Fir Floor Refinishing

DIY: Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Admittedly, we didn’t do the best job refinishing our floors. We felt pressure to get them done before our house warming party, and that led to rushing through the sanding process a little. Adding even more pressure was the fact that we stupidly rented the floor sander before we were ready to use it, and since we were working with a very tight budget we were determined (for better or worse) to get it done without having to rent it for an extra day. Rookie mistake!

There are some places in the living room where you can see tiny swirls engraved in the wood because in our haste we didn’t change the sanding pads as often as we should have. Turns out you have to change the pads quite often, and we were not prepared for that either.

All said and done, we’ve learned to overlook these imperfections. Besides, with two cats and a dog running around on the floors, we now have bigger issues than the little marks left from the sander! We’ve chosen to embrace the imperfections, because no matter how you look at it…the wood floors are still way better than the mis-matched vinyl flooring and 50 year old carpet!

bedroom floor with carpet before
Before: the bedrooms and living room had really old carpet covering the original fir floor.

Removing the old carpet, carpet pad, and staples.

sanding fir floor
Sanding the living room floor.

raw wood floors
After sanding.

Pulling up the old vinyl kitchen flooring took us a lot longer than we anticipated.

Before: vinyl floor in the kitchen
kitchen floor before
Before: the kitchen nook, hallway and main kitchen had mismatched vinyl flooring.

We spent a good, long while trying to figure out how to remove the thick layer of adhesive that covered the wood floor. This seemingly unsolvable problem led to a mini-crying fit late in the day!

during removing vinyl floor from kitchen
So many layers!
home renovation crying
Feeling overwhelmed. Late day crying fit.
no time for crying home renovation
Back to work. No time for tears!

Luckily, while we were in the midst of trying to figure out how to remove the glue, our refrigerator started to leak (the one and only time you would consider this lucky!) and the water helped release the adhesive. We started sponging on water and then scraping off the glue. Before you knew it we were dumping the water straight onto the floor, letting it soak for a minute or two, and it all started to come up easily. This was a huge relief!

kitchen floor glue removal with water
Sponging water onto the floor to remove the adhesive.
kitchen floor removal with water bucket
Pouring water onto the floor to remove the old glue.

Once we removed all the vinyl flooring (and glue), along with all the old carpet and staples, we sanded and cleaned. It was finally time for stain.

minwax provincial on fir
Applying stain on the fir floor. We chose a Minwax color called Provincial.

While we didn’t end up with perfectly refinished floors, they are 100% better than what we started with, so we are quite happy. All of the little imperfections that we fretted over became¬†unnoticeable once we moved our furniture back into the rooms. Plus, like I mentioned earlier, with a dog and two cats running around on them…we’ve had to learn to embrace a more “rustic” look!

refinished fir floors
After: dining area
kitchen with fir floor
After: kitchen
refinished fir floors
After: living room
refinished fir floors
After: bedroom



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