In Renovations

A Hardwood Floor Story

So let’s talk about floors!!  I know the topic of floors is pretty riveting stuff!  It is to me, so go grab some coffee and read on, my friend.

The floors were the first project we tackled in the house.  It seemed like a reasonable place to start since house was empty.  We could get them done easily before move in day.

I wasn’t even sure if the house had hardwood floors.  Josh and I had only ever known the house with carpeted.  His Mom had new carpet put in about 10 years ago, and she never mentioned any hardwood.  However, there was one tiny bedroom in the back that had oak hardwood flooring.  Now there is some pretty funky stuff going on in this house, like crazy mismatched paneling on several of the walls.  I wouldn’t have been surprised, if for some reason that tiny room was the only room with wood flooring.  Out of curiosity I pulled up a corner of the carpet in the living room and there it was in perfect condition, glorious hardwood floors glaring at me!  The only downer was the hardwood did not continue into kitchen. The only thing we found in the kitchen was linoleum upon linoleum, and then more linoleum.

I knew we had to have hardwood throughout the main floor.   It is a smaller house and having the same flooring throughout would make the space feel bigger. The hardwood would also help for resale, if we ever choose to sell.  While the floors I found were in great condition, they needed to be stained a darker color to suit my taste.  They looked pretty orange, and putting a darker stain on them would allow me to use lighter furniture to brighten the space.  In our last house we had a lot of brown, and I am looking to get away from the brown.  I am looking to move towards a neutral pallet of grays, creams, tans, with pops of color.  We also have a camel colored sofa that I do not love, but have to work with, and knew it would look best on a darker floor.

This flooring project seemed so simple to me, a little weekend project.  All we had to do was rip up the carpet and linoleum, lay down new flooring in the kitchen, sand them and stain them.  Easy peasy lemon squeasy, as my older daughter would say.

Up to this point everyone (everyone being my family) knew I had found the wood floors, and I wanted them refinished.  But there was really no talk on getting them done.  I knew if I ripped the carpet out I would get the ball rolling.  So one weekend about a month before we moved in I took it upon myself, with my sisters help, to rip the carpet out.  I took a few pics…




It only took about 45 minutes to rip up the carpet and padding.  The time-consuming part came the next day when we had to take out all the staples and tack strips.  Out of curiosity I Googled how much it is to have carpet removed.  Most sites came up saying anywhere from 40-90 cents per square foot, which is not bad, but I would rather save some money and do it myself.  Just remember if you are going to DIY removing your carpet remember you’ll have to pay to dispose of it.


The carpet is out! We are left with a ton of staples and tack strips. Looks better already!


All the staples pulled out and ready to be sanded. I told you they were in great condition!


We were now on our way!  Later that week I purchased the oak flooring we needed for the kitchen from Lumber Liquidators, and rented the sander.  I was ready and had everyone lined up to bang this project out over the weekend.  I think I was the only one that actually thought we could do it, and they all humored me.  Needless to say we did not finish in one weekend.  Taking up the linoleum was pretty labor intensive.  It was ridiculously glued down, and we had to take up a layer of sub flooring, otherwise the kitchen floor would have been higher than the living room.  Pulling up the linoleum took a whole day.  After taking up the linoleum we were ready to lay the flooring. By the end of the day on Sunday half the flooring in the kitchen was done.  Josh and I had to head back to work and to pack up the house we were moving from.  Thankfully my Dad worked on through the week finishing laying the floor in the kitchen, and then sanding them all down.  Later that week he and my Mom stained them and put the finish on them.  We chose to finish them with Varathane® an ordorless polyurethane.  We did not mind paying a few extra bucks for it.  After reading traditional polyurethane and Varathane®, we felt the water based would work well since the floors were in such great condition.  So far we have been really happy with the water based polyurethane.

Not the best picture, but this is the hallway sanded, stained and polyurethane.


Here is the living room, sanded, stained, and polyurethane


Funky paneling


Overall I am really happy with the decision to extend the floors into the kitchen and to refinish them to a darker color.   I would do it all over again.  If you the opportunity to have hardwood go for it.  I see no need to ever cover them up.

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