OCTOBER 29, 2012
How I refinished the apartment hardwood floors...
When we started the apartment renovation, I knew the hardwood floors would need to be refinished. Previous tenants had some sort of mishap and the finish was ruined… (I try not to think long and hard about the details of the mishap. ::shudder::)
Condition of hardwood floors before:
We started by sanding the floors (well, by “we” I really mean, I supervised while my nephew controlled the beast known as the drum sander). Once the steps to strip the old finish was completed and floors and sawdust were cleaned up, we were ready to refinish the original hardwood for a new look.
I headed to True Value for the materials I needed (and a few other things too but more coming on that soon):
Minwax Wood Finish, stirred not shaken (Color is “Dark Walnut”). Minwax has a great informational guide too.
Minwax High Build Polyurethane (clear satin), stirred not shaken (martini is optional)
Angled 3.5″ Purdy paintbrushes – “White Bristle” (recommended for stain)
Angled 3” Purdy brush – “Black China Bristle” for polyurethane
Old clean rags (I actually had these on hand but you CAN buy them at True Value too!)
Optional: latex gloves (I lived with brown stained nails for a day or two…oops.)
Suggestion: pillow for knees and definitely old clothes (not sold at True Value)
220 grit sandpaper
Mineral spirits and clean rags
Staining Hardwood Floors
The process is a fairly simple DIY. The task is just time consuming (and a little labor intensive because of my position on ‘old knees’). Since I was working with two small rooms, I opted to use a brush and work on my hands and knees vs. a roller.
I started in a far corner of the room, working with the wood grain, with the direction of the wood planks, working my way out of the room – don’t work yourself into a corner – no fun being trapped!
For extra protection, tape off baseboards/shoe molding using FrogTape.
I dipped my Purdy brush into the can of Minwax stain, tapped off the extra and applied the stain in a corner, working along the baseboard along the length of the wood plank. When I noticed that some of the stain wasn’t absorbing, I let it sit for a few minutes then wiped away the excess with an old rag.
I worked in 2-4 foot sections in length as I went along right to left in my room, working my way towards the door. Sometimes I did a larger number of planks as well, just find a rhythm that works for you.
Bedroom done. I worked my way out into the hallway…
Down the stairs and around the bend…
And started the main floor in a corner, working my way out the door.
Sounds like I ended up at Grandmother’s place (over the river and through the woods) and a lot quicker than it actually took!
TIPS: Since I’m working my way actually out of the apartment, I had to make sure to grab things I needed like purse, keys, cell phone, etc. Turn off things that you don’t want to leave on during the drying period. The radio blasted during our drying time. Oops!
Note: Two coats can be applied (see Minwax for further instructions). I loved the color one coat achieved so I skipped this step. Sealing the floor will also darken the color a bit. One coat of stain:
I let my floors dry a few days but we were working in an unoccupied space. I applied the stain on a Friday and returned the following week to resume refinishing by sealing the floors. Sealing the floors is NOT optional, it’s required. It’s necessary. Stain does not protect the wood, only colors/enhances the beauty.
Sealing the floors…
I used the same process as above to seal the floors. Starting in the far corner of the room, I repeated the same steps of dipping my paint brush into the polyurethane, tapping, applying in the corner, brushing right to left (the direction I was personally working), along the baseboards and working my way out the door.
It really enhances the rich beautiful color:
I let the first coat of polyurethane dry 48 hours.
My most UN-favorite part: once the first coat is dry, lightly sand the entire floor with a 220 grit sandpaper. Clean floors of dust with mineral spirits and let dry. Then apply a second coat of polyurethane using the same steps. Repetitive. Time consuming. But so rewarding!
Allow to dry for 12 hours to resume “light use” (however – test the floor first!). Remove FrogTape.
Stand back, remember the before (try not to gag):
Admire the gorgeous after:
Apartment sneak peek alert!
Pinterest tip: Did you know that if you rub a wood scratch (floors and furniture) with a walnut (circular motions, filling in the scratch), the walnut oils will fill in the scratch and heal the wood wound? Great snack, too!
Estimated total cost of DIY refinishing 2 small rooms of hardwood (approx. 250 sq. feet) = $250.00 and a few days of recovery…but nothing that would keep you out of your True Value hardware store to prepare for your next DIY.
We were chosen by True Value to be one of the members of the 2012 DIY Squad. I have been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY projects. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. I have not been paid to publish positive comments and no one has twisted my arm to participate.