Tuesday, December 14, 2010

diy - wood floors

if i had known from the beginning how long and how hard this would be, i would have said - forget it, let's hire it out. unfortunately, that's not how my husband thinks, so we took on this massive project - - and at first, not so bad.
step one:  move all furniture. rip up all the carpet.  pull out all the staples.  sweep up all the crap. 
easy?  yes.  and i would recommend you do this step yourself.  

step two: lay out flooring paper.  it's a thick black tar paper that you can put down with a staple gun. 
diy? yes.

step three:  lay your floors.  our floors were solid wood, tongue and groove and so we needed a pneumatic floor stapler (rented from home depot for $40 per day).  next to the wall we needed a nail gun because we couldn't fit the floor stapler. it took us about a weekend to complete.  easy?  eh - yes and no.  looking back, it was one of the easier steps, but the person using the floor stapler will need a hot bath after bending over all day.  ronnie definitely complained of back problems.

step four: fill the nail holes (remember to buy puddy that will take stain) and sand.  easy? hell no.  this is where is got really hard and this is also where i would suggest you hire the rest done.  leave sanding and staining to the professionals.  we had to rent a floor sander and it was hard to use.  it's very easy to leave divots in your floors and you can't get close to the corners or edges so all of that has to be done by hand.  so hard, so very very frustrating.  and it needs to be perfect, because you'll see all your mistakes once the stain is on.  also, after you're done, buy mineral spirits to clean with.  the floor can't have water or anything on it, and this is the best way to get it clean and ready for staining.

step five: stain.  we bought lambs wool cloths, knee pads, a four gallon drum of jacobean stain and went at it.  it looked like shit.  the puddy we bought seemed to have bleached the wood so you could see a patch of light wood where every nail hole was.  i literally thought we were going to have to rip up all the floors and start over.  instead, my dad and ronnie got the hand-held sanders back out and went over those spots. (yes, we know you are never supposed to sand stain, we had no choice).  it was touch and go for awhile.  and when it was done, we decided to do another coat of stain in hopes of everything looking a bit better.  believe it or not, it worked.  our color turned out much darker than we expected, but we didn't mind because we are both big fans of dark wood.  (thank god).

step six: polyurethane. another long process.  not HARD, but just god awful. you lay the poly on smooth, let it dry over night. go back and sand it lightly and then clean it.  repeat this two more times.  the last time you do this, let it dry for three days before walking on it or moving any furniture back.  we waited a week before we laid any rugs and we added felt tips to anything and everything. 

we still have baseboards to repaint and quarter round to lay, but for right now... the floors are looking good.  i'm just glad i can live in my home again. 

ps- i took pictures of all the steps and NONE of them turned out.  i blame the disposable camera and not the user. i found pictures off the internet that pretty much look like what i took anyway.

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