Adventures in Refinishing Hardwood Floors – We’ve Been There

This summer, Artur and I bought our first home.  We had been looking for over a year and dreaming for more than that.

We knew that any house we bought would need some remodeling. With our budget, Artur’s skills, and what we know about real estate, buying a fixer was the best investment for us.  Plus, we aren’t turn-key kind of people.  We wanted a fixer. In July, we got the keys to our dream fixer.

Refinishing the hardwood floors was at the top of our new-house projects’ list.  Most of the house already had a mix of red and white oak flooring.  It was in amazing shape considering it hadn’t been refinished in at least 15 years. The living room and the kitchen were the only rooms that didn’t have hardwoods.  The living room had some very, shall we say, “dated” green carpet and the kitchen had a mix of hardwood and linoleum.

Kitchen before:

 

Living room before:

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To bring in a more cohesive look to our home, we decided to pull up the carpet and linoleum, install a new mix of red and white oak to match the existing floors in the rest of the house, stain all areas a richer color and finish them with a Swedish Finish.

Here’s the living room mid-carpet removal. (You wouldn’t believe the amount of dirt we found under this carpet despite having been taken care of over the decades, further reinforcing our love of hardwoods.)

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Here’s the kitchen mid-linoleum removal. (Sorry for the blurry picture.)

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After the carpet and linoleum were gone Artur started installing the new wood we had ordered.

NOTE:  Before installing new wood flooring it is very important to store the flooring in your home or installation space for at least a week prior to installing. Wood is very sensitive to moisture and heat and needs to acclimate to the new climate, lowering the risk of warping or bucking after installation.

To begin the installation process, Artur first lays down a moisture barrier.  Then, before nailing down the boards, he sorts them out in a way that looks balanced and nice, both in color variation and board length.  See below.

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Here are photos of the kitchen and living room after the floors have been installed but before staining and finishing.

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The stain we choose was Provincial from Daly’s.  We love how the stain pulls out the character in the wood, ties in the red and white oak, as well as adding a richness to the floors without being too dark.

Here are the floors after being sanded, covered with a layer of filler (always necessary), sanded again, stained and finished with three coats of Swedish Finish.

Living Room – After

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Kitchen – After

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A side-by-side view of the before and after of the kitchen floors:

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A side-by-side of the before and after of the living room floors:

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We love how the floors turned out!  Although we have worked with many many clients as they navigate decisions about their hardwood floors in their own homes, we hadn’t ever gone through that process personally.  After this experience, we now feel that much more knowledgeable and prepared to help our clients as they make decisions regarding their hardwood floors.

Coming soon, more personal experiences from the Project Planeta Remodel and why you should always do your thorough research before hiring a contractor.

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Abracadabra!

After seeing the before and after shots of the job that Artur recently finished at a house in Magnolia, my first thought was, “WOW” and and then, “I’m married to a magician.” Take a look at the before. BeforeThis parquet floor was under some carpet in a bedroom.  Artur knew that there was parquet, but as is often the case when carpet is involved, he did not know of the stain damage and the lack of parquet along the border in this particular corner.  It was kind of a mess.

Normally, parquet comes in pre-made squares which you install section by section rather than installing each short, individual board.  Because Artur wasn’t aware of all of the patching needed on these floors, he hadn’t called around to check on the availability of the pre-made parquet squares in White Oak before starting this job.  As these things can go, none of the distributors in town had any in stock.

Artur had two options.  The first being to order the parquet squares, put the job on hold, inconvenience our client and throw our work schedule out of whack, or hand cut each small board needed to make the parquet squares, piece by piece by piece and then install them piece by piece by piece.  He chose the second (and only real) option — 350+ hand cut pieces of White Oak later, and a lot of patience and attention to detail, the floors were complete. Here is the stunning and beautiful result. After Our clients are very happy and so are we.  This isn’t magic, it’s an example of Artur’s skill, expertise, experience, patience, attention to detail and pride in his work.  It’s one example of why he is considered one of the best wood floor experts in Seattle.

To quote our client, “Wow is an understatement! We are so pleased. You are married to a terrific professional. Of course, you know this.”

Yes, I know this.  Artur is happy someone pointed this out to me in writing, at last!

One more before/after shot. Before 2    After 3

A Tale of Two Species

Artur and I are huge fans of older homes. They ooze character, craftsmanship and are the historical storytellers of our neighborhoods.

We recently worked on a 1909 gem in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. Our clients had us pull up the old carpet and refinish the fantastic hardwoods beneath. We were excited to find that both the living room and dining room floors were composed of two different species of wood. Both had a center square of Douglas Fir with an Oak border. This is a common hardwood flooring layout for homes built during this period in the Pacific Northwest.

Because Douglas Fir was so plentiful in our part of the world, it was more economical to install the majority of the square footage with this wood leaving only the border for the pricier Oak planks.

Wall to wall carpeting didn’t exist in 1909. Instead, people used area rugs, often Persian or Oriental, to decorate their living spaces. These rugs were perfect for covering up the more inexpensive center square of Douglas Fir, leaving only the Oak border showing. So clever and functional, if not a bit deceptive!

See the before and stunning after photos below.

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Wide Board and Sleek Stain in Kirkland Condo

Gallery

This gallery contains 10 photos.

This winter we had the exciting opportunity to help transform a lovely condo in Kirkland into a beautiful modern living space.  The new owners wanted to rip out all of the carpet and American Cherry hardwoods on all three levels, install new 5″ … Continue reading

Client Happiness

We love making our clients happy! We love even more when our clients share their contentment with us.

Here’s a note from our recent clients, Julie and Dennis in Kirkland. We refinished their oak hardwoods in three bedrooms, a hallway, living room and dining room.

“Thank you for being so dedicated and passionate. We are so pleased with the work performed–thank you thank you. You take your trade/craft to a whole new level, a level of service that is truly hard to find.”

What makes this even sweeter is that Julie and Dennis have remodeled several homes in different states. They have plenty of experience with contractors. We are so happy that they were pleased with our work and their entire expreience with us.

Patching The Pet Pee Stains

Sometimes when a client calls us to come over and look at some floors that they want refinished we find some unexpected surprises hidden on the ares of the floors that have been coverd by carpet or rugs. Often these surprises come in the form of unpleasant pet pee stains. Unfortunately, no amount of sanding can eliminate these stains. In comes the art of patching. Except in extreme cases, we generally do not have to replace the entire floor and can fix the stained areas by patching the damaged areas. Artur skillfully pulls up the damaged boards and installs and blends in new boards. See the photos below for an example of a floor stained with pet pee and how Artur resolved the problem with patching.

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Customer Service

The top priority for Planeta Works is customer satisfaction.  We want our customers to be satisfied with our work, our service and our prices.  We are very proud to share the following review a recent client posted which reflects the importance we put on happy clients.  Thank you Jenn for  publishing this review on Yelp.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/planeta-works-shoreline