Lessons Learned


  1. The quick dry or super quick dry polyurethane is better then the ‘high-build’ polyurethane.
    • WHY: For 2 reasons, the drying time and the sanding needed between layers. Although the product says it will be ready for sanding in 10 hours, we found this to not be true and found ourselves sanding a floor too early and having to repair the finish. Which was very disheartening after all the long hours of sanding the old varnish off. Also, the sanding between coats if avoidable is just one more step/time saved.
    • Follow-up: we ended up revising this opinion, when we realized we had too many time constraints and weren’t able to apply the second coat within 8 hours to avoid the sanding between layers. We also found the semi-gloss high build look more appealing after doing Olive’s room by accident. So it might be a matter of work flow and preference at the end of the day on which one you choose.
  2. Old Varnish requires lots of sand paper and patients.
    • WHY: The old varnish in home this age is very gummy, and will gum up a 12 grit sandpaper disc in a matter of minutes. All it takes is a little heat and grit, and the disc or belt is useless.


  1. Keep it simple and only use hot water and Fabric softner.
    • WHY: There are many of products out there that the above can do just fine, which saves alot of money. We also found the scraper a ‘must’ need tool
  2. Patients, lots of patients!
  3. Be prepared for what is beneath.
    • WHY: We knew the walls would have cracks in the plaster due to the age of the home. However, we have made the decision to delay the dining room because the state of the walls far exceeded what we anticipated and driving our initial budget for the entire house up by $200 for one room.


  1. It is worth shopping around for cabinets.
    • WHY: We originally zeroed in on Ikea’s cabinetry due to how happy we are with our current kitchen and the lower price point advertised. However, after we chose the solid wood door at Ikea we shopped around and discovered there were all-hardwood-cabinet vendors that came within Ikea’s pricing. The drawback, the shipping time was 4 weeks.
  2. Timing is a delicate matter.
    • WHY:  The floors needed to be ready for the cabinets to be installed by June 15th. But the electric was also due to be completed by June 15th creating a problem of foot traffic on the brand new floor if it was completed in time for the cabinets. The walls were also going to need to be repaired from all the holes created, so painting seemed a fruitless task as well. Either direction we catered to would leave us having to push our move-in date back by about 2 weeks which would be very difficult. So we made the decision to wait on paint, but to finish the floors and take as much precaution possible to preserve the brand new floors.


  1. Allow 2-4 weeks after your home insurance inspection for unplanned repairs before spending most of your budget.
    • WHY: We added in a 20% reserve for unplanned repairs on top of our slightly blotted budget, which was serving us well, but when our Home Insurance contacted us to tell us we had to replace the roof we were caught off guard. Our lesson learned, leave yourself 2-4 weeks after your Home Insurance inspection before spending most of your budget in case they contact you with a required repair.
  2. Research Trim/molding options

    • WHY: We wanted to match the trim exactly in the living room for the south facing glass block window. So we started the project, and found the trim would either need to routered by us or custom made for us. So we took the medium line, and routered our own boards with the bits we had. The final solution looks good, but is not an exact match.

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