Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Installing Kitchen Hardwood Floors to Match the Dining Room

The floors are finally installed, sanded, stained and urethaned!

Let me take you on our journey...

Two weeks ago we finally were prepared enough with the electrical and drywall to move onto installing the floors.  Ok, it was less that we were ready and more that my dad was ready to come down with his tools and help install the floor.  I have installed 3 floors previously with my father so I know more or less what to expect when it comes to these things.  Lucky to have the experience and a dad with all the tools we could ever need.
 Here is what I will call the "calm before the storm" aka the night before my mom, dad and brother arrived.  When they got into town the next morning, we first began the prep work: removing the old felt, replacing a floor board that had broken, re-nailing down the floor boards and rolling out new felt.  Let me elaborate on the re-nailing effort.  Some nails needed nailed in as they had come up a bit and as we did this we realized more nails were popping up.  They were not secure anymore.  This can cause squeaky floors.  So, we went to Home Depot, grabbed a box of nails and went to work hammering new nails close enough to the old ones so that the new head would press down on the old head.  Tedious work.
Josh and I had bought enough oak to cover the kitchen plus 5% two weeks prior in order for it to get acclimated to our house.  While laying the floor, the men were afraid that we would run out of wood, so the women (my mother and I) were sent to Home Depot to go get another bundle.  We had just enough wood without the new bundle to finish the last row.  A board or two could have been taken from the new bundle of wood....but what would we do with the rest of it?  Since the final 5 rows or so would be under the cabinets anyways, we used scrap wood to finish it off.  Talk about no waste, the photo below shows how little leftover wood we had.
Once the floors were laid (I know, I was very bad at documenting this process via photo) we covered them up with cardboard and packing paper.  Josh and my dad spackled the next two days.  We wanted to get the walls primed and the ceiling finished before proceeding to finishing the floor.  By the time I got the camera out, the floors were covered with cardboard and spackling dust.
But not to worry, I held off on this post to show ya'll the final results  :)   One week later, the priming and ceiling painting was finished and sanding commenced.

Along with installing new hardwoods in the kitchen, we refinished the old ones in the dining room to match.  They definitely needed to be re done.
We rented a large sander for Saturday night and Sunday.  Spent all day Sunday sanding both rooms.  Used 35 grit on the floors until they were down to where we wanted them, then did a couple rounds with 80 and 100 grit.  During the 35 grit fiasco (sanding took forever) we found that added weight on the sander was very effective in removing more material.
Josh's friend Bobby came over to join in on the fun.  I caught them in the act.  Standing on the sander for too long caused loss of feeling in ones we kept switching on and off.  While the boys were working with the big sander, I used the palm sander around the edges.  Did you know Home Depot doesn't sell anything tougher than 60 grit?  I had to use leftovers from the floor sander on the palm sander or else that old urethane was never going to come up!
So we sanded....

 And sanded...
Until the urethane was gone, the boards in the kitchen were even, and the transition stopped looking so noticeable.

 Snoops was not impressed.

Once the floors were all sanded down nicely, vacuumed and wiped with a damp towel, it was stain time!
Kitchen lady told us to go with gun stock as the stain color.  I trust kitchen lady.  Or so I tell myself to trust her because I don't know what I would do otherwise.  At 10PM though, I was highly skeptical of her choice of stain color.  Did you know that gun stock has a tint of red to it?
 I surely didn't.  And at 10 at night, I was not amused with how blood red our entire kitchen looked.  Red Walls + Red Floors is not a good look.  Josh encouraged me to keep going by saying it looked fine.  With him being color blind I am skeptical about these opinions..but I needed some cheering up.
It was funny, because I would be looking straight down and staining and think "oh, this color doesn't look so bad now"  then I would look up across the whole floor and think "oh my gosh why is this stain so red?!?!".  And even more interesting is how non-red the stain looks in these photos.
 Does it look red here?
 What about here?  Not sure if it is the lighting or the red walls that bring out the red in the floors, but I can tell that the old floor has less of that red tint than the new floor.
Luckily the red tint grew on me or became less potent when it dried and we put the urethane on.  Speaking of urethane, we applied 3 coats and just finished up tonight.  Here are some shots of the floor nice and shiny.

I know, photo overload..  Can you tell I am proud of the floor?

A few pointers for those doing this at their own homes:

  • Blow the fumes out of the room with a window fan
  • Keep the bedroom door closed with a towel in it and the window open and you will have no fumes
  • Take the dog to doggie daycare so they aren't exposed to the fumes all day and they will be completely tired when they come home
  • Put the dog into the bedroom before urethaning each night
  • Sand between coats

Up next is waiting for the floor to dry and installing cabinets, plumbing and ventilation for the hood.  And with that, I will sign off for the night with my urethane get-up.  Be safe; don't breathe in any fumes  :)

P.S. I realize I never showed the transition area of the kitchen vs. dining room.  Quite important since this was the goal of the whole project  :)
 If you really look for it, you can tell that the wood is not the same.  The kitchen took on more of a lighter red color while the dining room (existing) took on more of a deeper dark brown.  I like the existing wood color better...which is good because I think we will stick with the gunstock stain color when refinishing the rest of the floors in the house.
 Looking from dining to kitchen, you can see that the kitchen is lighter.  The lighting also plays a part here though because we have more lights in the kitchen.
Looking from kitchen to dining the difference isn't as easy to tell mostly from the glare.  Overall I would say we matched pretty well and no  one would be able to tell offhand unless we pointed it out to them or they knew what to look for.

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