Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Our Wood Floor

After investigating our options and searching for a wood floor that has a worn, reclaimed look, we decided that we weren't happy with the new products that were meant to look old.  We wanted something with more character that wasn't so uniform looking.

We stalked the Elmwood Reclaimed Timber website for a while, drooling over the choices.  I especially liked their Virtual Showroom that gave you a better idea of what the product might look like in your home.  We finally called and ordered some samples.  They arrived quickly and we began playing with them.  We sanded them and tried out different polyurethane/stain/sealer choices to see how they would look.  We were pretty set on the Reclaimed Barn Wood Flooring in Natural Hardwoods and it didn't hurt that it was in the sale section.  I was still nervous about making this big purchase over the phone/internet without actually seeing the product in person.  The salespeople at Elmwood were very helpful and let me order 10 square feet first.  Once I had that, I set it up in our garage and walked around on it and looked at it in different light to make sure I was in love.  I'm so glad we did that because it really sealed the deal for us.  The wood was a lot rougher than we anticipated, but it just meant that we would be doing some extra sanding to prep the floors.

In early December, we went on a family vacation to Disney World for a week.  The timing worked out that our trim carpenter laid the floor for us while we were gone.  It was a lot of fun to come home to a new wood floor!  He texted us some pics while we were on vacation and it just made me want to see it in person even more!

As soon as we got home, the next order of business was sanding and finishing the floor.  We rented a floor sander and lightly sanded the entire thing.  We vacuumed the worst of the dust and then went back over the extra rough spots.  We didn't want to take too much off the wood.  After all, we wanted a lot of character.  We tried to just knock down the spots that would catch on your socks or were so unlevel that little feet might trip on them.

We then vacuumed A LOT and let the dust settle overnight.

The next morning, we vacuumed again and then went over the floor with a light coat of VM&P Naphtha, at the recommendation of our house painters.  That picked up the remaining dust and residue.

After taping off all the edges, we broke out the floor polyurethane.  We used a brush around the edges and a floor applicator on a handle for the rest.   The key was to use a really light coat.  We used the brush to get down into all of the cracks and crevices.

The initial color change was unbelievable.  This was just floor polyurethane, no stain or color involved.  After the first coat dried, we did a second coat, let it dry, and then spot sanded a few places.  We did a third final coat and we were finished!

 After pulling up all the tape and doing a few touchups here and there, I'm really happy with it.  I know it's not for everyone, but I love it.  It's very rough, as far as floors go, it's uneven, there are knotholes and sawmarks and dents and scratches.  But, I think it's perfect for us.  As my kids drop things on the floor and we put our own wear marks on it, it's only going to add to it's beauty.

It's definitely the first thing people notice when they come in our house.  My girls love to tell people that it used to be a floor in a barn and there were probably animals walking on it.  :)


  1. Your floor is beautiful! Floors take a lot of time but are worth the effort. I just did a paper bag floor and it came out pretty well!


  2. I'm seriously in love with your floors! I think they are absolutely perfect! I found your blog through Home Stories A to Z and I'm your newest follower--gotta see more of those beautiful floors!

  3. Thank you! :) I'm anxious to get more projects around our house done so I can share them as well!

  4. Wow, I really love it. It looks fabulous. I'm curious how it compared in price to a "new" wood floor?

    Warmly, Michelle

    1. We priced handscraped floors and to get something that approached this kind of character was in the $13-15 per square foot, and you can't get this look at that price. This came in at about half that price. Of course, then we had a few hundred bucks in poly and renting the sander. Still a huge savings, though.

  5. I refinished hardwood floors before and know what a process that is. Yours are beautiful. What a unique and lovely addition to your home.

  6. Your floors are beautiful and bring so much character! I'm visiting from A to Z. :)
    ~Kim @ Sand & Sisal

  7. Wow, you have my dream floors! They look amazing.

  8. Gorgeous floors! Alot of work, but well worth it. Great job!

  9. Stunning - we've thought about doing this, but were going to "reclaim" the wood ourselves directly from the barn. If I knew they'd turn out like yours, I'd be all about it! So much work, but so worth it!!

    1. You really can't do that. The bottom side of the floor needs to be planed and grooved to get it halfway flat and then you need to be able to mill the tongue and groove. Then it needs to be kiln dried before installation. I can't imagine being able to do that and save enough money to justify the time and effort.

  10. i impressed by your article ,you are doing a very nice job. I really appreciate your work.
    Wood floor restoration

  11. While I personally would have gone with a darker stain to make it a contrast to your light walls, the lighter shade does make it retain how it looked like originally. And I guess you can always go with the dark stain next time for some variety.


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