Thursday, 5 February 2015

A bit of spit and polish

So after the minor (kind of major really) issue of the missing floor was fixed, the next step was the actual polishing of the floorboards.  We had played with the idea of hiring the sanding equipment and doing it ourselves - but really that idea only lasted for about 20 milliseconds before I put the kybosh on it.  I could see myself gouging a hole in a board or not getting it straight and having to go over and over the same spots until there were no floor boards left.  We also had no idea if the boards had previously been sanded, and if so how many times - so we weren't sure how much thickness we would have to play with!  So we decided to call in the professionals.

I got a recommendation from a friend (who may soon do a guest post or two about the big extension she will soon be starting for her cottage in North Parramatta - and who also donated a lot of plants to me which I will be writing about soon) for the floors place.  I am always so happy to get a recommendation - just to know that the people will actually turn up, and will do a good job, is such a good start!

When sanding and polishing floors you can get different types of finishes, and of course you can also get stains.  We went for the natural boards and the water based urethane finish, which has less strong odours.  It also dries a bit faster.  We also chose a non gloss finish, as it is my preference not to have the very shiny finish.
Dining room floor before sanding 

Kitchen floor before sanding

Our floors ended up taking two and a half days and then we needed to be off them for another few days.  I timed ours so that the finish was applied before Easter, and we stayed out of the house for a few days and went back in on Easter Monday.  Originally the floors were booked for Wednesday and Thursday, however due to a few setbacks - we hadn't finished removing all the staples for one, and then we had added a step (see picture below, we added a step between lounge room and kitchen) after the original quote, so this added some time  - we ended up getting the first coat on the Wednesday and second coat Thursday and final coat on the Saturday.  Had it been a bit quicker and easier to do the prep I think they would have aimed for two coats on the Wednesday and then final on the Thursday.  Also if you get a stain you have to factor in longer time as that is obviously another coat to apply.

During the sanding process.  We had the step made specially by our carpenter which was an extra expense to sand and polish but is definitely worth while.

More of the during shots.  Pity you can't smell how nice it was!  One thing we should have done was take off the skirting boards prior to sanding, but I guess that is something that we chalk up to experience

I can't remember if this one is during the process or after it was finished.  Possible after, but as you can see we didn't get the glossy finish so it's not too obvious.

The floors smelt amazing during the sanding process - and there were bags of wood shavings.  I wish now I had asked them to leave the shavings, the pine smell was lovely and I could have used in the garden I think.  I was so pleased with how the floors came up, and I continue to be pleased every day.  We are starting to get some scratches and wear and tear, but they still look a lot better than previously.

This is a fairly small shot but it shows how difficult it is to tell the difference between the old and new floor in the kitchen.  To the left of the brown beam was the old floor and to the right (up to that door way and across) is the new.  And it looks exactly the same.  This is the finish for all our floors, just natural colour.
I think it is definitely worth getting done professionally.  Our cost was initially quoted at around $1400 but it did get out a bit more than that, firstly as they had to remove staples for about 2 hours which they charged at $65 per hour, and also because of the step that we had added - so they had to sand all sides.  Final cost ended up being somewhere around $2000 and the total floor area was around 25sqm.  With additional step.  We had no furniture in the house, so not sure if there would be extra costs usually involved for moving furniture etc.

One thing I would suggest that we did not do - if you are going to change skirting boards etc, it would be best to take them off before the sanding.  We still had ours on in the lounge room and then when we did take them off later and put on new ones with a thinner profile, some of the previous stain can be seen around the edges.

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