We’re still experiencing technical difficulties due to our host server being down, and I am so sorry. Please don’t give up on us!! All our home renos are moving right along, so we’ll keep posting updates whenever we’re able.
Since I seem to be able to access the site right now (we’ll see how long this lasts), I’m going to try to upload a quick post…
When we last left off, we had just discovered that we couldn’t restore the original wood floors in our kitchen, which led to being sad for a minute and then immediately starting Plan B. And by immediate, I mean, within an hour the brand new oak boards for our floor had been delivered. I love these guys.
The whole rest of the first floor of our house, minus the kitchen/pantry, has its original 1890 oak floors in a gorgeous warm color. Our floor guy, Brandon, said that our original floors actually only have a clear coat of stain, which has deepened to this rich color over the last 123 years. So they started out the exact same color as the untreated boards above. We could probably try to match the old color with the new boards, but it would never look exactly right and it would always be super fake. We didn’t even consider that option and went straight for a clear coat on the new floors.
The next decision we had to make was oil-based or water-based stain. This is one of those decisions that I had about 30 seconds to make, so I asked a lot of questions of Brandon, the floor guy. He said that oil based stains will darken over time to become a rich color similar to the rest of our floors (but not exactly the same since they’d be starting 120 years behind schedule). However, the chemicals used are highly toxic, flammable and stink like crazy. Water-based stains are better for the environment and don’t smell. I really didn’t want to subject myself or especially our cats to oil-based fumes that may make us sick or at the very least make for a really unpleasant week at home, so I chose water-based stain. I’m really happy with this decision.
Here’s the new floors before the clear coat (left), and then after the first coat (right), along with the old, darker floors in the rest of the house.
It took about four days to lay the floors in the kitchen and pantry. The boards went down over the first two days, and then the next two days were filled with a series of sanding, staining, buffing, waiting for it to dry, and repeating. When the kitchen is mostly done, Brandon will come back to put one final coat on, which will fix any damage that may be done when the cabinets and appliances move in.
Honestly, I was a little worried at first about it looking weird for the kitchen floors to be a different color from the rest of the house, but after living with it for two weeks, I love it. I like that there’s a bit of a transition to make the kitchen feel like a different room (that’s just a small hallway outside the kitchen door, not a huge space), but I also love that the boards themselves match seamlessly and there isn’t a bump from the hallway to the kitchen anymore. These new floors are so bright and happy!
I especially love that we can’t see the basement through the floor anymore! And we don’t have 6+ layers of dirty, peeling vinyl and linoleum anymore! The new floors are awesome. I’m so glad that we went with Plan B. The cost wasn’t too terribly more than what we had already budgeted for refinishing the old floors (about $1500), but we have brand new, super sturdy floors that create an almost seamless transition from the rest of the house. I love it.