Sanding and Staining Hardwood Floors – Our Saga

Think Refinishing Old Hardwood Floors is Easy? Read On…

We are at the point at the Rebel House where it is time for refinishing the old hardwood (original oak) floors. The floors themselves are in pretty good condition except for a few darkly stained areas. “No problem” we thought. Easy as pie, it is almost like sanding and staining a piece of furniture, right?

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Wrong. We thought we had the plan all laid out except that Murphy reared his ugly head one too many times. You’re familiar with Murphy’s law, right? “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”. Yeah. That was the theme of the day.

We started out by renting this monster…

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This is a finishing sander. It uses ginormous sheets of sandpaper that are stuck to a thick pad, which in turn clings to a plate on the machine sort of like velcro. (Note: Yes, Matt is sanding against the grain. We were instructed to do so by the pro at the rental desk. The marks would then be removed by the final sanding with the grain!)

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It would be all well and good except that most of the little nubs designed to hold the pad in place were missing. By most, I mean way more than half. Poor Matt was so sore the next day from wrestling the sander because the pad wasn’t holding properly. Kinda hard to sand a floor properly when the pad wants to do its own thing! At least we made it through. Or did we… refinishing old hardwood floors Photo09181341

Next, it was time to apply the stain. We used a pad specifically for applying stain to a floor. The color wasn’t even close to what Matt wanted. In all honesty, it is a new color from one of my favorite wood care lines and it was not an attractive color. I tried to like it, Matt tried to like it, but it wasn’t happening. I also tried wiping it after applying it but to no avail. The wipe marks were visible and the color was so wrong! Ugh! Matt exchanged the newer cans for a much darker color. refinishing old hardwood floors Photo09181224

So, I applied the darker stain (without wiping) and it looks fabulous! So far, so good. Now it is just a waiting game – the stain has to fully dry and it definitely needs to gas-out because the fumes are horrendous! Next week will come part two – the polyurethane sealer. Wish us luck and if you see Murphy, tell him to stay home! refinishing old hardwood floors Photo09181432

Do you have any horror stories about refinishing old hardwood floors? I’d love to hear about it! If it was easy and a bed of roses for you, well, I’d still like to hear it but be forewarned – I will be rolling my eyes! Just kidding!