The fortunate thing about midcentury houses is craftsmanship–true, quality craftsmanship that seems to be lost in modern construction. In Mac’s house, the treasure of the house were the floors…original hardwood oak floors. Had any other person bought this house they would miss out on the significance of those floors- when Mac viewed this house in 1964 it smelled of sanded floors and sawdust was still scattered across those floors. She loved them, and since she loved them so, it became my responsibility to restore them.
But as with many things in Mac’s house, the floors received a lot of wear and tear. There were stains and scars– no doubt caused by our racecars plummeting down the hall or spilled sodas in the bedroom. 50+ years and several grandchildren take a toll on hardwoods. But in those 50+ years my dad graduated high school and stood in his cap and gown on those floors holding his diploma. My grandma set up her annual Christmas tree with handmade ornaments from the grandkids. My grandpa’s chair sat on those floors, and, eventually, replaced with my grandma’s chair. Many cats curled and slept for hours throughout the house. Many, many valuable memories took place on those scarred, stained floors.
But the time had come to refinish and restore the floors…erasing the scars and stains. The original color was true orange-ish oak color which I wanted to change. Admittedly, Grandma would NOT approve of a color change on the floors; however, I wanted to modernize the floors slightly while also diminishing any defects.
While this could be a DIY project, I know my limits. The sanding and refinishing is a lofty goal of which I had no desire to tackle. I hired a local hardwood floor company that specialized in restoration of original hardwoods.
They started the process by sanding down the floors. This process stripped the floors of their orange stain and many of the scars and stains began to disappear.
It took a couple days to remove all layers of stain. After the floors were entirely stripped, they looked brand new. Even the deep scars and dark black stains had entirely disappeared.
I think the sanding phase was my favorite stage because it was such a drastic, immediate change. Years of wear immediately dissolved- it was fascinating!
After the floors are entirely sanded, they put a putty type material over the floors. The company told me this putty helps to fill in holes, scratches, and dings in the wood creating a smooth surface.
After the putty stage, it was time to pick a stain. I chose “Spice.” A warm, dark color to create a modern tone to the house. I didn’t want the floor to be too dark, but I wanted to remove all hints of orange. Spice was the perfect stain!
50 years….erased but restored in less than a week. Without a doubt, this investment has been my favorite of all projects in flips. The spice stain really emphasizes the wood grains and knots, highlighting the character of the floors.
The original hardwoods ran throughout the living room, hallway, and bedrooms. The kitchen and dining room, however, had layers of vinyl flooring. I wanted to create a seamless flow of flooring to create the illusion of a larger space, so I had the subflooring removed in the kitchen and dining room.
Once the subfloor was removed, the dated peninsula, and sticky tile, it was time to transform the floor in the kitchen/dining room area. I decided to do something unique…carry the wood floor into the kitchen area. Since I created Operation Open Concept, it was essential to the design that the floor was the same throughout the now open space. So the same floor company that redid the floors were able to match the existing small strip wood planks and stain. Now you can’t even tell where the original and new floors meet!
Once the wood was installed, it instantly made the space look HUUUUGE! Even before staining, there was a dramatic change.
After the wood was installed and sanded, it was time to stain them! Prior to staining is when I opted to have the cabinets painted in case of any mishaps with the paint. The benefit of that is that if paint was spilled the floor company could sand it out before staining. Luckily, however, my paint guy was great and I didn’t have that issue. The only issue with this arrangement was trying to coordinate the schedules of two companies, but, luckily, it all worked out.
The staining lasted a few days. Again, just to be safe, I taped off my cabinets with saran wrap type material and painter’s tape just in case stain splashed on the cabinets.
The stain turned out amazing! I just love how well it matches the original floors!
I wasn’t able to walk on the floors for a few days while they cured. Once they were totally cured, I removed all the protective wrap from the cabinets.
The transformation in this house has been so dramatic just with restoring the floors. The authentic oak floors were in rough shape, but they had plenty of life left in them. I’m so glad I was able to restore them.