Thursday, May 11, 2017

Floor Crush

Is that a weird thing to say?  It might be.  But it also might be true!

When we first went through our house over 11 years ago,  I remember remarking that the carpet in the front room looked a little worn.  Then when we were moving in about a month later one of my (almost) sister-in-laws pulled up a corner of our carpet to see what kind of floor we had underneath.  The gathered (almost) sister-in-laws declared it some beautiful hard wood.  At the time I wasn't into hardwood floors, having grown-up with a completely carpeted house.  The carpets stayed.

Fast forward 10 years, a whole bunch of episodes of House Hunters (where everyone drools over original hardwood floors), and one porch floor refinishing project later, and I was fully on team "we need to redo the original hardwood floors".

The carpet we thought was worn 11 years ago was extra worn now and we had been debating options for awhile (post here) but refinishing them was never one of them until we did the porch.  Then it quickly became the only one we were discussing.  It was a really good thing we went into the project with the intent to refinish them because if we had just been planning to throw down rugs on top of the floors as wouldn't have been pretty.

I've written about how hard it was to start this project and how much the mess got to me but, really, in the grand scheme of house projects this was far from the worst.  Questions I now ask myself:

"Do I have to pee in a bucket?"
"Can I take a shower in my own house?"

If the answer to the first is NO and the second YES, then it's nothing THAT horrible and we just need to suck it up and keep working.  (Bathroom posts here, yes, I will be talking about that project forever.)  (I was texting one of my sisters while working on this floor project and she remarked that we are the only people she knows who would go without a toilet for 6 days just to save money and do everything ourselves.  I don't know if that makes us crazy or brave.)

Besides moving all the furniture out of the rooms, we also took everything off the walls because of the pending dust mess.  We've cleaned that up before and it's not fun.

Fact: there is no such thing as over dust-proofing your house.

That is one thing we've learned through multiple dirty projects (tearing out plaster, sanding drywall).

Anyways, furniture was all moved and then we started tearing up carpet and padding.  When I say all the furniture was moved I mean everything but the tv and stand because we needed something to do while doing all this manual labor.  Priorities.

Carpet and padding coming out

Matt had measured the height of our trash can, approximately 3 feet, and we cut all the carpet and padding into pieces that wide so we won't have to pay for a dumpster, just very slowly fill our trash can.  That also means we have a whole bunch of rolls of carpet and padding in our garage for the least 6 weeks.  Anything to save a buck...  (Luke has suggested MANY times that we just put all the carpet back.  He was strangely attached to it.)

Carpet out! Staples everywhere
Then it was tearing out a whole bunch of staples (where the tv in the room really came in handy because tearing out approximately 1000 staples gets tedious FAST).  Then tearing out tack strips.  It was a strange sort of stress relief, until I gave myself a blister on the palm of my hand.  But I was still kinda excited I did it.

Staples and tack strips gone too!
Then it was onto the dust protecting.  We covered the entrance to my office with plastic sheeting and double layered painting tape.  We were storing a whole lot of stuff in there we didn't want to clean!

I taped around the front door to the porch.

We covered the doorway to the kitchen with plastic sheeting and then added a stick-on zipper so we could (somewhat) easily go in and out.

We taped over all the outlets and light switches.  We removed vent covers and taped over the exposed ducts.

Basically, we did a lot of taping and plastic sheeting and you know what?  It all worked rather well.  Other than just inside the kitchen door (where the sheeting came loose from so many ins and outs), the rest of the house stayed dust-free which was super exciting.

House dust-proofed, sanding about to begin

Early on the morning of sanding, which had been marked on the calendar for over a month, Matt went to Home Depot and rented an orbital sander.  He started with that while I did important things like wrap our godson's birthday present and hid in our closet reading a book on my phone while Luke watched his Saturday morning cartoons on our bed (where the tv was moved before the final dust-proofing, although Luke did offer to let us put it in his room.  An offer we didn't take for many reasons.).

During quiet time I went to help Matt with the floors.  It wasn't going well.  A few days earlier he had shown me how he wanted all the staples gently removed as to not scrape the floors (something I followed for about 5 staples and then a little more digging was required).  Fast forward a bit and I was using a flat screwdriver to hack at the decades of accumulated gunk on the floor.

Sanding day

He ended up exchanging the orbital sander for a tougher drum sander which worked SO MUCH BETTER for all the stuff he had to sand through (He said "if you tell people about this, make sure you mention the drum sander").  He said most houses would probably be ok with the orbital sander but we could see evidence of many different layers of stain, poly, rug adhesive, and who knows what else on our floors.  They needed something extra tough.

We took a break to go to Mass where Matt was finishing his usher responsibility.  Went home for supper, I put Luke down (maybe fell asleep a little after my tough day of hiding my reading habits from my husband) and then it was back to the floor.  I mainly helped sweep up dust and move things (trash can, broom, power cord) out of Matt's way.  We finished at 11pm after starting about 7am.  With a 2 hour break for church.  It was a really long day (I mean, mostly for Matt but I was exhausted after my 2 hours of late night work).

We spent the next two evenings finishing up the sanding.  We used palm sanders to get the edges where the drum sander couldn't.  It was exhausting and dirty.  On the second night Matt was finishing up in his office while I went through massive cleaning.  Swiffering the ceiling (a first!), cleaning fans, crown molding, walls, trim, floors.  The rented sanders had dust collectors which worked pretty well but the palm sanders had left a decent amount behind.  It was three "work until at least 11" nights in a row.

BUT we were left with these beauts:

Time stamp on this picture: 11:17pm

Just like with the porch, we decided not to stain them, just went for sealing.  We used this:

At the recommendation of one of Matt's sisters.  It doesn't require sanding between coats, can be recoated after 2 hours, and walked on after 24.  That's a fairly quick process.

We spent a day applying 4 coats, using something sort like a swiffer and dipping it into a paint tray.  At almost 500 square feet of floor we used over 2 gallons.

Then, we got this:

So many heart eyes.  SO MANY.

We kept peeking at them throughout the day of drying.  Luke came down for breakfast and told me "I really like the floors you made, Mom!"

Yes, I will take all the credit for them, thank you, son.

As I write this we are still in the "don't put any furniture back for a week" stage and I haven't been in my office for more than 2 days.  We are shopping for rugs online (WHY is it so hard!) and still need to pick out a couch (maybe before we hit 3 months without one?).  BUT, we are through the worst of it.

Over the course of 7 days we probably put in 60 hours of work.  This project was not easy and we still have the challenge of putting EVERYTHING back from all the random places it was stashed (so much just "stick this wherever I can find a spot" at the end) but I am SO EXCITED we took on this project and even more so when we get the house back.

Having the house torn up, not easy, not at all.  But for two weeks, less than $400 (before rugs), and these gorgeous floors?  I can live with that.

If you need me I'll be staring all moony eyed at my floors.  They were worth it.

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