Sanding + Staining Our Hardwood Floors
The first renovation project in our new place is officially done and we are LOVING the results.
You guys remember our shiny, yellow hardwood floors…reminiscent of a high school gymnasium?
Well, those are officially G-O-N-E and in its place, we have dark stained hardwood that is polished & scratch-free!
Our New Dark Hardwood Floors
Aren’t the floors just beautiful?
But let’s backtrack shall we?
When looking at our new home for the first time, one of the first things we both commented on were the floors. Not only were we both not in love with the color & sheen, but there were lots of scratches and dents throughout the home. Not cool. We didn’t want this to be a deal breaker if we got the home or not, but as first-time homeowners we had no idea how much something like that would cost to change. $500? $5,000? #clueless
I contacted a friend who had just had her hardwoods redone here in Chicago and she reassured me that the price would not be astronomical. That conversation helped seal the deal for our new place. We were in, and the first thing on the to-do list would be to fix the floors prior to our move-in date. I got quotes from a few companies in Chicago and ended up going with someone who had stellar reviews. I booked him to start the day after we closed on the unit.
While waiting for our closing date I spent many hours pinning hardwood floor images on Pinterest, looking for the perfect shade & sheen. I knew I wanted something dark, without any traces of red in it. After reading other blogs and posts, I found out that dark hardwoods show everything. Like everything. Any crumb, dust, or dirt is fairly visible on that color hardwood. Yikes. That’s not good for this clean freak.
But digging even deeper, I read that the sheen of the floors can play a big role in what is visible on the floor. The more matte you go the fewer scratches, dents, and dirt that show. That made me feel more at ease and I decided that a dark color with a satin sheen was going to be our winner. Yes, it would definitely still show dirt (wah wah), but to me, it’s worth it for the “look” I want in our home. Plus I am a swiffering machine.
Sand & Stain Hardwood Floors
On Day 1, our flooring contractor sanded down all of the floors in our place with a huge machine. We stayed out of the way as he got to work because dust and wood chips were flying everywhere. A few hours later we came back to pick out the exact stain color. I told him I wanted to see some dark options, but needed to see them in the space before we gave him the green light.
Choosing the Right Floor Stain
He put down 5 shades of stain directly onto the floor. When he first poured out the stain I gasped. It’s crazy to see a whole bucket of stain being POURED onto your new home’s floors…so I was a little freaked. But he’s a pro, so I got over it very quickly! Then the hard part came. We had to choose a color! I was between the color “Dark Walnut” & “Jacobean” (top 2 on the left), but ultimately went with “Jacobean” (middle left). What sealed the deal was that it has gray undertones and the flooring contractor said our maple floors would take that color a bit better than the other.
I told him to go for it, and we left our home in his hands so he could get to work.
Fast forward a few days, and I get a call from our flooring guy saying he has a big problem. Uh oh. The floors were stained and he was getting ready to seal them when he noticed a puddle of water on the ground near our bedroom sliding doors. There was a crazy intense storm the night before (picture sideways rain!), and that was the culprit for the water. He cleaned up the water, but it did damage the hardwood a bit. I wanted to rush over there immediately to take a look, and have a professional come seal our door better…but we couldn’t because of the floors! He had already put the stain on the ground and you couldn’t walk into the unit for at least 48 hours.
Oh-em-gee. Our first trial as homeowners and we couldn’t even rush to our new home to check out the damage! Ahhhh. I was obviously freaked out, but Finn & I calmed down, thanked God that it wasn’t any worse, and put up this big ol’ tarp on the outside of our glass windows, all the while peering into our windows to try to get a better look at the damage. I’m sure our new neighbors think we’re complete crazies with the big blue tarp…but there was no way in heck we were letting any other water come into our home until a pro could come fix the seal on the door.
Luckily, it all worked out and both the floor & the door seal are now good to go. And I must say it was well worth the wait to come home to these shiny new floors…
Hardwood Floors in the Color Jacobean
So now instead of this…
We have this!
And those scratches from before?They’re all gone!
We can officially cross our first big to-do as homeowners off the list! Number 2 on that never-ending list? Paint!
I’ll be back next week with all of the details about our new wall colors. And in the meantime, anyone have any good recommendations for hardwood floor cleaning products? I want to keep these babies lookin’ good and can use all the help I can get!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.