Refinishing Floors Part 1

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  • Yesterday was hectic!

    We started at 8am and called it quits at 3am, only to start it all over again this morning. (Except we took a breather this morning to celebrate Mother’s Day with a full Irish Breakfast.)

    With the first pass of 34 grit paper completed for entire house by 7pm last night, it was great to see the dining room, living room and kitchen sanded up to 100 grit paper before calling it a day at 3am. (We were also able to get some detail work completed around the transoms and radiator to get a glimpse of how the entire house will look when we are all done- yippee!)

    Once we finish this phase, we still have a couple of passes with an edger and then we will attack the corners and details with a belt or detail palm sander. But these will have to wait until next weekend, and potentially the weekend after.

    A few points to note:

    • Old varnish is gummy and not easy nor quick to sand. We had to start with a 34 grit paper and change the rolls often to keep from literally spreading the varnish. Otherwise it is like trying to sand a floor covered in hot glue.
    • We have three types of wood flooring. The living room and first bedroom are Oak, the dining room and second bedroom are Maple (the dining room was originally the kitchen when the home was built in 1908). Lastly, the kitchen and third bedroom were added to the house sometime between 1908 and 1941 and have Pine floors. Each sand very differently as you’d imagine.
    • If you sand into the wee hours on the morning, it takes several hours for your hands to feel like they are not vibrating.
    • Refinishing floors is a great excuse to purchase a palm and belt sander.
    • It takes more then a weekend to sand 1000 sq/ft!

    What stain should we pick? We haven’t figured out if we should do as the previous owners did and ignore the different woods and go with one unifying stain, OR embrace the different woods.

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  • 5 thoughts on “Refinishing Floors Part 1

    1. Thank you!!! We are so excited to see a fresh face for the floors. It changes the rooms so much! Once we get edges completed I think we will feel like we can rest alittle before staining.

    2. The office, and two bedrooms look a lot better now. We went back over them yesterday with another round of 34 grit, then 60, then 100 and finally finished with 120. I think the reason they were not cleaning up fully was that once the sanding pad collected any buildup of varnish, any at all, that the buildup was working like a little spacer and preventing the rest of the sanding pad from getting a good grip. That’s why the side rooms looked so smeared instead of sanded. It worked better after most of the varnish was already pulled up.

      Note: Sanding floors with thick varnish on them is WAY harder than finishing new hardwood floors. In the future, (Abigail: what do you think of closets with a nice thin floating laminate floor?)

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