pass.

Orbital sander

Finally, after a couple days of sanding and very careful vacuuming, I started applying the polyurethane.

First coat!

Three coats later, here are the finished results!

Living Room (not much different yet, we'll be putting oak in here as well, eventually)
Dining Room
Dining Room and Family Room (That patch by the patio door will be replaced with tile eventually)
Front Bedroom (Office)
Back Bedroom (Lauren's room)
Master Bedroom

All in all, this took way longer than I anticipated, and I think next time, I'll probably leave it to the professionals, but I was sure happy to see the floor when it was done!


  1. what a lot of work it took but it sure looks good now.

  2. Wow, it looks so great! Good job you guys! It must feel good to have accomplished so much:)

  3. Awesome! Sure wished we could have been there to help, as you surely 'helped' many others!!! Glad you don't have to do this for work every day, huh? I'm quite proud of all the hard work you've done. Looks lovely, much better for little Lauren as she is cruising around.

  4. Good job. Nice to see it after hearing your saga!

  5. So nice and beautiful floors. Surely, your hard work has paid off. Good job, Guys!!!