Ahh wood floors! I knew they were hiding underneath our linoleum, but how bad of shape was the question. Hubby got a bug and decided to rip up the floors in the hallway one night and what we found was in amazing shape! So we decided to rip up the rest of the flooring.
Because it was tongue and groove flooring, it took minutes to remove. There was also minimal nails in the wood floors which would make restoring them even easier.
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Most of them were painted a dark brown or stained. We had planned on sanding them down and took the weekend to rent a drum sander.
Because the last owner laid the laminate flooring then the cabinets,and we weren’t removing the cabinets, we had to cut around the cabinets to remove the floor. We just used a straight saw for this part.
It appeared as if a wall had been here at one point damaging the floor. Overall this was the only serious damage and one thing we could live with. We knew we could mostly sand it down to blend it in.
We also found two of these floor grates under the floor. They no longer go to anything but we decided to keep them anyways. Well eventually repaint them when we finish the floors.
Prep & Sanding
Once the flooring was ripped out and the hard woods exposed, we covered everything we could. Sanding creates a lot of dust and I wanted to make clean up as easy as possible. I purchased some cheap plastic sheets and taped them up from the ceiling over the cabinets and countertops. I also blocked all doorways so dust wouldn’t travel to other rooms.
For the sanding, we rented a drum sander from a local hardware store. It was $60 for the weekend and we bought 20, 36 and 80 grit sandpaper for it. You’ll want to start with the low grit and work your way up. We’ve restored other wood floors in our home, and this always works for us.
Starting with your 20 grit, start on one side of the room, and work your way across. Never leave the sander running and against the floor when the sander isn’t moving. It can leave an 8 inch gouge in your floor. You also never want to sand cross grain so follow the movement of your floor boards.
Once you’ve finished sanding your entire floor with the 20 grit, and removed all the finish, you can then move on to your 36 grit and finally finish with your 80 grit for a smooth finish.
And of course a beer break to celebrate! Although this looks easy, it is tedious and took us a full two days to sand the whole kitchen and hallway. A combined total of 20 hours went into this floor, just sanding.
I also swept and mopped the bare floors to rid them of any dust and dirty left laying on them. We plan on finishing them just as we have all the other wood floors in our home and using a tinted danish oil. These are 1800s oak floors, and are extremely hard and dry. Using oil will give them the moisture they so need, as well as soak into the wood versus a stain and poly which simply sit on top. Im still waiting on the oil to ship, but as soon as it does I’ll update you here with the finished wood floors!
Sanded Wood Floors
I also want to address the obvious, the floors are not perfect. They were never intended to be perfect which is why we opted to keep the original wood floors. I didn’t want them sanded down completely and so asked my husband to leave just a little bit of discoloration. The great thing about wood floors is you can customize them to your liking. Our laundry room floors were completely sanded down to bare wood. You can see that process here. Whereas our upstairs guest room has some mint green paint left on them for patina.
For the oil, we chose a light walnut danish oil. It’ll add just a bit of a darker tint and will bring out all the character and imperfections. There is no sealing with using oil, so you simply apply and let it soak in! Stay tuned for the final restored wood floors!