Monday, August 25, 2008

Refinishing wood floors

I think refinishing wood floors might be the most labor intensive thing you can do in a home.

I’ve done nearly everything else, including hanging drywall, mudding and taping, laying tile, laying wood flooring, reroofing, landscaping, ripping up carpeting, various kinds of demolition, plumbing, and installing windows, and by far, refinishing wood floors is the most exhausting.

With the exception of the kitchen and bathroom, our entire upstairs is wood floor. Living room, hallway, dining room, two bedrooms, and 6 closets, all hardwood.

We started on Friday evening by hauling everything out of those rooms and closets. It’s all piled precariously in the basement and the garage and I might have to wear the exact same outfit all week because I have no idea where the rest of my pants are.

Then we rented this terrifying floor sander. The mister used it. Wouldn't even let me have a turn.

While he got to stand upright and walk around like an evolved being with the floor sander, yours truly was on her hands and knees with an orbital sander going around the perimeter of every room and getting all the nooks and crannies the floor sander couldn’t reach. I spent a lot of time in the closets because the floor sander just couldn’t get in there.

We had to sand the floors three separate times. Once with a heavy duty 36-grit sandpaper to get the huge dings, scratches, and stains out, once with 60-grit to even out any bumpy patches, and once with 100-grit to get the floors mirror-smooth.

This was okay for the mister, who was, of course, standing upright, but because I was either on my hands and knees or squatting in the most unladylike fashion for all three rounds of sanding, my back and thighs are killing me.

I broke a flip flop and sanded my hands a couple of times on accident (exfoliating!), and I have a series of mystery bruises*, including a giant one on my left butt cheek, but we managed to escape the weekend relatively unscathed.

I was so completely covered in sawdust that every movement created a shower of super-fine dust. I had sawdust in my ears, covering my eyebrows, and basically everywhere but under the mask I was wearing.

We made a grand total of 6 trips to Home Depot over the weekend.

I hate Home Depot.

If they sold Advil and whiskey at the checkout counter, I’d like it better.

We managed to survive without any huge home improvement fights, probably due to the fact that it was impossible to speak to each other over the steady drone of the floor sander and the scream of the orbital sander I was using.

Although, once the mister turned off the floor sander, he could apparently hear me singing along at the top of my lungs to my ipod. I only figured this out when I saw him sitting on the floor laughing his ass off.

We spent all day Saturday sanding. And I do mean all day. We started at 7:15 in the morning, after making a coffee and donut run, and we worked until 9:00 that evening.

It will take a few days to apply the last few coats of polyurethane and then the mister decided that since all the furniture was out of the house, we should paint the rest of the rooms upstairs, so there’s a couple more days of sleeping on the tiny guest bed in the basement.

But the floors do look really nice and it’s the last big project left. After this, we’re going to redo the upstairs bathroom, but that’s small potatoes compared to the projects we’ve already completed.

* Mystery bruise: a bruise of unknown origin, usually noticed upon getting naked before a shower; after notice, is usually remarked upon with a "huh, I don't remember getting that." Not to be confused with a bar bruise, which is a bruise one incurs while under the intoxicating effects of liquor. One has no memory of how one received said bruise, but the origin is clear: beer.


Molly said...

I feel so sorry for you. I have a huge unreasonable fear of anything dusty - saw dust, chalk dust, just dust in general. Seriously - if it gets on my hands, I freak out. I wouldn't even write on the chalk board when I was a kid. And those huge sidewalk chalks? GROSS! You are a home improvement goddess.

Janet said...

Does it make me completely insane that I'm kind of jealous of your home improvement projects?

I think my whacked out DIY-er parents may have totally scared me for life...