We have spent the last week working on our floors! We knew from the moment we first saw our house that if we bought it, we’d rip out all the old carpet and strip the floor back to the wood underneath. We also knew we wouldn’t have the thousands of dollars needed to pay someone else to do it, so it would be up to us. Though plenty of people warned us doing our own floors would be difficult, exhausting and generally awful, we were determined! So last weekend we hired a drum sander and got to work.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the carpets that were in the house before we started. This picture was taken in the hall, at the corner of the two end bedrooms. Every room had different carpet. It was all very old and very, very stained and smelly.
Our first task was to rip up the old carpet. It hadn’t been laid very well so was quite easy to pull up, but was rather disgusting. The carpet was filthy and in one bedroom reeked of cat pee!
The floorboards under the carpet were stained and random sections of the floor had been varnished but, luckily, the boards themselves were all in reasonably good condition. After we had pulled up the carpet we had to remove all the staples and nails that had been holding it down, then use a nail punch on all the nails in the floorboards, before we could sand. Yes, you did read that right. Every. Single. Nail.
Once all the staples and nails had been sorted, we began the epic task of sanding the floorboards with the drum sander. We stripped the floors in the three bedrooms, two hallways and living room, and the drum sanding portion of the job took about two days. We went over the floor in each room around three times with 40 grit sandpaper, then twice with 100 grit. We were terrified of damaging and gouging the floors but we took our time and were very careful, and thankfully, we didn’t have any major mishaps. Once we had the knack of things, the task was really more monotonous than anything.
This picture was taken after the floor was sanded back with the drum sander. As you an see, the drum sander couldn’t reach the outer edge of the room and some of the less even patches on the floor.
The edges and small bits that the drum sander couldn’t reach have to be sanded by hand, so we have used a belt sander and a detail sander for this. This shot was taken after hand sanding (that dark line you can see is just the bottom of the wood skirting board that was revealed when we ripped up the carpet, not varnish on the floor boards). We’re still in the process of hand sanding the hallways and living room at the moment (and that has been the most time consuming and tedious part of the whole process so far) but all going well we should be done sanding by early next week! Then we’re going to use tinted tung oil to finish the floors.
Though this hasn’t been a fun job, it has been really rewarding. Reubs and I certainly wouldn’t rush into stripping our own floors again, but I think we’re both glad we did it this time. It’s been a huge learning experience and we are going to be extremely proud of ourselves when those floorboards are done!
Hopefully we’ll be back to share pictures of our gorgeous finished floors very soon. Think happy renovating thoughts for us!