Monday, September 17, 2007

Surprise! We refinished our floor!

We have been plotting this attack on the floor in the Living-Kitchen/Den for a little while now. We did the backwards-planning of, well, we need to have a stove when Ben's mom visits. And if we want a stove we need to take out that corner unit where the wall oven is. Then we need to re-do the floors.

So we got a quote for refinishing, staining, and polyurethaneing the floor in this room, which is ~15ft by ~18ft, or 270 square feet. At $7 a square foot, we were looking at a starting bill of very close to $2000 just for one room. [Correction: The quote was $3/sq.ft, not $7. That's still a total of $800!] I don't need to tell you just how far and for how long $2K [$800] would last us. We're cheap people. Cheap and resourceful! So we decided to throw caution to the wind and do the floor ourselves.

It was a good room to start in - the PO salvaged the floors from a building on the Southside - a factory or a warehouse or something - so they're not fancy or original or almost 100 years old like the rest of the floors in the house. It's the biggest room in the house, too, so it would also give us the most satisfying bang for our buck.

Here are the floors when we started.
Here's a close-up so you can see what kind of shape they're in. That bald spot is a patch Ben made a weekend or two ago that I haven't had a chance to blog about yet.

This section is where the corner unit with the oven was (the demolition of which I haven't blogged about yet...). The floors were never refinished in this patch. That's okay - that's were the fridge will go.

And here's a relatively nice spot over by the bookcase. It's still pretty shabby.

Underneath the china hutch:

So we got up nice and early, made a big pot of coffee and emptied out the room. All was going well until we go to this behemoth. All the dishes came out and we manged to wedge the thing onto the handtruck. It wasn't a pretty sight, lots of grunting and shrieking and "OH HOLY #$%@*" but we finally managed to dump it in the dining room. Ben's going to turn it into TWO pieces before we move it back in.

Then we covered everything with plastic. The bookcases and fireplace, all the lighting fixtures, the fan motor, the outlets.

And you know that Safety is Number One at the Schmich Schack.
Actually we really only used the earmuffs. We should have used the respirators, too, but they do make it hard to breathe, don't they?

We bought a new ShopVac for this adventure, too ($99). There's not a way for me to adequately express how much dust this thing sucked up. POUNDS of dust. Truly stunning.

And now, please meet the beast:
The drum sander cost $42 to rent from Home Depot for 24 hours. Each sleeve of sand paper for the drum cost $7 and we used 4. Total = $70.

So we got started. It took a little while for us (well, Ben) to get the hang of running the drum sander. "You gotta keep that thing moving" was what everyone and their mother told us while we were renting it. Once Ben perfected his technique, it was smooth sailing.

The key was to start it off moving, but really slowly. Then ease the drum down. Walk slowly behind the sander. Then he does a snappy quick-pickup at the end, all while it's still moving.

Also, you need to restrain the thing. We didn't realize this until after we did our first pass and things looked...funny.

After the first pass with 80 grit:

This was when we realized that Ben shouldn't be scooting after the thing while it pulled him across the room leaving funny marks behind. He needed to OWN it. Dominate it. Cesar Milan style. After that, things went even better.

Here's Ben doing the second pass with 80 grit:

After the 2nd pass with 80:
After 1st pass with 100 grit:
2nd pass with 100:

After detail hand-sanding and edging with 80 grit, then doing a once-over with 120 grit.
At this point, the floors were so soft and butter-smooth and CLEAN, we could barely contain ourselves. We'd done it! And without any huge divots or dings or dents!

We tested two stain colors we'd picked out and decided on Olympic's Oil-Based stain in Red Mahogany. It blends really nicely with the shade of the original floors in the dining room.

Staining was a little trickier than I thought it would be. We spread it on, then wiped off the excess with an old tshirt 5-10 minutes later. We hit a rough spot later on when Ben's can of stain suddenly got really dark and sticky. It was a surprisingly sudden change - we don't really know what happened. But it all blended together in the end to give us this lovely result:
Isn't it great?! Can you hear the angels singing?
Can you hear us laughing with glee?
We ran out of time to put the polyurethane down just yet, but we're still ridiculously impressed with the results. It was time-consuming, dirty work and my knees are killing me, but WOW, how incredibly satisfying.

Also, let's do the math:
Drum Sander rental: $70
Shop Vac: $100
Second hand-sander: $50
Ear protection: $20
2 qts of stain: $12
gallon of urethane: $28
Various brushes/applicators: $20

TOTAL: $300.


Anonymous said...

WOW!! WELL DONE! So very impressed with your skills and witty commentary!

The floors look gorgeous!

Sandy & Michael said...

Awesome & very inspiring! I can't wait to see it after the polyurethane, I'm sure it will look amazing :)

*jj said...

looks like a lot of work, but well worth it :)

Wildacre said...

I wondered what you had been up to!
You make work look like fun- And you get to swear!

Derek said...

wow, makes me want to go out and rent a sander right now. I've been putting off doing the floors for a long time now. Hopefully we get to it soon. I already have a shop vac and bunch of sanders, so less than 200 bucks, sounds like such a great deal.

Kristen said...

Thanks so much for the complements, guys! It has really been the most rewarding project we've done so far. And not nearly as hard as people would have you believe.

Dulcie said...

I was wondering why that choir of angels was singing, and now you've set me straight. It looks AWESOME! You guys rock. We need a shop vac.

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linda posey said...

Thanks sooo much for sharing your experience in a way that I could look at and understand. I know it has been a while,so how are your floors holding up? I'm sure everything is still beautiful. I plan on following your example and redoing the wood floors in my 1970 house here in Alabama.

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