Last Updated on April 7, 2021 by Kristi Linauer
My floors are finished! The finished floors exceeded my expectations, and I think it’s because of that poly/stain combo coat that I added to even out the color on the floor. I’m so glad I learned that trick! I’ll definitely be putting that tip to use in the future.
But first, if you missed the first part of this floor refinishing project, you can click here to read about it…
And you can click here for the products and process I used…
Anyway, let’s take a look, shall we?
Here’s the entryway and living room floor…
The photos make the finish look much more reflective than it is in person. It’s really a true satin finish, so it does reflect light, but it’s not shiny.
And here’s a closer view of the area under the windows. It think the poly/stain coat, and the final poly topcoat, really evened out the finish quite nicely. There’s still some variation, but once the room is furnished and decorated, I don’t think anyone will notice. And the color variations kind of blend in with the sheen variations with the light reflecting off of the finish, so it’s not really noticeable.
I wish y’all could see it in person. It’s so pretty! And just for kicks, let’s remember how this room/floor looked when we bought the house…
Yeah. Wow. 😀 And these are the original floors that were hidden underneath that green carpet. When I pulled up the carpet, the floors looked like this…
Yikes! That’s orange! But now, here’s the same corner with the new floor color, as well as the doorway from the living room to the kitchen.
That was then…
And this is now…
Here’s the view into the hallway. I don’t have a light in the hallway right now, so it’s very dark. But I wanted to show you how the floor turned out in the doorway between the music room and the hallway…
When we bought the house, that doorway was much narrower (by about 18 inches or so)…
So I widened the doorway…
…and then had to patch the floor. I only had two short pieces of old floor boards left over, so I had to mix old and new.
That was at the end of 2015, so for over a year, I’ve been wondering and anxiously waiting to see if that patch job would actually look good once it was refinished. I’m so relieved to see how it turned out!!
And then I had another patch job in this hallway during the bathroom remodel when I removed the small hallway closet, and then moved/widened the bathroom doorway.
But as you can see, it also turned out beautifully. Wood filler, stain, and polyurethane are miracle workers!
Sorry it’s so dark. I really need to get a light installed in this hallway!
And then this transition from the kitchen to the living room (kitchen on bottom, living room on top) also turned out nicely.
I was concerned about this one for two reasons. First, this is the most visible spot where the new floor and the old floor meet. The living room floor is part of the original hardwood floor that’s almost 70 years old. The kitchen floor is only two years old. Both are red oak, but the original floor in its raw state had a more red tone to it, while the kitchen floor had a more pink/orange tone to it. But also, this was another patch job. This doorway wasn’t originally here, and even when I remodeled my kitchen, it wasn’t there.
It wasn’t until a year later (September 2015) that I decided to add an opening between the living room and kitchen.
Which meant cutting out the base plate that was under that portion of the wall…
…and patching more floor…
Yeah. That was rough looking. (And orange!) Once again, wood filler to the rescue. 🙂
You can see that same transition in the bottom right corner of this photo. It’s not perfect, but I’m amazed at how good it looks, and how consistent the color is!
And here’s the view from the other direction, going from the living room to the kitchen. Interestingly, my kitchen floor, which is only two years old, turned out the splotchiest of all. I have no idea what the issue is with that floor, but the finish just would not smooth out like it did on the old floor.
The old floor is definitely much prettier than the new floor, but when you’re actually in and walking through the house, it’s not as noticeable. It all just kind of blends together as a beautiful backdrop for everything that will go into these rooms. But even splotchy and uneven, the current floor is 1000% better than what was originally in the kitchen. Remember the old asbestos tiles with the really rough pine boards underneath?
Wow. That seems like a lifetime ago!
And then finally, the breakfast room and pantry. Here’s the view from the kitchen to the breakfast room.
That is where this doorway on the left used to be. That doorway was originally an exterior door that went out onto an open, exterior breezeway that connected the house to the garage. At some point the breezeway was enclosed, but the doorway remained.
And there was a thick wood threshold in that doorway, and about a two-inch step down into what’s now the breakfast room. So a few months ago, I had new concrete poured to raise the floor in this room so that the finished floor would be level with the ktichen. (This room is the only room in the house that sits on a concrete slab. Everything else is a pier and beam foundation.)
And then my brother and I installed a plywood subfloor…
And I installed new red oak hardwood floor on top of that.
And after living here for three years with a two-inch flooring height difference between the kitchen and breakfast room, we finally had a level floor
And now it looks like it’s always been that way.
It’s amazing to me that just a few short months ago, this floor looked like this, with cracked concrete, asbestos tiles, and a 2-inch step down from the kitchen…
…and now it looks like this…
So just to recap, these are all red oak hardwood floors. The hallway, music room, entryway, and living room are all original (almost 70 years old). The kitchen was installed two years ago, and the breakfast room and pantry were installed about three or four months ago.
I payed to have the floors sanded, but I didn’t hire floor specialists. I just hired the guys that do random work around the house for me (e.g., drywall, installing doors, etc.). So they did a good job, but probably not as good as an actual hardwood floor pro would have done. But they were also a fraction of the price. 😀
Then I conditioned the wood using Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner, and stained the wood using a 50/50 mix of Minwax Dark Walnut and Special Walnut. (More details on that process here.)
To even out the finish and darken it a bit more, I gave the stain overnight to dry, and then I applied a stain/polyurethane mix. (More details on that process here.) I used an 8:1 poly/stain ratio. The polyurethane I used was Minwax Super Fast Drying Polyurethane For Floors in a satin finish, and I used the same 50/50 stain mix that I had used to stain the floors. I applied this coat with an applicator pad on an extension pole, and smoothed it out with a large quality paint brush (a 3-inch Purdy) also attached to an extension pole so that I could do everything standing up. That coat darkened the finish just a bit, and also added some beautiful richness to the color.
And then after that was dry (I think I gave it about ten hours), I added one final coat of polyurethane (plain poly, no stain). I applied that with a paint roller on an extension pole, and smoothed out the rolled-on poly with the same 3-inch paint brush on an extension pole as I went along. It actually went pretty fast — MUCH faster than the staining process.
It was a lot of work, but so worth it to get rid of the orange that these floors had before.
I know some people say that hardwood floors, regardless of the color, will read as a neutral so you don’t really have to consider the color in your decorating. Well, I strongly disagree with those people. 🙂 I’m so glad to be rid of the orange floors, and to now have beautiful, rich brown floors instead.
Now I just need to learn to use drop cloths. 🙂
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!