Nic and I have been talking about redoing the floors in our living and dining room for a couple years now. The cat has peed everywhere and even steam cleaning it monthly doesn’t help. Plus the dirty dog feet and dust was making the carpet really gross. I think it used to be white at some point?! We pulled up the carpet in one corner and just saw grey – thinking it was particleboard.
So we did some researching online on budget friendly wood floors and ended up buying some “floating” snap-together stuff with an oak top layer and HDF core. The night before we were going to install it, Nic started reading terrible reviews about it online and I was all freaked out. But we didn’t really have the money to do anything else, so I proceeded on moving all of the furniture and started ripping up carpet by myself after work.
Well it turns out that the grey spot in the corner, was just a patch of old carpet glue, over BEAUTIFUL hardwood maple. I got so excited and returned all of the manufactured wood crap that I had bought. Then started the week of Hell…
My advice for people thinking they can redo hardwood floors themselves, is DON’T! It was so much work. So much scraping off glue. So much sanding. So much dust. So much of wiping every surface of my house (ceiling and walls included). And I had all of my living and dining room furniture crammed into our front porch and kitchen. It looked like something off the show Hoarders.
Luckily we had some great friends come over and help us scrape glue until 2am. We repaid them in pizza and beer but I wish I could have given them more. It was hard work. You can’t start sanding until most of the glue is gone because it will gum up the sand paper (we learned the hard way). We rented a sander from Menard’s and sanded into the early morning hours. Then I had to go to work and Nic sanded some more.
Then we bought a detail sander and spent 2 days sanding the edges and ripping up trim. Every surface of the house was covered in dust. Then I spent a whole night up until 1am dusting the walls and ceiling of every room in the house. That was fun…
Seriously, don’t do this.
We also had to repair a major hole that someone cut in the floor to access ductwork in the basement. They just put a piece of tin over it before they did the carpet. We bought some pieces of maple and then leveled out the floor. I distressed the wood with some coffee so it would look more like the rest. You can barely tell the hole was there.
And then came the time to put on polyurethane. We made 3 trips to Menard’s because we kept changing our mind on what kind to use. Water? Oil? Stain first? We started staining and then got some advice from woodworkers that that was a bad idea because maple doesn’t absorb stain well and it will look blotchy. So I sanded up all of the stain! Then we used tack cloth to get all the dust off and prepared to put the polyurethane on. Only to find that I bought the WRONG stuff. Wonderful. This was at 10pm. So Nic and I just cried and then laughed at how miserable this whole experience was.
4 coats of poly and 6 days later, we moved the furniture back in. It may not look perfect. It may be scratched and uneven and miscolored, but I do not care! We just tell people that we were going for the “distressed” look. People pay a lot of money for that right?
We saved half of the money that we would have if we did the “floating” fake wood floors. It was around $300 for 200 sq. ft. And I am happy to have my house back to normal and Nic is happy to put his feet up. He really did kick butt at this project and even took a day off work. Now we just have to do the trim and tile the kitchen…. I will wait on that for a few more weeks.