Remodeling a Farmhouse: Wood Floors

Posted February 4, 2018 in Real Estate Trends

Krista Cunningham, Clark County WA real estate agent

One of the first projects I tackled in our farmhouse remodel was removing about 1200 SF of old carpet to reveal oak hardwood floors that my grandfather had laid when the home was built. Refinishing them was top of my priority list. I had never restored old wood floors before, however I was up to the challenge and luckily had a friend that was willing to help.

The first thing I did was sweep and vacuum the entire house. I hadn’t covered the floors completely when we painted, so there were portions of floor with paint splatters. I wasn’t worried about it then, because I knew I was sanding the floor anyway.

I put on knee pads and went to work with an orbital sander, sanding all the edges where the baseboards had been removed to about two feet out from the wall. It took some strength to keep that sander under control, and I remember being sore for a week after. Seeing the sander remove all the dirt, paint, sealer, and old stain was so satisfying!

While I was working on the edges, my friend used a drum floor sander on the rest of the floor. In a day we had the entire floor down to bare wood. It looked so good! Here are some sanding tips I learned from this project:

– The drum sander wasn’t too hard to work with. You work your way backwards. Start moving even before you start the machine, and you won’t get indentions. Turn off the machine before you stop moving. In other words, don’t let the thing sand in one place for even a second, keep moving!

– The drum sander can’t get reach all the way to the wall. That’s what the edger is for. By edging 2 feet from the baseboard all the way around, I got most of the surface sanded.

Then, it was time to stain the floors. I chose a gorgeous walnut color that was a good medium shade between the raw wood and a few dark water stains. It made the stains less obvious, and gave the floors an overall even rich color that was vastly different from the orangey pecan color it was before. With respirators on our faces and goggles to protect our eyes, we applied the stain by hand with a lambs wool applicator and rag.

After letting the stain dry overnight, we did a second and third coat, then it was time to seal it. First I swept the entire floor again to get rid of dust or particles. Working from the back room toward the door we rolled on the polyurethane, watching out for air bubbles. We did two coats of sealer, let the first one dry overnight, sanded it, and applied the second coat. To sand, we used a pole sander that is used for sheet rock sanding.

That’s it! Not so bad, right? The entire process cost about $900, which included the rental, sanding pads, stain, sealer and new 5” baseboards. Not too shabby for close to new looking floors!

Krista Cunningham
Marketing Guru for The Columbian and Sprout Digital