Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hardwood Floors

I was so happy to see hardwood throughout most of the house when we first walked through it. Our current house is almost entirely hardwood and I love it, so I knew I wanted hardwood in the new house as well. I also wanted a dark stain, and luckily we'd have the perfect opportunity to change the finish while the house was empty before we moved in. It's basically impossible to do anything to the floors once you live in the house, so we seized this opportunity to get them finished the way we want them.

The previous finish on the floors was an orange-y medium wood tone that you see a lot in houses in this area from the 20s and 30s. Like this: 

I don't hate this color, but since I've lived with it in my current house for 7 years, I was ready for something different. I also feel that this color reads very warm and I'm using more cool tones in this house.

Luckily, most of the boards themselves were in really good shape and didn't need to be replaced. There were just a few places where we had to use new wood, and those repairs went really quickly. 

The process of refinishing is a painstaking one, and unfortunately it's also extremely inconvenient in terms of scheduling: refinishing requires the whole job site to be closed down for over a week, with no other workers allowed in during that time. This hurt a lot since we are getting down to the wire before our move, and there's really no good time to do it. 

I think we made the best decision we could given our constraints, and I'm okay with the trade-off being that there will still be guys working on other things after we move in. 

As I mentioned, I wanted a darker finish without any red/orange to it, so what we ended up using was a custom-mixed stain (because I always have to be difficult) that's about 3 parts Minwax Jacobean to 1 part Minwax Ebony.

Having never met me before, the floor guys tried to convince me I didn't really want a dark finish, but in the end I think they realized I know what I want :)

So, the process for the floors was this: on day 1 (Monday), a team of two guys sands all the floors down to raw wood. Day 2 (Tuesday) the same guys apply stain in a very specific pattern throughout the house, then the stain is left to dry for two full days. Then for the next three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) they applied a coat of poly sealer, one coat each day.

After the last coat of poly sealer is applied, the floor is again left untouched for two days before people can walk on the floor, but only without shoes. Here's what the floors looked like after that:

This close-up shows what is pretty close to the true color: 

I don't love how super-shiny they are right now, but I'm sure they will dull down in no time. 

The floor people recommend waiting two full weeks to move in furniture, which is not very realistic in my opinion considering we already had the house closed for a full week. So, we're going to pretend we didn't hear that recommendation and continue with our plan to move in this Thursday (!!!!!). Anyway, let's get real: we have a whirling dervish toddler and a dog, so it's not like the floors are going to stay perfectly pristine for long anyway (nor do I want them to). 

I think the floors look really pretty with the wall color and are going to look amazing with the navy/emerald color palette I'm bringing in with the furniture and art. 

There's a ton of wood trim in the house too, which I left the original color for now. 

The contrast between the wall trim/crown molding and the floors doesn't bother me, and if it does down the road, I can always get it re-stained. It's much easier to do that while we live in the house than the floors would be, so I think we'll just cross that bridge if and when we get there.

This was a big check off on the to-do list and I'm so happy we decided to get the floors done before the move. 

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