We loved that this 1950’s cape had wood floors on the main floor, they were very charming. I didn’t really think much about the color of the wood floor because there were bigger things to tackle when we moved in! The bathrooms, kitchen, carpet upstairs, the exterior….a lot needed updating. I was just thankful there was wood! With our addition I thought it would be the perfect time to refinish the oak floors to match the color of the wood we did upstairs, more white-washed. And I do want to mention that I don’t think the color of the floors were ugly or wrong. They were just a little too dark and orange toned to go with the rest of our style.
Another reason we wanted to refinish the oak floors was so we could add wood floors to our kitchen addition and the color would flow through the entire house. We did a herringbone pattern in the kitchen with red oak as well.
Plus it is typically less expensive to refinish your real wood floors rather than getting all new real wood floors. And, you can feel good about recycling your old flooring! It is hard to say exactly how much it cost us to refinish our floors because they did the new floors too. But my contractor said an average price is $2 a square foot to refinish, it can get up to $5 a square foot, depending on your space.
We did hire professionals to do the floors. I kept telling Kevin, I feel like you could just do this real quick?! And he just laughed at me, now I see why. It was a big job. But one that could be done if you have the right equipment (or rented it) and lots of time.
Process of refinishing wood floors-
They first sanded down our floors with a big sander. It did get REALLY dusty so we made sure to put everything away and cover the drawers with tape and plastic. You can see below how well they tapped off the cabinets and even the basket light where dust could easily sit in all the cracks.
Above is a photo of what it looked like right after they sanded our red oak- the raw wood. It was pretty uneven in some spots, because it was so old and could have had something stain the floor (like an animal from previous home owners).
Next they applied a coat of bleach, to even out the darker areas and stains (they only bleached the OLD red oak- not the new herringbone floors in the kitchen).
Above is the oak floors after they received an application of the white wash stain (called Country White Wash from Dura Seal) after the bleach had dried about 12 hours.
Lastly you can see how the polyurethane just adds a little bit more definition and protection. They did two coats of water based polyurethane.
We LOVE how the floors turned out!!! (They do look slightly pink in this photo- but they are pretty much a nice white wash). We were able to walk on the floor the next morning after they applied the polyurethane! (Also, keep in mind that humidity can impact the rate that your stain and finish dry).
Above is another shot of the red oak floors right before they started the refinishing process.
Before of Finns room! And below is the after! I like his transformation, now the ceiling doesn’t compete with the floors.
I do want to mention the old floors don’t look perfect. They had some areas that had some gaps and some uneven color. But it doesn’t bother us at all. Plus we do rugs on the floors anyways!
Here are our new kitchen floors after they got sanded and the white wash stain (no bleach). The herringbone looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to get it all cleaned up and put everything in!
They did end up putting in new floor down the hall- it was too damaged and looked really pieced together. Looks great and flows nice with the old floor.
The blue tape up above basically shows were the new and old start.