It’s been a little over a week since our floor refinishing journey really started and everything is settling back in to place finally as it comes to an end. They look amazing, and I am happy that we got it taken care of. But it was quite the ordeal to get here. For anyone who is considering refinishing the wood floors where they currently live, let’s talk about the process.

We bought our house in 2009 from an older lady who lived in it since it was built in 1957. The original hardwood floors were in okay enough condition when we moved in, plus we spent most of our Obama money on new windows and electric supplies. Remember the first time homebuyer incentive of $8000 back in those days? I think that’s about half of the reason we ended up buying when we did. But over the past eight years I could see the bare wood showing through where the dogs liked to flop on the floor, not to mention water stains from both myself and the dogs were becoming evident.

refinished hardwood floor before and after

Be-floor and after

Once I paid the kitchen loan off, I decided that it was time to reuse the HELOC that we still have and do more projects since I’m really good at paying off stuff. I knew that I wanted to get this done in the winter because moving stuff when it’s hot sucks, plus the lower humidity is good to get the floors drying in a timely manner. So a month or so ago, I had Ken from Local Happiness Construction come and measure the space and give me a quote and lock down a start date. I decided on the week of Jan. 15 because I would have that day off for MLK day and one less day I’d have to take off of work. I also arranged to work from home some that week so I could be nearby if needed since I work a half hour commute from home.

About 3/4 of our house is the hardwood flooring. That equals two bedrooms, one large living room, and a foyer that connects them. As the 15th approached, we began removing smaller items into the attic and some things went outside (a rubber coated weight set, fake plants mostly), and bigger less used items went to a storage shed. I did not think we needed one at all, but Patrick insisted and he was right. I made sure to let him know that he was. He got a great deal on one about a quarter mile from home that was less than $50 for the month. As the weekend before got close, a few friends came over to help us move the last things, like beds and dressers. Other things like couches and bookshelves went in the kitchen and carpeted den, crammed in like Tetris pieces.

On that Monday morning, I waited for the contractors to come over and once they arrived I loaded the last few things I’d need to stay at my mom’s for the week with the dogs. They were nice and taped up plastic sheeting over the doorways to protect the rooms full of stuff to keep sanding dust from settling any more places than it needed to. And then it began.

Their schedule was to sand it down Monday, first coat of stain Tuesday (I chose Minwax Espresso), and second coat Wednesday. Then we couldn’t walk on it for 48 hours minimum while it cured, which brought us to Friday evening.

refinished hardwood floor bedroom

By Friday night, I came home from work and since it was safe to begin walking on, I wiped down some collected dust from the tops of the door and window frames, and the windows. I used a Magic Eraser on the now super-dingy-looking-by-comparison baseboards, and hung up the curtains. I still didn’t want to put furniture weight on the floor so that was about all I could do to prepare.

refinished hardwood floor guest room

The next morning we signed off on the quality of the work and I began the process of getting everything where it needed to go. By Saturday night, just about all of the furniture was where it belonged. By Sunday, all of the furniture was back in place, and the little things are everywhere. I found my gun bag in the kitchen cabinet. The checkbook was in the linen closet. And I’m working on getting rid of things we don’t need or forgot we had. Everything else is going back in it’s place. This is the only room that’s put together enough to show off.

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So did I think it was worth it? Yes. It was a huge hassle for about 2/3 of the month between moving and re-moving. I wouldn’t do it again like that, but then again I probably won’t have to! It takes so much coordination and hefting of furniture.  If you’re buying a new house, I 100% solidly recommend doing it before you move the first thing in there. Take out more mortgage to get this done if you have to. I’m no banker, but I stand behind this statement.

Are you local to Columbia, SC? I recommend Local Happiness Construction, tell them I sentcha. We’ll be using them again for more projects in the upcoming year and beyond.