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We're finally ready to talk about the largest project we've taken on in our house so far-- refinishing the floors. Ourselves. And by "ourselves," I mean Rog and his dad.

Many people gave us the good-luck-side-eye when we mentioned that we weren't hiring professionals to refinish our newly re-exposed hardwood floors. I know that this isn't a project to take lightly and it really shouldn't be done by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, but Rog and his dad refinished the hardwoods in his parents' house several years ago themselves.

So backing up, here are a few photos of the middle level of our home on closing day.




We rashly decided to rip up the carpet on this level, and exposed the hardwoods that were hidden underneath. Shortly after that, Rog's dad laid hardwoods to match in the bay window area where there were none.




We picked a weekend and I took Remy home to my mom's house while the boys got to work. They sanded and sanded. And sanded. And sanded some more. They had a couple of hand sanders for detail and edge work, but had to rent some heavier duty equipment from Home Depot.

They later told me that the finish from the lighter area was pretty difficult to remove. You can actually see the shine that still remained in the photo above. There was some added stress knowing that our hardwoods are only 3/8" thick.




Something else to note is that when the dining room floors were refinished in 2006, a dark stain was chosen. The floors really soaked it up and it was impossible to fully remove. You can see the difference in the photos above.

This was one of the reasons that we chose a dark stain ourselves. We never could have matched the two sections of flooring if we'd have kept it light, no matter how much we loved it this way. The stain we chose is Minwax Provincial.


Okay, so check out the dust on our screen door in the photo above 😂

Rog started staining the floors, and didn't get very far before calling it quits for the night. It was really tough to get right up close to the built ins, walls, and kitchen cabinets with the industrial sander they had rented, and the hand sanders just weren't powerful enough to get the job done. They ended up having to go back to Home Depot another weekend to rent an edge sander.




As you can see, the edge sander really did its job.

And so all was well and good. Rog and his dad finished all of the sanding work, and vacuumed about 8,291 times to remove all dust, dirt, and pet hair from the floor before they continued on with the stain. Once they got the stain back out, something (relatively comical in hindsight) happened.

So I'm told, there was a bucket of stain sitting near the sliding glass door in the dining room. Just as they were finishing everything up, Rog accidentally kicked the bucket (haha) and spilled stain all over the floor and DOWN THE VENT. They quickly cleaned what they could, but knowing that stain is flammable, they turned off the furnace and called an HVAC contractor.

Remy and I returned to the house the next morning, just in time to meet with the HVAC guy. The lucky thing is that we really wanted to get our vents cleaned anyway; this just expedited the process.


Knowing that we'd have some guys and their equipment in and out of the house, we decided not to seal the floors that weekend. The stain job was finished, but we didn't want to risk scratching or dinging up shiny new finish. So this is what we were left with for another couple of weeks:



A couple weeks later, Remy and I went to my mom's house for a third weekend while the floors were finally (finally!) sealed. We chose a satin sheen and it's perfect.




So after several weeks, the middle level hardwood floors are done. And they're gorgeous. I'm so happy with how they turned out, but also even more proud that my husband and father-in-law refinished them themselves.

If you've made it this far, thanks for hanging with me! What do you think??

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