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Hardwood Floor Facelift

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My husband and I had the opportunity to move into my grandparent’s old house a few years back and we jumped at the chance. I loved this house growing up and am so happy to be making it my home now! As with any house built 60+ years ago, it needed a little updating! When we first moved in I knew I wanted to replace the carpet and was shocked and delighted to learn that the house had gorgeous hardwood floors!  I had no idea!

old and new floor

Goodbye carpet…hello wood floors!

While most of the carpet came up easily, we soon discovered that the entry way and hallway carpet was covering linoleum, which was glued to the wood. Yuck. I knew it would need some serious work so we just left the linoleum down and planned to fix it “some day”. Well, some day turned into about three years of living with old, cracked, gold specked white linoleum. I finally took the plunge last week and pulled it all up! And, here’s what we were left with:

unfinished hardwood floor with glue


unfished floors with glue 2

Our lovely new entry…yuck

This thing needed some serious sanding. Plus, there were still a few spots where the linoleum didn’t come all the way up so I placed wet towels over those spots and after soaking for a while scraped up with a wallpaper scraper.

unfinished hardwood floors long hallways

And yes, that’s a board covering an old floor vent. That’s a project for another day!

Since I didn’t want to completely destroy my body by attempting to sand it all by hand I thought a floor sander might be the best route! I found out Home Depot rents tools out and decided to give it a go!

A few things to note:

  1. Saturday morning is a hot time for tool rentals. Get there early, especially if there’s a chance they’ll rent out what you need! (Call ahead to make sure they’ve got a few items on hand!)
  2. Make sure you have everything you need before you drive 40 minutes home and spend 1.5 hours sanding only to discover you don’t have the pad required and aren’t really sanding at all! (Not that I know anything about that…)
  3. Wear a dust mask!! (I also waited until I knew my asthmatic husband would be out of town before I attempted this project!)

Once we had ALL the necessary items – sander, pad, and sandpaper, things went pretty smoothly!

floor sander

Already making a difference!

Once we reset the project, it took roughly five hours to get the job done. We spent about 45-60 minutes on each section (We divided the entry and hall into about four sections.) My mom and I took turns sanding, trading about every 20 minutes. I won’t say it was particularly hard, just time consuming and you’ll definitely need an occasional break so your body doesn’t feel like it’s going to vibrate itself in two!

Because I need to eventually get around to sanding down the rest of the living room area in order to stain and seal the floor, I knew we would have to go through this process again. Because of that, I didn’t “seal” the entry/hall by sanding with fine grit sandpaper at the end. 5 hours of sanding (plus 1.5 hours of non-working sanding) was enough for me!

unfinished hardwood floors sanding 2


After sanding each section with 60 grain sandpaper, (we used one sheet per section), I used one last sheet to go over the entire area once more. (I used five sheets of sandpaper total). Also, see that blue painter’s tape? The seal over the pipe was almost torn on so we taped it up a bit!

floors 007

See how much dust is on there? This is why you want a dust mask!

Overall I was happy with the results.  Is it perfect? Definitely not! I need a hand sander to get closer to the walls:

sanded floors edges

But, for an evening’s work, and just under $90 (includes sander rental, pad, and sandpaper), I’m happy with my results! This is definitely livable until I have the time to stain and seal the entire living room/entry/hall area!

before and after hallway floors



before and after entry



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