Friday, July 28, 2006

Floored by the floors

In preparation for putting our house on the market, one of the items on our home improvement list is to have some of our wood floors refinished. The previous owner of our house had the living and dining rooms, the stairs and the upstairs hallway floors refinished some time before we bought the house. The two upstairs bedrooms had carpeting, as well as the foyer, downstairs hallway, guest bedroom and TV room.

Over the course of the last 5 ½ years we have removed all of the wall-to-wall carpeting. The master bedroom was the 1st room we tackled, and we were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the floors. Since sellers often put carpet over hardwoods needing to be refinished, we anticipated the floors may be in bad shape. After removing the carpet, we cleaned the floors and installed quarter round shoe molding along the baseboards, and it looked great. Same for the 2nd bedroom upstairs.

When we removed the carpet from the TV room, guest bedroom, foyer and downstairs hallway we were not nearly as fortunate. Indeed, the previous owner had installed carpet over the hardwoods needing to be refinished because carpet is cheaper than refinishing. For awhile we made due using inexpensive area rugs. But in order to get top dollar for our home when we sell it, we knew the stained and scratched floors needed to be refinished.

We’d been told that we needed to empty the rooms before the refinishers arrived, which was no surprise. I mean, it would be nice if they moved the furniture for you, but that’s really not why they’re there. So Joe and I started moving the furniture from the guest bedroom and TV room into the living and dining rooms. It went pretty well, with the exception of the sofa. It was too big to move through the TV room door that leads to the hallway. So we tried to take it out of the TV room door that goes outside, since that’s how the sofa got in, but it still would not fit. Then I remembered we had taken the door off its hinges to get the sofa in last fall, so we did that again to get the sofa out. We carried it around to the front door of the house and easily brought it inside and placed it in the living room.

Having never experienced hardwood floor refinishing, I assumed it would be done in a day or two. It was only 2 rooms plus the foyer and hallway, right? Wrong.

The two floor guys arrived at 8am Mon morning (day 1) and spent nearly the entire day sanding the floors. There were a few spots that required extra attention. In the TV room there was a round spot about 12 inches in diameter that appeared to be where a plant may have been over-watered and the water damaged the floor. In the foyer there was a deep scratch from where the carpet installers had scored the floor. But when I came home from work Mon evening I was impressed by the smoothly sanded floors and the complete removal of those 2 offensive areas. The floors were colorless, as the stain and protective coating are only in the top surface that gets sanded off. The appearance of the wood at this stage reminded me of the pale wood we used in 7th grade to make wood projects in shop class.

On day 2 the floor guys stained the foyer and hallways, and put a coat of polyurethane on the guest room and TV room which were left the natural color. When I got home from work I was super-impressed! The grain of the wood is really brought out when the stain is applied. The floors were stunning! But the smell was terrible. Joe had opened the windows earlier to let the fumes out, and then he & I left the house for a couple hours just to get away from the smell. We went to the movies and saw “The Devil Wears Prada”, which I liked more than Joe did.

On day 3 the floor guys put a coat of polyurethane on the stained floors, so that all of the refinished floors now had 1 coat of poly on them.

On day 4 they put a 2nd coat of poly on all of the floors and installed the quarter round shoe molding. When I came home from work on Thurs I was floored by the floors. They are absolutely gorgeous. Although it cost about $1,500. to have the foyer, downstairs hallways and 2 rooms refinished and shoe molding installed, I believe it truly was worth it. Those floors look like a million bucks!!!

I coined the phrase “The Holy Trinity of getting top dollar for your real estate is: refinished hardwoods, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops.” We can now check off the 1st component of this Trinity. Two more to go!

Drag Queen name of the day: Terri Cloth

1 comment:

Bugsy (aka Joe) said...

Glad to hear that your floor experience went well!