Back to the kitchen for a bit. Redoing the floors was not on the radar when we started, but it’s the same thing that happens when you change anything in a room. One thing needs to be fixed and then the other problems stand out like a sore thumb. Pretty soon you are redoing an entire room just because you changed a door knob. Well, when we started talking about walls and cabinets, the floors wanted their day in the sun. I took a good look at them and agreed. The holes in the wood and the scratches made me embarrassed for every previous time I had had anyone over. I grabbed the wood fill and a hand sander and got to work. EVERYTHING I read about refinishing a hardwood floor said it was a difficult, time consuming job that required renting a powerful sander that sucked up the dust as it sanded. Then you had to carefully stain and topcoat with a polyurethane. Really?? How hard can it be??? Don’t believe it. In a pinch, it can be done 4 nights before a party, and it only took that many days because I had to let the wood filler dry. Now, perhaps the floor won’t endure the traffic of thousands of feet, both human and dog, for a dozen years, but I say it was so easy, I can do it every few years and won’t mind. Also, my house was already a mess so a little more dust wasn’t going to bother me.
The above picture (sorry it’s so awful. I guess taking pictures with your phone at 10 pm after working on the floors all evening isn’t the way to get award winning shots) was taken after I had filled gaps and holes between and in the wood. What started out as one noticeable hole grew to almost the entire floor. I had to make myself stop. After letting the fill dry for a couple of days, I sanded down the dried putty and the rest of the floor. It only took a couple of hours. Then we had to cover it up and work on paint, etc., so things were put off for a while. When it was time to turn my attention back, that delay came back to haunt me.
I deliberated forever in the aisles of Home Depot. Oak or Walnut? Red tint or yellowish??? Since I couldn’t bring my floor in to match, I had to rely on a picture from my phone. The stain sample display was juuuuust high enough that I couldn’t really see it. I think we ended up buying 2 different colors and mixing up a concoction ourselves which will surely come back to haunt us when we need to touch up. When the excruciating color decision had been made, I went home and I vacuumed, swiffed, swept and mopped. Then did it again. The floor had to be REALLY clean. Finally I started staining. SCARY!! Turns out it’s much easier than the actual stain choosing!
After wiping the stain on in a small area with an old cotton rag, I simply wiped it off. Easy as that. When the floor was all done, I gave it another wipe and let it dry. Maybe it took an hour to do the whole room. Easy, I tell you. The next day, it was time to put a protective coat on it. The only thing I knew to do was polyurethane for a protective finish. It’s smelly, expensive and takes some time. None of those are on my list of likes. Worst of all, our timing was off. After buying the expensive, stinky poly, it said it had to cure 2 days to walk on it and a week to be protective (or something like that). We had less than 48 hours. A conundrum, I tell you. Do I leave an unprotected floor or do I seal it and tell people to walk softly? I then asked myself that question that so many of us do when faced with life decisions…What would Laura do? What would Laura Ingalls Wilder do way back in the day before there was even poly? That did not provide the enlightenment that it usually does, so I move it up a few decades and thought, what about June Cleaver? Then it hit me, PASTE WAX! It protects and seals, can be put on with a rag, for goodness sakes, and is CHEAP! Kenny ran to the store and got some. I applied it and buffed it out with his sander (with buffing attachment, not the sanding thingy) and in less than 2 hours and I had a nice, shiny floor that would hold up to the party traffic.
It’s been 5 months and it still looks good. I’d say great, but with all the bathroom renovation in the room next door, it’s pretty dusty right now. When all the dust clears, my guess it that we are going to have to wax again. I don’t mind, though. I think I prefer the satin look of the wax to the gloss of poly and I love that isn’t that much harder than mopping the floor.
Back to the topic of the WLYS. I’ve picked out a couple of things from last year’s sale that never made the rotation into the house. I’m gonna take some pics and post them and you can pick what you want if you are the lucky winner. I’ll try to get them up tomorrow.