Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Hard Wood Floor Revival

So a few months ago my husband ventured off for a four-day bachelor party. Yes, that's right. Four days to myself in a house that needed, or at least could use, my creative touch and personalization. It should come as no surprise to you that by day three, I was no longer able to contain myself. It didn't help, of course, that on the eve of day three I had totally discussed plans for my living room in great detail with my sister and dearest girlfriend,. And that night, a plan was born. 

We woke up the next morning, cleared out all of the furniture, and I send the following text to my husband, whose poor soul wasn't there to even defend itself: 

"I'm painting and pulling up the carpet in the living room, OK?" 

Poor guy. But have no fear, I think he would even admit that a beautiful, cozy and much-needed facelift ensued. 

Before the makeover, the living room was very .... umm ... cream. It was best described by my 97-year-old grandmother, who said it looked like "a dish of vanilla ice cream." She always says it best. And though I never thought I'd utter these words, I was sick of the ice cream. 

Enter the inspirational evening and by the next day my crew had helped me paint and tear up carpet. Unfortunately, I sometimes become so blind inspiration that I forget to document my progress. This was one of those times. But as you can see in the photo, the entire room was the color of the fireplace and trim, and to make it even worse, our carpet was off white, and our furniture beige. Yuck. 

And as you can also see in the photo, we pulled up the carpet to reveal some badly-worn wood floors that were just waiting for a little love and attention.  

There were several dark spots throughout the room, almost as if someone had spilled a Diet Coke and decided it would be easier to carpet than clean! 

So after getting a few estimates on how much it would cost to have them professionally done, we decided to save ourselves $1500 bucks and get to work. The first thing we did was rent a sander, which was sooooo much easier than I would have ever thought. 

After sanding the entire floor with three different grits of sand paper, which we were able to complete by early afternoon, we got to work on the polyeurethane and staining. 

I really didn't want to wipe the floors down with mineral spirits, but it truly paid off, so I'd recommend the same to others. Don't get lazy! Get down on your knees and make sure the floors is completely clean. It's worth it. Here's what it looked like after sanding and spirits. 

Next came the trickiest part - deciding which stain best matched the already-exposed dining room floors. Our house was built in the 40s and we already knew the floors were oak, so we were relieved to find that Minwax's Golden Oak stain was a dead ringer in the stain test...

Product Image


And so the games began. We stained every inch of the floor with paint brushes and wiped with old t-shirts...

Progress took place in the form of baby steps. 

And a few lime-a-ritas certainly helped us to get through the night!

By the next morning we were able to begin applying the polyurethane, which was also tricky, as once again we had to match the existing dining room floors - this time to the glossiness. For us Minwax pulled through once again with its fast-drying clear semigloss. 

So we began the long process of applying three coats! One...

Two ... 

Enter exhaustion... can you see the forced smile?

and three! 

Proud doesn't even begin to cover it ... 

I know every nook and cranny of those darned floors ... and what's more ... ??

In my biased opinion, we did a pretty good job! I'll be the first to admit that they aren't perfect. But someone who'd walk into my house and immediately stare at the difference isn't likely to be invited anyway!

We estimate that this job only cost us around $150, mostly due to the the rental fee for the sander. Our other costs, which were mainly polyurethane, stain, paintbrushes, etc. were minimal and completely worth a 90% savings!

So what does the room look like now? Stop by later this week for the reveal! 

I'm linking up to: 


  1. Your floors look fabulous! Great job!

  2. Love it! I'm a newlywed too, and my husband and I own a home with TOOOOOOO MUCH GOLDEN OAK! It is everywhere and it is taking over my life! I want to stain it a nice dark color, I just have to get my husband on board! I'll be following your process, and if you have any tips for getting my husband to let me re-do his "wonderful" golden oak floors..let me know! hah!

  3. An impressive post, I just gave this to a colleague who is doing a little analysis on this topic. And he is very happy and thanking me for finding it. But all thanks to you for writing in such simple words. Big thumb up for this blog post!hard wooden floors

  4. You ladies did a super job. We're facing the same sort of job and not really looking forward to it, but certainly can't afford a pro job. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. u did a awesome job i looked at so many ways on here to do it but want something more 123 easy do it your self job and i found u thanks so much will be doing this now that i renovated half of my house on my own from plaster new wall and all and yes lady's all by my self one thing for shore i strongly believe a good women strong mind dont need to make hubby agree a women house is a women house my husband luvs my work never complained and im a bargain hunter he says he never worries with me lml well thanks for the floor ideas will be doing this after i finish the other half of my house god bless everyone and a blessed upcoming holidays ;)

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  7. Well Done! You did a brilliant job, and your floors looks good. The wood flooring Vancouver is kind of flooring looks which looks beautiful in the home, and anyone can make it clean without spending much money. Thanks for sharing your good effort work.

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  9. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me, Thanks for posting.
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