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How to re-finish a hardwood floor

We packed our suitcases and set off for Philadelphia early last week. Rachel’s baby shower(s) were waiting! But this ain’t no vacation for me! Without most of my tools or the usual setup, I hatched a plan to hook up my brother-in-law with a renovated bedroom as a high-school graduation gift.

But perhaps I bit off more than I could chew?

So here’s the room…off the bat I know we’re repainting. Maybe a neutral tan or grey.

The walls are begging for something…ANYTHING. Is that an octopus hat?

Here’s where things get interesting…yep, that’s hardwood! After investigating what lies beneath, I said to hell with it…let’s redo the floor!

Since my brother-in-law has never had the opportunity to learn how to do things around the house, this was the perfect time to learn. We (carefully) removed the moulding so that we could repaint/reuse it.

Next we removed the old dirty carpet, padding and carpet tack. The floors were in fair shape, sporting a few stains and loose boards.

The walls were in worse shape than the floor. I spackeled the hell out of them (as you can see).

Just like those HGTV and DIY channel shows, his homework was to pull out all of the remaining carpet staples! hah! But I’ve done it before myself…so suck it up!

I took a trip to the local hardware superstore to browse for a wood stain. I was thinking Dark Walnut (bottom right) but I’m not totally sold on it yet.

Next up we’re sanding down the spackel and getting our paint on. Stay tuned…!

Over the course of the past week we spackeled, painted, sanded down the floors and stained them. Some getaway, right?!

I had some leftover red/orange from when we painted our master bedroom two years ago. I brought that and some painting tools with me. I picked up a light grey for the rest of the walls. I thought it would be a cool idea to put the red/orange on the back wall, but leave the grey for the side walls and remainder of the room. It looks pretty great.

And how about those floors? Wow!

I rented an orbital sander unit from home depot. It sports four pads on the bottom that allow you to change out the grit. It’s basically four of my hand orbital sanders in one.

They recommend changing the sanding paper every 15 minutes, and I concur. I used 4 packs (4 sanding papers in each) of 40-grit, 2 packs of 80-grit and 2 packs of 100-grit.

Home depot did away with the bag dust collection system, which sucks. They made me rent this shop-vac instead. I had to lug it around behind me the whole time. The hose kept coming loose, so I had to keep taping it on. But, the floor looks great.

For homework I had Miguel sand the perimeter of the room that the orbital couldn’t get. Tomorrow I’ll be throwing on the polyurethane so I’ll get some pictures of the (hopefully) dry stain. I went with Minwax’s “Special Walnut” (see above chart) and it looks absolutely GREAT.

And I’m back with the stain/clearcoat shots…

Here’s the dry “Special Walnut” stain.

After the first coat of  Minwax Water-Based (Oil Modified) Fast Drying Polyurethane.

After the 2nd coat. It took about 30 minutes to dry (80 degrees, high humidity).

Sanding after the 2nd coat. I used 225 Grit.

I ended up sanding by hand with the help of my father-in-law.

I’ll be back on Saturday to finish up the room with moulding and window treatments.

The floor turned out great!

I re-used the existing moulding and had my brother-in-law repaint them. There are a a couple trouble spots, but overall it worked out well.

The grey looks awesome with that sexy floor.

Rach and I picked up some curtains and standard rods for the two windows and two closets. The closet curtains are a simple solution for some much needed privacy…because who wants to look at all your clothes/shoes laying out?

We also grabbed new bedding, pillows and a comforter. This picture was taken in the late afternoon, so the lighting isn’t the greatest.

These Derek Hess figure lithographs bring the room together (I’m going to miss them). It feels much more grown-up and sophisticated now. I’m digging the black/grey/orange-red/bright white color scheme.

Well, my job here is DONE! It’s been a super amazingly awesome and arduous adventure, but one lucky guy has a comfortable new pad to study in for the next four years.

If you have any questions about the process, products used or any comments, feel free post them below!

I’ll just leave these here for a quick comparison…







One stay at home dad (to be) conquers DIY and Diapers

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Miguel

    This is awesome! Like pimp my room!

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