Captain America does floors.

Last time we left off talking about poop. I didn’t used to be so casual in discussing such things. Motherhood changes you, I tell ya. And buying fixer-uppers just takes it to a whole new level.

The previous owners’ son had asthma apparently. (We have a very talkative, sweet old-lady neighbor.) The first thing they did when they bought the house in 2002 was tear out all of the carpet except on the stairs and in one closet and install hardwood. For that I am so grateful these eleven years later. Because funky carpet smells much worse than funky hardwoods.

Luckily, the poop was pretty well contained to the garage walkout and a storage area. The only interior floors that had water damage were in the master bedroom. All of the interior floors were pretty scratched up and in need of refinishing, but thankfully it looked like only the master bedroom would need new flooring.

bringing in the rented sanderWe rented one of these babies.  It weighed a kazillion pounds and took both of us to get it up that tiny step. Two men and my hubby loaded it in the vehicle.

floor sander

I have never used one before and was expecting it to be more difficult, probably thanks to television.

We rented it from Crosslands.  We’ve only rented major tools like this a couple of times, and it was always on a Friday afternoon. Rent them after 3pm on a Friday and you get to keep it all weekend for the price of one day. Woohoo! It cost us $114 for the rental and all the extra sheets of sandpaper. Not chump change, but definitely better than buying new flooring, right?

Tutorials are definitely not my thing; I always want to say, “you just do____ and then you _____and then you have to ______ and that’s all there is to it.” I haven’t learned quite how to make that translate from pointing and showing into typing and explaining well via the interwebs. So yeah, you could youtube it. But it was pretty straightforward. If you’ve used a sander, it’s pretty much like that but way bigger and heavier. 20131012_201422All the same principles apply: go with the grain, let the machine do the work (don’t use too much pressure or speed), start with coarse paper and work to fine. This thing didn’t get at the edges really well. The $114 included an edge sander, but it was scorching the wood. I’m not sure if it was user error or what, but we abandoned it part way through. We had to use the mouse sander for corners anyway, so we just finished up the edges with that. It took a little extra time, but it really was just a tiny strip and the finish was so old and scratched up that it didn’t take much effort at all.

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The sander had this bag attachment to collect dust, and it actually worked pretty well as opposed to the dust collectors on all of our consumer-grade sanders (We own a mouse, a 1/4 sheet, an orbital and a belt. I’ve yet to find one that collects dust well).

Sand the floors, moving from coarse to fine until smooth, emptying your sand bag frequently. Check for imperfections and use wood filler where needed. Let that dry and then sand smooth again. Then make sure you get all the dust off the floors. I used a shop vac and then a slightly damp mop. You definitely don’t want to use much water since you have no sealer on the wood.  20131012_145240

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He said, “I am Captain America right now. This is my shield.”

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Get a new pad for your mop for the next step (or if you don’t use this kind of mop, get one). You do not want any stray dust or grime of any sort to mess up your finish. There are lots of brands of sealer and they’re pretty much all the same. Well, the urethane ones are. Don’t use wax. Unless you want to use wax, but don’t do that. If you use wax, it is next to impossible to freshen up your floors in the future without completely stripping them. If this is the first time you are coating your floors, use a polyurethane (about $35-50/gallon depending on sheen). I felt like a regular freshening urethane would work for us in this application. I applied four coats over several days. We were still living in our old house 45 minutes away when we did the floors, so I just did a coat in the evenings before going home after working on other projects.

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These all seem to be about the same. I tried them all (in different rooms, of course). I was afraid to mix them in the same room. My only preference was the lid on the Orange Glo. The product seemed to come out in a more uniform manner.

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After we did the floors, we took our Fall break and went to Nashville (the hubs had a work conference) and Chicago(to visit friends and sight see). When we returned, it was time to move!

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