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the sanded floors


This weekend, we finally took the plunge and sanded down our floors.  I’ve been wanting to for a long time…well, and not wanting to at the same time.  It’s a total pain.  It’s messy and it’s really hard work, but I got it in my mind that I really wanted it done before decorating for Christmas and then closing out 2014 and Jeff went along with it.

In case you haven’t seen them before, this is what the floors looked like before sanding them.  They are the original oak floors from the 1940’s.  When we moved in, we removed the berber carpet that covered them and a year later refinished them in a dark walnut stain with three coats of poly.

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They looked great for a few years, despite the fact that I really didn’t know what I was doing when I finished them.  That finally started showing when the thickly applied stain (that never soaked into the wood) started peeling up, taking the poly finish with it.

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I have realized since then that we didn’t fully strip off the old finish, either.  We were pretty passive with the sanding and just roughed them up.

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This weekend, we worked room-by-room and sanded them down to the raw wood.  I’m not exactly sure how I want to finish them, yet, so we’re just leaving them raw for now.

And here’s how they look…

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(We’re going to put some trim under the baseboard heaters, so there isn’t a big, black stripe underneath them from the shadow and the stain we couldn’t reach.)

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I actually love how rustic and European the raw wood floors look, but I’m so used to having slick & smooth poly underfoot that it feels a little strange.  It’s smooth, but you can feel it’s a porous surface, if that makes sense.  Maybe sort of like the difference between polished and honed marble.

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It really brightens up the space, though, which I really love.

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After two days of sanding, plus a full day of cleaning and putting the house back together, I just can’t find it in me to write about how we sanded down the floor, so that will have to wait for another post…

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  1. Pretty pretty. I would seal them as is. They’ll deepen a bit but still look gorgeous. Plus it cuts out the staining step. WIN! I’m sure whatever you decide will look amazing.

  2. Debra Milam says:

    Whitewash would be beautiful!

  3. Alexis says:

    Totally lovely. You are a courageous woman! You know, when I was a kid we lived in really, REALLY old houses. One was in New Castle, Delaware on a street called The Strand. It’s among some of the oldest streets in the country. The floors in our houses were always wood but it used to be that wood floors were waxed instead of polyurethaned and I’ve never gotten used to poly. To me it feels like plastic compared to the deep, mellowed, gorgeousness of waxed floors. You are the Wax Queen! You may have already considered waxed floors but if not you might want to check out that option. The wax gets buffed with a buffer and it’s just about the yummiest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s hard and durable, too. You rebuff them on occasion (can’t remember how often but it’s not a lot). Oh, if you brought back wax floors I would kiss the ground you walk on–or in this case, the floors, ha ha!

    Hope your Thanksgiving was the best ever,

  4. Marian, your beautiful floors are adding to my floor confusion. We just bought a townhouse that has honey oak floors in the kitchen and foyer, and we want to replace all the first floor carpet with hardwood. Because I didn’t like the honey oak, I thought I would have to continue with oak but stain it dark. Yours look lots prettier than theirs, so I am assuming it is whatever finish coat they have might have turned it a color I don’t like. Do you see yellow in your floor? or orange?

  5. Marian, are your floors white oak or red oak? I should have asked you that in my last comment.

  6. Hazel says:

    Teri -The yellow/orange you see is from an oil based poly from what I understand. We had our red oak floors stripped of an oil based poly and refinished with no stain but with a water based poly and there is no yellow tint.

  7. Marion, what type of sealant did you use on your wood floors this time around? I read that you used a product called Osmo. My husband and I went to their site and there are several different types listed within that product line. Thanks!

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