Refinishing floors

Nicole6February 7, 2013

I know there's a flooring forum too, but it doesn't appear very busy. We gutted and remodeled our kitchen this past year and instead of being int he ABB group, we're in the ABF (flooring!) category.

We have a huge amount of old maple flooring we are going to put down in our kitchen and the rest of our downstairs. Half of it already has old oak flooring, but because we took down walls I want everything to be one flooring type so we're are going over the top of that as well.

Having never had floors refinished, I am wondering about anyone's experiences. Are we pretty much going to have to move out for a few days while they do the coats of poly? My husband talked to the guy to get a price, but of course, doesn't think about the practical stuff. LOL We have an 8 year old and a 5 month old so either way it's going to be a PITA. The guy said he could do half the downstairs at one time and the other half after, but it's not being able to use the kitchen that will be the trouble so that doesn't solve anything.

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We have had good experiences with Mr. Sandless (franchise). Check into if in your area. No sanding and its all done in 1 day. Plan to hire them again for our dining and living room.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Doesn't look like there are any near here. I poked around on the website though and was intrigued. How do they sand the old finish off if they don't sand?

These floors will definitely need to be sanded though because not only do they have finish that needs to be taken off, but they're being re installed somewhere new so there may be variations in the surface levels of the boards. I originally wanted just a screening done to leave some of the scratches and "patina" (they're from a historical building in our town) but the re finisher explained to my husband that because they were being put in somewhere new, the surface wouldn't be perfectly even (like if he was just refinishing our existing floors) so they would need to be sanded and evened out.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:50PM
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Look for a company that offers so-called dustless sanding, then use a tough new water based finish like Bona Traffic.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:17PM
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When I redid my kitchen I had to have some new boards woven in where there changes in the layout. It was amazing how much just a little bit of variation between the old boards and new boards was noticeable. I had to have the floors sanded and refinished. It was a real bummer because we had just refinished them 2 years before that. It was a 2 day process to refinish them
As a side note, we refinished 100 year old maple floors in a condo we owned and it was amazing how great they looked. They were fairly dark but after sanding them we decided to just go with a natural finish and they looked fabulous.
Another note, my neighbor used Mr. Sandless and she wasn't that happy with the results. She said she was sorry she didn't have them refinished the conventional way.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Mr. Sandless or anyother sandless method is not for everyone or every situation.

We had it done in a rental property. We did not have the time to DIY or the money $3000, to do it the usually way. Mr. Sandless did it for $500. From what I understand they use a chemical that will disolve dirt and finish and then they suck it up. There were areas that many years ago some idiot put "stained shellac" on just a few random spots. That stuff soaked all the way through and no amount of sanding or mr sandless could get it out. The PO had tried sanding. So What we did was have the floors stained darker to try to cover it up. The floor did look 100 times better.

In our house the living and dining room floors are very old and thin. No more sanding so mr sandless is the only option unless we replace the floor (not happening) or carpet over.

Our local mr sandless said the only complaints he gets are for pets stains. Apparently those are very hard to get out.

Sounds like you are going to have to move out for a day or two. We had to when you used the usual method 20 years ago. I was pregnant and didn't want to smell the fumes.

Good luck and post photos when it done!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:56AM
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Yes, you're going to have to move out. And you will have issues with appliances fitting properly if you didn't install the cabinets on the same thickness of plywood as the finished floor is thick. You may need to uninstall them and do the floor underneath. That is always the best way.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:47AM
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Thanks all. We already have the refinisher picked out. My husband's worked with him before and he did his sister's floors a few years ago. I was just wondering how much of a PITA this was going to be. Hopefully my husband can get the floors out of the old building and installed here in the summer so I can just take the kids away for a few days and get them all done at once.

GreenDesigns: We installed the cabinets and and the range sitting on top of pieces of the actual flooring we're going to use so we're good there!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:03AM
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We had our floors refinished last summer. We had some oak floors that were about 20 years old and needed to be refinished, plus added more oak flooring in the living room/dining room. I was amazed at how they were able to weave the new floor into the old and, after finising, you couldn't tell which was old and which was new.

Regarding your questions about the finishing process, we were persuaded to go with the oil finish, which is supposed to be much stronger smelling than the poly. I have severe asthma, so it was a real concern. We stayed in a local hotel for three nights, which was an added expense and stress on the family. I'm glad we stayed in town, because as soon as we could get walk on the floors (in socks), DH went in and opened windows and set up fans in the windows to star airing out the house. The fumes were so bad when he first went in that he went back to the garage and put on a respirator---he only had to do this the first time he entered. Than DH and I took turns parked in our (long) driveway while the house was airing out during the day. Overnight, we left upstairs, unaccessible windows open and locked up and closed windows downstairs. We repeated this process for 48 hours before moving back in. The house still had a strong chemical smell which almost sent me back to the hotel for another night, but didn't bother the rest of the family that much, as none of them have asthma. We continued to air out the house with open windows through the day and strategically placed fans for an entire month. There were two reasons we continued with this for so long: (1) My very, very bad asthma which includes chemical sensitivity---I've been hospitalized with asthma before, so we weren't taking any chances: and (2) The oil finish has a very strong smell and none of us wanted any trace of that left in the house.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I love the look of our floors, they are, in the long-term, so much better for my asthma than the carpet we had in the living room/dining room area, and and they are easier maintenance. The length of time it took us to get the house aired out to our satisfaction was primarily due to my asthma. Also, if you're getting a poly finish I've been told the odor is much less and dissipates more quickly. I am very glad we planned our floors for summer when things would dry more quickly and we could keep windows open for airing out the house.

There's no doubt it's a big hassle for a family, but, in my opinion, well worth it. We tried to make the expereince fun for our child, and she still looks back on it as a fun vacation (but it was work for us).

This post was edited by sail-away on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 18:18

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:15PM
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