Refinishing Hardwood Floors
It is kind of a romantic idea, isn’t it? Reviving something that was once loved but has since been regarded as old and unattractive. The thought of refinishing hardwood floors makes my heart flutter a bit (in a good way). Those floors have seen babies take their first steps and have stood the test of time for many family gatherings; to bring them back to life and make them as loved as when they were first installed, if not more is about as romantic as renovations can get! The process of refinishing hardwood floors is on the other hand not romantic at all; one of my favorite bloogers: John and Sherri from Young House Love shared their journey to refinishing their floors so I thought I’d highlight what they went through. To get the full story check out their blog here.
These experienced DIY’ers thought it was best to leave the refinishing of their floors to the professionals. They had installed flooring before and felt confident but this go around, it was going to take weeks to complete and they couldn’t move forward on their next projects until the floors were completed so they made the decision to let the professionals step in. In hindsight they were very happy with their decision; a direct quote from their blog explains more, “Patching in the new hardwood to be seamless with the old stuff was a big reason we opted out of DIYing this ourselves. If our attempt resulted in cracked or uneven boards, it’s not like we could hide it under a rug or something – it’d be right in the middle of that high-traffic doorway.”
Prior to the installation of the new floor (adding to the existing flooring) they had to let the planks adapt to their home environment; so the new wood was delivered a week prior to the start of the project. The reason this is such an important step is because wood expands and shrinks based on the moisture level in your home so if you don’t allow the wood to get used to the environment you could end up with buckling or gaps in your flooring.
Their original flooring was made up of a mix of hardwood and linoleum so the flooring company removed all the linoleum to install a cohesive flooring throughout their first level. In doing so, they had to remove (carefully, I might add) some of the hardwood planks to stagger in the new flooring. Choosing to do this aided in the cohesive look they were going for; as opposed to making a straight cut and adding the hardwood flooring in. With everything out, they started to place the new boards and used wood putty to fill any grooves where it wasn’t perfect. The wood putty was useful in fixing any boards that were harmed during the process of removing the existing hardwood planks.
Three days later their entire first floor was covered in hardwood. While the next step would normally be sanding and staining, they decided to go ahead and install their cabinets because bringing in cabinets can be hard on the floors so it would be better to do “the damage” before sanding and staining. Once they had installed the cabinets and removed all the furniture from the first floor, the sanding was able to begin! One of the crew ran a large sander while another guy sanded with a hand sander. The next step was to stain the floors which meant the family had to leave. So, they made themselves scarce, except for one day to pop by and see what the flooring was looking like. To their shock, the stain was not turning out how they wanted it to—it was patchy and rustic which they commented, “was pretty, just not what we wanted”. However, to their relief once they sealed the floors that effect went away, just as the flooring company said! When they returned six days later, they were thrilled to see their beautiful floors! I’ve included some before and after photos below!
If you are looking to take on a large project like this, perhaps you are like John and Sherry who opt to trust the experts so that nothing goes awry. But what about when it comes to financing the project? Unless you have been saving up for a large project like this, likely you are considering some sort of credit line to cover the costs. An option you may not realize that you have is a home renovation loan; there are programs such as 203k or HomeStyle which finance your home renovation costs based on the future value of your home, after the improvements are made. So, unlike a bank who will offer you a loan based on the current value, Stockton Mortgage Corporation will lend you the money to cover the costs of the renovation based on the future value. To learn more, visit our website at www.smcapproved.com