Dark Walnut Oak

I’ve previously revealed that our two first house projects for the Traub Mansion were the hardwood floors and the bathroom.  And so as the title of this post suggests, here I go with explaining our hardwood floors project!

Since we were simultaneously working on the bathroom at the same time that we decided to do the floors, we decided to DIY the project to save some money to allow us to get certain bathroom upgrades. (not to mention to make sure we had enough cash to get both projects done)

So we swept and mopped up the floors and headed over to Home Depot to rent a sander.

It was surprisingly quite easy to use. Just back and forth, and back and forth. We took turns making passes with the machine and just watched as our floors turned from orange to raw wood. All of the water stains that lived in the living room (that was mostly covered by my at-the-time new area rug) were all surface stains (thank god!) and were sanded away without a problem.

I wish I had taken more photos of the process to document it more, but I got that look from Ryan so I snapped the shots that I got, put the camera down and got back to work.

The sander and the different number grits (we got three – one rough, one medium and one light) came to about $200. If my memory serves me correctly I believe we got a 30, 60 and 100. Home Depot tried to tell us to get a 90 as well, but we thought 3 different types of grits was plenty. We did at least one pass (I think we actually did 2 passes with the 60) on all the floors – making that 4 totally passes on both the first and second floors of our home. (Again, we didn’t do the third floor because the wood was different and we decided to concentrate on just the first two “main living” floors for now.)
And here’s what our sanding job looked like:

Now here’s where our troubles began. We had some issues getting close to the wall, regardless of using a hand sander with as heavy as a grit as we could find (60), and then renting an even better hand sander with an even heavier grit. We just still couldn’t get the edges to match the rest of the floor.

And even with the edges not matching the rest of the floor…the floor wasn’t as even as it needed to be anyway. We did all these passes and even though it seemed like the floors could use more, we were hesitant to keep sanding. I guess we weren’t sure how much had been possibly sanded in the past, how thick the wood actually was, and how much wood was left after all our hard work.

In all my frustration I wanted to try putting stain down anyway. Crazy right? …I was frustrated and physically spent. So I put down some stain in the master bedroom, figuring that even if I ruined it it wouldn’t be in the living room or entry way where I (and all of my guests) would constantly be reminded of my failure. And it went as well as I thought it would: not at all. The stain went nicely on the parts that were sanded…but I guess some of the wood still had the previous finish on it and obviously didn’t take my plead.

Soooo we called in a professional. Even if we didn’t end up hiring, we wanted to get a quote (and advice) on the project. So while I was down on vacation in OBX with my maid of honor, Niki and her family, Ryan stayed home (due to his lack of time off ) and called in such a professional. He called in a local guy, Allen of Path Hardwood Flooring, and Allen saved the day.

Allen came in, looked at our progress, and since we had done a huge amount of the legwork ourselves, gave us an amazing quote for under $2,000 to finish up the job. And we jumped on it. He ran a few more passes on all the floors and got the edges to match. He then stained and finished the floors for us. We selected a dark walnut stain to finish the floors with. Ok, maybe its weird to refinish oak floors with a dark walnut stain…but I just love dark hard wood floors!

And enough jibber jabber and on to the before and afters.

So shiny and new!!! Eek! This was by far the best thing to come home from a vacation to. Granted, I was insanely nervous all week wondering how it was going, but as Ryan is constantly reminding me: Delayed Gratification. And this was a great example of it.

And to complete our flooring project we also had to put in some quarter round in the living room and the upstairs hallway. Thankfully Ryan has some amazing friends, like Nate who came to help us out with the small project. The boys went around and made all the cuts and nailed in the trim, while I went around with the wood putty and primer.

Ugh, look at those curtains! But thats for another day. So, after a rather wordy post and somewhat of a trials and tribulations confession, we have two floors of beautifully refinished hardwood and only needed to finish up remodeling the bathroom before we could officially move in!

How about you? Anyone else have a DIY plan that needed a little professional boost to get ‘er done?

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2 comments on “Dark Walnut Oak

  1. […] not that dirty – it has a paper overlay still. We plan to have oak floors installed to match the rest of the house.  As for the concrete threshold…considering just putting a fresh layer of concrete on it to […]

  2. […] Allen of Path Hardwood Floors is the guy to hire. Two years ago when we purchased our home, we sanded down our floors ourselves and hired Allen to finish the stain and finishing. He did such a spectacular job, my […]

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