Sanded Floors Here we Come

The time has finally come: we're starting to refinish the front room floors. Hooray! Despite that excitement, sanding them down has not been fun, I'm just excited that we're mostly done with the sanding because it is very not fun.

First up, clearing the room. We had accumulated a lot of crap in here (ladders, paint containers, etc.) so all that had to go out. Once we were left with just our weight machine Chris and I delicately slid it over to the office entrance and lifted, wiggled, shimmied and grunted it into the office

It came with a slight casualty

But that's nothing a little paint can't cure.

Next up was prepping the room. We set up the zip walls (and you can still see the turquoise paint at the bottom of the right one from our raccoon sacrifice)

We taped up the bookcases

And the light

And then we were ready to start (don't worry, we closed that door to the office)

At first we tried to be lazy and used 60 grit sandpaper on our palm sander to see if we could get away without having to rent a sander (we only had a layer of poly to sand off, not poly and stain)

But it didn't work super great so we quickly relented as we knew it was only $36 to rent it for 4 hours, so it wasn't a huge sacrifice or anything.

We had to decide, however, if we were going to use a drum sander or a finish sander. A drum sander sort of works like a giant belt sander and is a lot more powerful while a finish sander is essentially 4 orbital palm sanders working at a lower RPM, so it's a lot more delicate. Our floors are 5/16 face nailed, so we didn't have too much wiggle room in terms of accidentally sanding off a ton or accidentally chewing up the floors with the more powerful drum sander. Because we only needed to remove a light top layer of poly we didn't want to be too aggressive and accidentally hurt our floors and need to replace a bunch of boards. So we opted for the more delicate finish sander.

After spending 40 minutes at HD waiting to be helped and have our order processed by our least favorite know-it-all-but-really-doesn't-know-anything tool rental employee we returned home with the sander and got to work. Unfortunately for about the first hour I didn't help Chris much as something popped up with work that I had to deal with, but he mosey'd around that floor

He used 80 to start (in hindsight we should have used 60, but again, we were afraid of chewing up the floor)

Pretty quickly we threw it out the window that we'd only have the sander for 4 hours because we realized this process was going to take a lot longer than we thought. The poly that they used in the 20s is apparently amazing and so it was taking a lot to get it off

But we kept at it and Chris went over it and over it and over it with the finish sander and I came in with the palm sander (at 60 grit because I could be more methodical and delicate with the palm sander) and tried to get all the little grooves and other areas the finish sander couldn't quite get everything off of

Slowly but surely it started to look better

But again, not all the poly was off so around and around and around the finish sander went

(and I kept following around and around and around with the palm sander)

After about 5 hours things were looking good enough to break out the 100 grit. About 95% of the poly was off (it's still not perfect over by the picture window), but I hopped on the finish sander with 100 and went over everything again

And here's an idea of just how much sawdust was in the air during this process

Around 5:30 after being exhausted and frustrated (it was taking a long time) we resolved to call it a day. The floors weren't completely sanded and we'll probably give it another go at the area by the picture window with 60 grit and the palm sander to try to get the last poly off, but I think the floors look a lot better (and by better we of course mean completely sanded and bare, minus all the stains. Boo.)

But we were really tired. The finish sander is pretty powerful and heavy so it takes a decent amount of muscle to move it around the room. And my arms were in a perpetual state of vibration from the palm sander and my calf and thigh muscles were twitching from being crouched down for many continuous hours, so I think Chris and I deserved a break.

The area around the bookcases looks pretty bare and doesn't really need any more work

But the area by the picture window isn't looking as good (discoloration and a bit more worn)

We weren't quite sure if the sun had some effect on the wood, if there was more foot traffic over here or maybe we just didn't do as good of a job, but it's definitely something to tackle on Meryl + Chris vs. Sanding the Floors Day 2.


Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

Yikes! Sanding always takes about 10 more hours than you think it will. I hate that part of the job!

meryl rose said...

10 times is right, OMG it takes FOREVER

Ethan@OPC said...

Wow! This is awesome. What's the plan after all the sanding is done?