Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sanding Floors

Sorry for the lack of posts here. Last weekend we sanded the wood floors in the living room, dining room and office (former laundry room). Monday we all took a break from the house to recover. This was hands down the most physically exhausting work we have done at the house to date.

We spent most of last week preparing for sanding by pulling staples from the office floor. These suckers had heads barely 1/4 inch wide and legs (is that what they're called on staples?) over an inch long. Thankfully the office was the only room with staples.

Right at noon on Saturday we picked up the floor sander and edger. Here's my dad with the sander, just a few minutes after starting in the living room:

A very long 32 hours later that same floor looked like this:

And the office floor like this:

I actually never ran the sander or edger; Charles and my parents did all of the actual sanding. Charles tackled much of the edging each day, and thus had perhaps the most difficult job of the weekend. The edger was louder than the sander, and much more difficult on the back and arms because it required you to stoop or crouch the entire time you inched around each room.

As you can see in the picture with my dad above, the living room floor had been painted with some type of white primer. Even after the boards were sanded clean, narrow white lines remained between each board. I spent the weekend addressing this problem. Specifically, I spent both days on the living room floor picking out crud from between the floorboards with a dental pick:

I was back at the house after work today, but I think it will take me two more evenings after work this week before I have the entire living room floor picked clean. There are also a few places that would benefit from some attention with the random orbital sander.

So, that was our weekend. My mom was back at work on the book nook today, and I've been conducting various experiments on the back sides of some walnut trim to determine what route we'll use for finishing. My Uncle J has been very busy at the house as well. So there's lots of fodder for future blog posts whenever I find the time to write them!


  1. What a ton of work. Suitable for twenty year olds :-)

    I get staples out of my flooring relatively easily by using a pry bar and a hammer. But then my flooring is plywood and scrap wood. Still, it doesn't leave anything but a tiny gouge, maybe not a problem if the floor will be sanded anyway.

    After I whack the pry bar once or twice to raise the top of the staple, I can pull the staple out with tiny pliers.

  2. Too bad no one doing the work was twenty. :-)

    We started with a pry bar, hammer, pliers, and the smallest flat head screwdriver we could find. Unfortunately most of the staples were flush with the floor and even our smallest screwdriver was too wide to fit under them.

    Eventually we resorted to driving a small nail under the head of each staple and using that to pop the head of the staple just far enough to grab it with a pair of vise grips. The floor gained some dents and dings, but I'll take a slightly gouged wood floor over carpet any day.

  3. floors look amazing!!!! even unfinished!!! can't wait to hear what you decide to do to finish them!

  4. All hail to hard workers and hard work that pays off!

    As soon as I finish stopping the larger cracks with slivers, I'll have to sand my hallway floor. It's too small to inflict a floor sander on it, so I'll have to use my belt sander or my palm sander. Such joy (and dust!) awaits.