The Middle Part

There are three phases to any project. There is the beginning phase when you are excited about the outcome, have enough energy to run a marathon; full speed ahead. Your momentum is high and so are your spirits. There is the final phase, where you see it all coming together, just a few finishing touches and you are ready to roll. Gratification at it's finest. Unfortunately, there is this long grueling, frustrating middle part. It typically lasts the longest and makes you never want to DIY something again in your life. But then this silly final phase makes you forget all of that, it's strange...

Well, this was a spot on analogy to refinishing the hardwood floors we found under the carpet. I started on a Tuesday morning, excited about the end product of beautifully refinished floors. First thing in the morning I was at Home Depot to rent, what I thought, and was confirmed by mr HD employee, was the proper sander to sand down my floors and prep them for a fresh coat of polyurethane. I hauled the machine into my house (it is NOT a light object, bruises on my legs will prove this). Put on the sanding pad and got to work. The sun was shining, the floors looked like they were being sanded, all was well in the world.

After you sand 'the field' as the peeps in the biz call it, you need to sand the edges. For this, an Edger comes into play. This is a small spiral sander which is pretty hard to maneuver. After edging one run with the edger I knew something was wrong. The edger was taking SIGNIFICANTLY more off the wood than the sander was. I called around to a few places and the wonderful people at Pete's Hardwood Floors told me that the peeps at Home Depot gave me THE WRONG SANDER. This was after six hours of sanding! The edger was doing it's job, but the sander was not sanding deep enough. Feeling defeated, I returned the equipment to HD, made plans to get the correct sander on Saturday and poured myself a cocktail...

Fast forward to Saturday. I woke up stressing about the floors. You see, sanding is a very important task in this process and can basically make or break your floors. Polyurethane will show all marks. It's like a highlighter for your floors. I hauled to HD to pick up the correct sander and edger and dragged them into my house. I could immediately tell the difference. The Drum sander got down to where the edger was hitting. Things were looking up. Each room needed 3 swipes with both the sander and the edger. You start with a really harsh grit of sand paper to remove the previous stain/poly (36 grit) and work your way up to a finishing grit (80-100grit), in both the field and the edges. Unfortunately, the edger cannot reach the corners of a room, those have to be done by hand. Thank the lord for my parents for keeping me sane and helping me sanding out the corners of each room!

Finally, the middle part of the project was nearing the end. Sunday afternoon we considered the floors to be 'done' with the sanding portion and put on the sealer. I am using the Dura-Seal line which has one coat of sealer (seen in picture below), and two coats of polyurethane. At last, we are at the final stages of the project. The floors look beautiful and are drying as I type. This step makes me forget the long hours of sanding floors on my knees."Oh, i'd totally refinish floors again!" haha jk lolz. Maybe once my fingers heal and my brain completely forgets the middle part. Although, it is pretty satisfying knowing I saved around 4k in this whole process... silver lining :)

I'm always SUPER stylish, BTW. #safetyfirst

So now just two coats of poly (drying 24 hours between) and these babies will be DONE.

oh, p.s. see anything wrong about this photo?

It's kinda hard to see, but under the window there? A HOLE in my wood floors?! You see, back in the day wood floors were installed, and then some interior designer was like "CARPET IS ALL THE RAGE INSTALL IT EVERYWHERE" which was AWESOME for me because it kept these floors in legit condition. However, HVAC vents were in the floors, which were to be covered by carpet. So they boarded that up and relocated (why?) the vents (seen above covered by paper towels and tape!) to a new location leaving holes.

This just wouldn't do.

So! Off I went to Bauer Brothers Salvage in North Minneapolis. This place is AWESOME. When homes are to be renovated/demolished they deconstruct (#thesistopicforthewin) the homes and bring all the amazing historical pieces there. INCLUDING some red oak flooring, which is not sold in 1 1/2" anymore. So after digging through bins for an hour I found enough to patch the three holes I had in my floors.

Ugh, it looks so easy with just two pictures. After measuring the three panels to cover, and correcting the depth of the subfloor to fit the new wood, I cut the pieces down to size. There were nails in all the pieces, most were rusted. So I spent an hour or so getting those out. Then fit them in and nailed them down. Super not fun, but super worth it. Once they are sanded down they will fit in muuuch better to their nearby red oak friends!

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