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. :)