The downstairs floors are finished.
We deliberated over a color for days, but ultimately went with Dark Walnut. It’s perfect.
We’re moving in next week, people.
I’ve said many times before, the woodwork was one of the main things that sold me on this house. But by “woodwork” I mean the trim – baseboards, door casings & headers… Truth is, I was never too sure about the floors. We knew we had hardwood everywhere, but with the house abandoned for almost 10 years they were so dirty (and some covered up with carpet) that it was hard to see what was there.
As with everything, though, we wanted to save what we could and we really thought we’d be able to save all the wood floors. Sadly, the downstairs wood couldn’t be saved (you can read Floors, part 1 for more on that). But, luckily, the upstairs floors were salvageable.
One big surprise about the house was what good condition the upstairs floors were in. It’s really astonishing given the stories we’ve heard (and evidence we found) about the roof leaking for years (decades?), to the point that the ceiling was almost totally rotted out and you could see daylight through the ceiling & roof.
These were the ceilings in the upstairs landing when we bought the house. Just a little reminder of how much water had come in…we also had a nice family of raccoons living up there, too.
Somehow, these old pine floors survived all that and, just last week, All Star Hardwood Flooring worked some serious magic and brought them back to life.
Here are a few “before” pics I took, the day before they came. The floors were about as clean as they’d been since we bought the house. So this was truly a best-case “before” photo shoot.
And now, the “after” shots. Because pine can get splotchy when stained, we went with a natural finish which meant we didn’t get to pick a color. The finish just brought out the natural tones and variation in the wood. So it is a little more amber in some places, more yellow in others, and more brown in some spots.
Honestly, it doesn’t look anything like I thought it would. And I love it even more than I thought I would.
As I write this, they are sanding the downstairs hardwoods which are new oak floors and will be stained a medium-dark brown. I’m convinced they’ll be showstoppers, too, but won’t have nearly the personality of the upstairs floors.
Downstairs floors are set to be done early next week. Then, as far as interior stuff goes, we’ll be down to finish trim, a final punch list, and a top-to-bottom cleaning.
We scheduled movers, but I’m not going to share the date yet for fear of jinxing it.
I’m not superstitious, but not taking any chances.
There are a lot of things we haven’t been able to save in this house, but we’ve always tried to repair and restore rather than replace.
When we bought the house and pulled up the carpet, we thought the downstairs hardwood floors could be saved. But then we learned just how dry and brittle they were…and that there was no subfloor underneath them. In the dining room, the floors started to break in some spots, and we had to cut some holes in them to do the basement work.
So we realized we’d have to replace the dining room floors…
And then we realized we’d have to replace the living room floors, too…
But we thought the entry floors could be saved…until we found out that there were hundreds of nails that had been driven into them over the years – probably to silence squeaky boards. Driving the nails down deeper split the boards…pulling the nails up split the boards…
So we realized we’d have to replace the floors in the entry and downstairs bedroom/gameroom, too.
So that’s how we ended up with all new oak hardwood floors downstairs.*
It wasn’t exactly what we had planned, but they sure are gonna be pretty.
*This is the unfinished hardwood flooring. It will be stained to match the woodwork and mimic the old hardwoods. The stairs and upstairs hardwoods will stay original and be refinished.