When we decided to give the bedrooms a makeover because of Mike’s wedding at the end of June, Steph decided to call around and get some quotes for the floor refinishing. Some of the prices we got for the three rooms were so outrageous there was no way we could afford it considering we have to replace the roof and windows. So, I decided I was going to do it. Much to my surprise it was not as difficult as it seems.
I sanded by hand on my knees used an orbital sander. Instead of using the little bag attachment to catch the dust, my wet / dry vac comes with attachments that allow me to connect the hose to the sander. Since I am deaf as a doorknob without my ears, ear protection was never an issue. Not one speck of dust made it out of the room. Steph was happy about that!
I used #60 and #80 grit paper, the kind that clings to the sander disk. One disk was sufficient for a 10 foot by 2 foot pass. Since #60 is coarser than #80, it allowed me to get the job done faster. But in any case, either grade is ideal for the task at hand. I wanted to sand enough of the surface to remove the top layer of finish as well as any paint spots. Scratches and water marks by the window were left alone. Certain parts such as where there was residual glue from the padding tape required a little more effort.
Sanding by hand allowed me to control how much I wanted to take off at any given spot, some more than others. Since the house was almost 60 years old, the goal was to retain as much of the character of the floors as possible. We didn’t want them to be perfect which is what a sanding machine would have accomplished. Also, with a sanding machine you run the risk of taking too much off. Once you do that, you can’t reverse the effect.
For finish, I used an oil based gloss polyurethane. Let me tell you, that is some STRONG stuff! The positives of using oil over water made it worthwhile; you’ll get a deeper and richer look which lasts much longer. And it is waterproof in case we leave the windows open during a rainstorm. The odor lasts as long as the floors take to dry, roughly 12 hours. Three coats were put down and each coat adds depth and tone.
The floor was vacuumed and then wiped with tack cloth. Two kinds of applicators were used. Along the walls by the baseboard, a standard paint edger did just perfectly. A lambswool applicator was used for the rest of the floor. While you won’t see it in the pictures, you’ll feel various imperfections from the dried micro-bubbles and lambswool lint. This will wear off as the room is being used and after two weeks, the imperfections will be practically non-existent. Total time? 15 hours…12 for the sanding and cleaning up, and 1 each per coat applied with drying time of 12 hours in between.
With the floor finally done and over with, next up are the pictures of the room put back together….