Our new house was once a recreation hall on an army base. (That story is another post). It was built in 1932 and moved to the property it now sits on in the early 60’s. The whole structure is made of pecan, including the original floors. The previous owner decked the whole interior in cedar and covered majority of the old pecan floors. The only old floor left exposed is in a back hallway and in two bedrooms. We decided to keep it and not cover it up. We had never sanded or stained hardwood. Boy, let me tell you, it’s hard work! Not only that, the sawdust is brutal. It makes it’s way into every nook and cranny, EVERY nook and cranny!
The floors in the hall never had stain on them, they were in fantastic shape! Luckily they had been covered in carpet. Lil’ Buddy’s (our son) floor wasn’t as fortunate. They were salvageable, but the formal owner stained around furniture. They would rearrange and then stain on top of that. I am not an expert, but I am pretty sure they used a water based stain over an oil, there were very large spots that were sticky. It was terrible.
This picture is of Lil’ Buddy’s floor before we got our hands on them.
We rented a sander from a local rental place. It wasn’t your typical sander, very primitive, but we didn’t have other options besides driving 80 miles round trip to get a better one. In hindsight it was probably something we should have done. We also rented an edger. My husband sanded and I edged the first go round. We started at 60 grit and worked our way up to 100, probably should have gone up to 120, but they were very smooth by the time we were done. I later sanded all the corners with a corner sander.
Lil’ Buddy’s floors after sanding. As you can see the floors were saved! For being over 80 years old and in a building that was moved twice, they look fantastic!
Next, it was time to stain the floors. That part wasn’t bad at all. In fact I enjoyed it! We were so happy with the results! I wish the polyurethane would have been just as easy, but it was a pain. We had a well ventilated area, so the smell wasn’t a problem. It was a poly used for homes, not commercial use so the fumes were minimal. I learned you have to treat this stuff like an atom bomb. If you open it and there are bubbles you don’t want to use it. What you use to apply it matters a lot. A lambs wool applicator is best. We didn’t use one on the second coat and there were major bubbles throughout. We sanded between coats, that got rid of the bubbles, plus it creates a tooth for the next layer to adhere to. The last coat we used a very soft cloth with success.
We are not professionals or experts. So, I would do your research beforehand. Better yet, if you have the moola, hire a professional!Looking at the floors now, I must say, it was worth all the work! I love history, I love things with character, and these floors have all of that! I will post a pic of the finished floors once we get the baseboards on. That is happening tomorrow! Can’t wait to see the look on Lil’ Buddy’s face when he finally has a room to call his own!
Have you ever redone hardwoods? Did you think it was worth it?