Friday, November 28, 2008

Heart Pine (?) Floors

So the next thing on our agenda was to get the floors stripped and refinished. Unfortunately, the camera is on the fritz, so we can't access all of our shots. As such we're going to have to describe the process and pass on what we learned.

We decided that we would do this ourselves, but we wimped out on the drum sander. We settled on that sexy 4 pad random orbital thing from the "Orange Store". I'm going to have to say that the folks at Crescent Springs HD, especially Walt and Janet are really helpful and a font of knowledge. I'm also going to recommend the random orbital sander to any neophyte. It's very hard to screw up, dust is very low, and the whole thing is pretty easy to figure out. The negatives are these: You're going to blow through a lot of pads (which are costly). And, it's going to take quite a bit longer than you think if you've got anything but poly on there to sand. We also settled on Varathane clear satin poly. I don't like super shiny wood floors.

I'm not going to go through the blow by blow because instructions are all over the web, and in addition, there are good resources at HD's rental department (from what I can tell). I do want to pass on a couple lessons, though.

Lesson 1: Chemically strip varnish. Sanding it is a pain and takes for ever. If you use varnish remover, you can just apply and sand immediately. I'll save you hours.

Lesson 2: Paint will come up with a sander, but some spots can be stubborn. If they are, hit them with a chemical remover too. It'll save time.

Lesson 3: Both the wife and I make good ballast for improved sanding effectiveness.

Here are the results.

Note how cool our repairs turned out.

I'm pretty sure we have "heart pine" but I'm utterly surprised by the finished color. After we sanded, the floor was very light yellow with dark brown grain. We decided that we would not stain the floor, yet look at the color. Almost like cherry. It's very pretty, but not what we thought we'd end up with.

I'm not sure if there is anything we could do to lighten it up, even if we had the time anyway.


Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Wow! They look gorgeous. I love the color.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. That wood is amazing.

Hope to see you down here this weekend if it fits with Hub B-day.


September said...

I've thoroughly enjoyed your blog for some time now (found you while reseraching metal roofing- thathomesite!). Thanks so much for sharing. I used random orbital to sand through 8 layers paint/vanish in my 1840's renovation. Your tips were right on (hindsight is a pretty good educator, isn't it?!). The floors are Beautiful!

One question: Would love to hear thoughts/research about the flooring being heart pine? and how you arrived at that?

I'm on a similar quest and was curious. Thanks again for sharing your experiences and keep up the fantastic work.


Anonymous said...

Hi, September!

I have to say that researching your floors is messy.

What I did was ask every experienced contractor and rehabber I could find, plus I got on line and looked at various grains.

If you've got a scrap of your flooring, say from an HVAC hole being cut, you can sand it down and poly part of it to compare grains.

If you can narrow it down by looking at neighboring floors of similar vintage that have been identified (but don't just take it on faith--misidentification is easy and common), it's a start. Then double check against other grains. The best way is probably to check with your local historic preservation officer and some good floor guys.


Anonymous said...


Check out these guys. They just did their floors too.

BTW, if you have a blog, we'd love to see it.


Jon said...

Good work guys! Sorry, I've been so busy, I don't seem to get time to check up on everyone else's progress as much as I want to.

I think lightening them would take a full, belt-sander process down to completely bare wood. It is a much bigger job (one that when you finish you'll say, "Never again"). Also, using a water-based finish helps keep the color clearer/lighter (oil tends to amber quickly and progressively over time).

I like 'em though! The repair stuff turned out well!

(I think we're in the lead now).


Anonymous said...

Hey, Jon, thanks for the atta.

Actually, I've got a bunch of shots that are uploaded to one of our domains, but I've got to pick the good one's and start posting. We've moved ahead quite a bit.

I'll show you soon. DW did a transom that's something else.

oh, yeah, we're moving in, too. I really love this house. I can't wait, even as I miss the place we're in.

I wanted to mention too, it's WEIRD how many of us are doing IKEA kitchens...actually maybe not so weird, but the feeling of community is neat. It's a no brainer for any of us on a budget.

I do think that we have similar tastes, and what's funny is that even when another one of "us" goes in a different direction, I can see myself following if I had a similar context.

I'll get tile up next. Then I'll move on to kitchen. I'm quite proud of DW and her router work.


Anonymous said...

It looks fantastic!I love the color.

Amanda Moran said...

Your floors look like ours. Kev says ours are old growth southern yellow pine. And yes, when we had to build the new stairwell, we chose natural cherry because it dovetails so well. If yours really are the same as ours, you might notice a darkening around rugs and stuff.

Looks like you did another fabulous job! This is really the stage where you start questioning how soon you really can jump the gun and just move, isn't it? Get that kitchen in, and I bet you won't be able to hold back any longer!

Floor Sanding Company London said...
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William said...

I really like it. It's very attractive and spic and span. Thanks for sharing..