Best of MMS – My Floor Refinishing Story

by | Feb 8, 2012 | My House | 12 comments

Thanks so much for all of your support while I’m working on my book.  It really, really means a lot.  Some of you also had a great idea to share some “best of” posts from the earlier days of my blog.  I thought that was brilliant, so I’m going to sharing some blasts from the past during this process.  So, the first one I’m going to share is the story about when I refinished my hard wood floors.  Oh, the things we’ll do in the name of DIY.  Enjoy…

This post is a little different from most. I am a person who likes lots of pictures and little bit of explanation. I don’t want to have to read a book or write a book when I’m blogging. I just want to be inspired by the eye candy. Every once in a while, though, there is a story that just needs to be shared.

So, we’ve established that I’m somewhat crazy when it comes to DIY and my floor refinishing experience is only further proof of that. Most people, even DIYers would probably call in a professional for something as big as refinishing the floors in four rooms and a hallway in their home, but not me. Some smarter DIYers who were going to tackle it themselves would do a lot of research or bring in a friend who has refinished floors before, but not me. I rented a sander, bought some stain and poly, got all of the supplies and plowed ahead, confident in my ability to “wing it.” (I sound like such a guy, right?)

My husband handled the sander like a champ and once the dust settled, I was ready to stain. Before I proceed with this story, let me set the stage for you. The time…March (of 2008.) Unpredictable weather that’s sunny and 65 one day and 40 and rainy the next. Of course, we had the latter for this project. The house…we had to seal off about 60% of our living area and move our one year old in our room for a couple of weeks. Me…five months pregnant. Now, I don’t think refinishing floors is normal “nesting” behavior, but I was done with having unfinished floors and no one would talk me out of it.

So, I got out my sheepskin mop and bucket of Dark Walnut stain. With the aforementioned one year old contentedly watching Sesame Street, I applied the stain in thick, smooth strokes. It glistened and looked so rich and lovely. I was swelling with DIY pride…until it started to pool up and I realized I had applied way too much stain and couldn’t possibly walk across the floor to wipe it up. Maybe it will dry? I proceeded to the second room and hallway, certain it would all work out. With the weather cold and rainy, the windows had to be closed, so the house stunk and there was no moving air over the floors to assist the stain in drying.

I let the stain sit for a few hours and realized it would take months for it to dry. I really didn’t want 60% of my house sealed up through the birth of my second son, so I had to come up with a different plan. I really needed some sort of rigging that would’ve been employed by 007 or Jason Bourne, where I could hang about a foot above the floor and wipe it up without a trace of a footprint. Not having one of those handy devices on hand, I had to think of something I could use to disperse my weight. I tried moving around on a towel at first, but it just stuck to the floor. No go. Could I stand on a piece of cardboard? In a cardboard box? With no rigging system or a better idea, that’s what I proceeded to do. In case you’re about to call Protective Services, my husband was home at this point.

I stood (five months pregnant) in a Huggies box and shuffled and hopped around the room, using an old towel to sop up the extra stain. Just to ensure that I looked thoroughly ridiculous, I had grocery bags over my hands in the absence of latex gloves. If this does not sound difficult (or ridiculous) to you, I would challenge you to try it. Then, imagine doing it on a sticky floor with a decent sized belly hanging out in front of you for about an hour. As I shuffled around in that Huggies box, with my plastic grocery bag gloves, I wanted to cry and my only thought was, “I hate this. I just want this to be over.” I then had to repeat the entire absurd process for the office and hallway.

The rooms finally dried after a few days and then I applied three coats of poly…after I read directions, called the poly company, looked up refinishing tips online and all of those other things that smart DIYers do. Now, onto the living room and here is where I get really, really stupid. I mean painfully-scooting-around-in-a-Huggies-box-with-plastic-grocery-bag-gloves kind of stupid. I need to do the exact same thing I did in the other rooms to achieve the same depth of color, right? There’s no other way, right? So, knowing full well that an hour of shuffling around in a Huggies box sporting plastic grocery bag gloves was in my future, I applied a thick coat of stain on the floor and repeated the entire absurd process…again.

By the time I got to the Dining Room, my brain finally kicked in. Why don’t I apply the stain in rows, let it sit and then wipe it off as I go? Ding, ding, ding! So, I did the very last room as I should’ve done the other three. But, if I had done that, you would not have this story to show your husband as evidence that you are very sane and normal and he should be thankful to be married to you and not someone who would scoot around in a Huggies box wearing plastic grocery bag gloves while five months pregnant.

And the floors? They look great.
However, if these floors need to be refinished again…
we’re moving.


  1. Diane Smith

    HILARIOUS! I have tears in my eyes!

    Thanks! I needed that!

  2. Camille

    Oh the visual! LOL

  3. Nancy L Johnson

    I’m still laughing! At 74, I’ still have the same (sometimes misplaced) confidence in my ability to “wing it.” My husband is definitely going to be reading this.

  4. Judie

    Oh my! You only have one story like that? Lol
    When we were first married, this new floor technique came out. We lived in a mobile home & I hated the vinyl tile on the floor. First you rolled this strong smelling material on the floor then sprinkled small colored chips on the floor. It was supposed to dry rock hard & last forever. Being totally unrealistic I decided to do this on a Saturday when we had a christening to go to.
    Of course it took much longer than expected& was a complete mess! I got in a panic & called my F-I-L who came & saved the day. It actually looked pretty nice but he never let us forget it!
    Your story seems perfectly normal to me 😂

  5. Bea

    Loved your story about refinishing your floors! I could really relate to the situation you got yourself in because I’ve had similar experiences. I enjoyed your happy ending in that your floors turned out beautiful! 🤗

  6. Jackie

    Loved the story, sounds like a classic “I Love Lucy” episode! She got herself in similar pickles on that show so you are in good company.

  7. Jean

    Too funny! We have wood floors on the first floor in the entrance and kitchen that have faded in the last 20 years. I was thinking that I might tackle the job but – no. Not so much. Looking for a professional now! Also want to put wood down I. The living room and dining room so it’s now too big of a job to even think about!

  8. Esther

    Oh that was so funny 🙂 remembers me of the time I lived in my first tiny house since leaving studentrooms ; the former inhabitant had put a horrible grey plushy floorcovering in the livingroom; I looked under it and saw an old wooden floor so I cut the covering into little pieces with a very sharp cookingknife from my brother(it cuts everything like butter) and decide the floor wasn’t good enough since there were several millimeters room between the pieces of wood so I bought second-hand wooden floorparts for 250 Gulden =about 100 euro’s to go over it. My mother and a friend helped to remove all the staples out of it and we layed it on the floor. My father helped me to sand it with a a rented sandingmachine. The poor man has asthma so that was really nice of him. I then painted it with parketlack in 2 layers. Till sofar everything went right; but a few years later I came back on my decision and took the whole floor out and sanded the original floor with my new tiny sandingmachine which had a triangle-formed head; you can get into the edges but it takes ages and loads of very expensive sandingpaper; so that was exhausting but at least this time I did it all myself because my poor father looked really bad after 2 days of sanding. (from head to foot covered in sawdust and out of breath)
    I didn’t like all the dirt that came between the floorparts and things like needles falling into it but found out you can remove tiny metal things with a magnet! Since then I only take an appartment where there is already a wooden floor. I now have a house with good fitting very old wooden floors 🙂

  9. Margaret Goodwin

    That was so hilarious! I laughed so hard I had to stop reading every few minutes bexause the tears of laughter filled my eyes!

  10. Vallie

    Loved the visual I got! Made my day💕


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for winter


Articles by Date


our sponsors

Bliss and Tell Branding Company