Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Frankly m'dear, they ARE hardwood floors.


Three years and nearly two months ago when we moved to our second house and decided to take on that whole scenario again, we knew the sea of fresh, cheap, shedding, beige carpet that swallowed up the square footage wouldn't last too long with two big dogs, a kid on the way, and my personal disgust of stain-prone-fixed-floor-fabric.

So a year after we trampled the short shag and happily let it go to hell, we ripped it up along with the padding underneath it. Ken and I were happy to find fairly smooth (and durable by nature) plywood. Trusty, simple, good ol' plywood. And we went with it.

We sanded it lightly, stained it, sealed it, and now live our daily life on it; plywood. It's a good 3-7 year fix. Our kid can't destroy it. And, it buys us some time to save up for what we really wanna do to it, longterm.

Although Ken was the major contributor on the brawn and brains of the operation, I helped choose the color of the stain and helped in the application and it's in our house -- so I feel comfortable bragging about it in a public forum.

We got a skillion gasps and compliments about it. And our friend Kamie called us up the other day for a tutorial on it. So we figured in case others wanna go this cheap, easy, and dazzling route, here are the instructions:


1. If you lift a corner of your carpet up and see really flaky, cracked, thin, splintery plywood under there, this project isn't for you. But if you luck out with something decent and smooth, then yay for you! This a cheap and pretty easy project as long as you are willing to navigate a new path over or around your temporary work zone. But if you pull up the entire carpet all willy-nilly-style and the plywood is wrecked, prepare yourself to finish the floor in a more traditional method.

2. You will need: stain of your choice, sealer, wool applicator pad, extension pole, sanding paper,

3. Remove carpet and pad (recycle if applicable), and any staples and/or carpet tacks.

4. Lightly sand all surfaces, going with the grain.

5. Vacuum up any dust. Be super thorough. A shop vac with the wide floor attachment works best.

6. Mix stain really well before applying. DO NOT SHAKE or you will have nasty air bubbles in the application!

7. Using a large brush, apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain. Let it sit 5-10 minutes before wiping off excess stain. It helps if you have a partner for this who can feather out any lap marks or areas where you might need to take a beer or pizza break. An old cotton t-shirt works great. Have some rubber gloves on hand too--or you're gonna get into some pretty severe hand-washing.

8.Let the stain dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. DO NOT RUSH THIS STEP.

9. Seal in the stain using floor polyurethane. Pour on the poly and slowly smooth out with the applicator pad, working continuously to avoid overlap marks. High gloss will show a ton of imperfections so we are recommending a satin finish. Do at least 3 coats. Let dry in between according to the instructions on the container. The most annoying part is trying to wait at least a good week before allowing heavy foot traffic.

10. Enjoy your hard work! Coolest, cheapest floor makeover ever!

Now stop fussing and making your guests take off their shoes when they come over.
Eeeew. Feet.

7 comments:

Danielle said...

How did you get the light and dark look?

Cira James said...

Hi Danielle! That is just the way the floor turned out with one color of stain. I guess we have good grain over here ; )

Ali Maguire said...

I've seen this done before but never as pretty as yours, beautiful!

BusyJennyBee said...

What color stain did you use? Thanks!:)

Cira James said...

(link to stain is in the content; see "stain")
But it's Minwax/Dark Walnut. The floor poly is satin. Good luck! It's one of the best things we ever did!

Liz Provo said...

Hi there, Love the way your subfloor has taken center stage. Question: Did you cover all the screw holes before sanding? If so, with what?

Cira James said...

Liz: the screws would have been an issue—however, we counter sunk them!