Sanding + Staining Our Hardwood Floors

The first renovation project in our new place is officially done and we are LOVING the results.

Our new home started out with these shiny, yellow hardwood floors prior to our renovation.You guys remember our shiny, yellow hardwood floors…reminiscent of a high school gymnasium?

Sand and stain hardwood floors in ChicagoWell, 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

The new stained hardwood floors look amazing in our new home!Aren’t the floors just beautiful?

The original floors had scratches and dents, and we were not in love with the yellow shine.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

The scratches in the floor would need to be fixed.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.

Our kitchen is getting prepped for the new stained hardwood floors!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

Choosing a stain color was challenging, but seeing them on the floor helped us make the right choice!

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.

Finn had to cover our glass door with a big, blue tarp to prevent any further water damage to our new stained hardwood floors!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
The shiny, new, dark hardwood floors look amazing in our home!New Stained Hardwood Floors

So now instead of this…

Here is our bedroom before redoing the hardwood floors.

We have this!

Here is our master bedroom after redoing the hardwood floors- the result is amazing!And those scratches from before?The scratches really take away from the look of the floor.They’re all gone!With the scratches removed, the new stained hardwood floors look gorgeous!

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!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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