This is the question I’ve been asked to most about all the renovations & remodeling done in my 1920’s home.
Did you refinish your hardwood floors?
You mean this kitchen floor that had been ripped out because the kitchen flooded?
With the board, everyone stepped on. And I kept panicking because I thought the board would break and that someone was going to end up falling through to the basement? I marked it so people wouldn’t stand on it and it seemed to attract people!
I told my contractor that as soon as I closed on the house, the absolute very first thing I wanted him to do was fix this floor!
These were also original floors (in the sunroom), with scratches, a ton of water damage, and some residual glue from the moss green shag rug that apparently covered these floors for decades.
I honestly don’t think I could have seen past that carpeting. Let that sink in – moss green shag carpet.
But, that carpet protected this floor, in some ways. My hundred-year-old home had floors that had never been refinished. I was very concerned and very hopeful that the water damaged hardwood floor could be refinished.
There was no turning back once I owned this house!
Sometimes I still can’t believe I bought this house in the condition it was. My life was a mess. This house was a mess. I guess we needed each other : ). I did write a post at the beginning of my fixer-upper journey. Warning! One of my besties called me to complain that it made her cry.
Refinishing Hardwood floors in my vintage home
Refinishing the floors was the absolute last thing that was done of all the remodeling projects. It was probably the project that was the most nerve-wracking for me. I had so much hope that the floors would turn out but there were no guarantees. The floors in the WHOLE house were being refinished! Every single room, except the bathrooms which were going to be tiled, were going to be fixed, patched and refinished!
Choosing stain color for my vintage oak floors
For some reason, I originally didn’t realize all the floors on the main level were oak with the exception of the kitchen! I guess it’s because I had once lived in a home that had that clear, shiny orangy oak colored floor. It never occurred to me that these floors that I had fallen in love with were actually oak. Yup, I was a pro-fixer-upper.
I had spoken with the wood finishing sales guy about colors. I had told him I was looking for a brown similar to what the living room looked like. Because the color was what made me not realize the floors were oak!
When the floor guys came to start, they took the sander and sanded a big spot in the living room near a window so we had good light to see the stain colors on the floor.
I loved the stain on the left. I wanted the whole downstairs hardwood stained the same color stain. Originally, every room had a different color stain. Below is my little front entryway to my home. Look at the bottom of the picture to see how the stain changes from the living room to this little entryway room.
See the dark stained living room floor, they the orangy stained entryway at the bottom of the above picture? That’s why I was determined to stain the whole main floor one color. I wanted the floors to look more cohesive and not have your eye catch the line of where the stain color changed.
What stain colors did you choose for the main floor?
But back to my stain color. Once I saw the stain on my floor, it was an easy decision for me. I was trying to match the period of the house, use a stain color that would look good on the whole main level, wasn’t too dark and, was browner but not orange. The stain I chose is made by DuraSeal and is called Antique Brown. Just the name sounded fitting for my vintage home! It was an Infinity Satin finish made fy Glitsa.
Fixing my hardwood floors – Replacing the kitchen & joining old and new flooring
Let me show you some before and afters. Basically what the floors looked like. My kitchen originally had maple floors in it. That was because when the house built, you put the nice things in the rooms other people would see. The kitchen was hidden behind a wall. I took out that wall to open up the house. If that process is interesting to you, take a look at My Kitchen Remodel.
This is what the kitchen originally looked like with the maple floors.
Unfortunately, there was a flood and I bought this house when the floor looked like the picture below. The lower cabinets and the floors were removed to prevent mold.
I mentioned before that I wanted a uniform look with the floors throughout my house. I decided to replace the kitchen floors with oak, like the rest of the house, not with maple that had originally been in there.
Not only did I change the floor, but I removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room. In the picture below, you are looking from the dining room into the kitchen. The wall in the above picture was removed. But, focus on the floor!! The flooring guys brought in new oak floors and the technique to join them was called ‘feather them in’. So, there is no straight line between the old floors and the new ones. They are staggered to look like they were always joined.
And then, this is where I just can’t believe what a great job these guys did! Everything was sanded down and refinished. My dining room has 100-year-old floors. My kitchen brand new floors. I just showed you how they were feathered together.
Huh, that would be Raji, my cat photobombing my picture on the rug in the dining room! He’s a stinker but I love him!
Every day when I walk into my kitchen, I’m overjoyed. It turned out so well! There’s a slideshow in my post showing how the original kitchen was taken down to the studs, the walls were removed and it was built up. If you want to see it, the post is I bought a house without a kitchen.
Let me just remind you how my original sunroom floors looked like.
So this is just my main floor! My upstairs floors were also fixed and refinished!
The upstairs floor.
I actually took the smaller two bedrooms and took out a wall upstairs to make a master suite.
On the floor, in the above picture, you can see where the walls used to be. Oh, and if you are wondering what you are looking into, that’s a little attic off of my new master bedroom. Unfortunately, it’s only about 4 feet high at its highest section.
My bedroom floors were also patched with some maple that we had saved.
What stain colors did you choose for the upstairs floor?
Choosing the stain color upstairs was a similar process to downstairs. I had already narrowed down that I didn’t want the wood to be stained clear, I wanted them to be a very light color. And, I didn’t want it to be orange.
A sample area was sanded and then stained with the color we thought was what I wanted.
My maple floors were stained in DuraSeal nutmeg and I used the satin finish as I did on the main level.
In real life, the floor is lighter, but I’ve never been able to capture the color perfectly with my camera. I’m thinking it’s a lighting issue since there is no natural light right there.
Was refinishing the floors dusty?
Is the dustless sanding really dustless?
I’ve been asked about dust from sanding my floors more times than I can count. You can pay extra for a dustless sanding. Which is essentially done by using equipment that collects the dust in a bad (kind of like your little sanders). It was phenomenal! I don’t anyone will guarantee that their sanding system is 100% dust-free, but, this was certainly as close as you can get. I didn’t have dust! None in the air, on the floor or anywhere else. I wasn’t expecting that and it was such a bonus!! If you have a dustless sanding available to you, don’t hesitate – sign up for that!!
This is what the floors looked like seconds after sanding. No dust on the floors!
I was thrilled at how clean the whole stripping and sanding process was! The floors and everything else in my house were dust-free after this process! I’m not sure if that will be everyone’s experience but I was amazed!
Thanks for visiting and letting me share how my flooring update happened in my 100 year old house. Please take a look at more articles in this series.
More renovation | remodeling posts!
Why I bought this fixer-upper (in the state that it was).
You saw some of the renovations done in my kitchen. See the details of going down to the studs and then rebuilding my kitchen.
Small bathroom gut and remodel. It’s small but functional and so darn cute!