This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Chrismas letter part 2

I mentioned yesterday that I was featuring home improvements in my annual Christmas letter, and wrote about the rewiring of my old house. The other big home improvement project of the year was ripping out carpet and refinishing floors. In April I had a post about refinishing the downstairs floor. That went so well that we decided to work on the upstairs floors.

A motivation to get going was bulk pick-up in May. What do you do with old carpet? It does not fit nicely into the weekly trash pick ups. So with a May deadline, we ripped out the upstairs carpets and they joined the downstairs carpet on the curb. No scavengers picked any of it up.
 The upstairs carpets were not installed like the downstairs carpet, which had used tacking strips along the edges to hold down the carpet. My guess is that the downstairs carpet was professionally installed. The upstairs carpet was glued down, and my guess is that it was not professionally installed. All that gray stuff you see on the floor is the glue that was left after we ripped out the carpet.
 (They missed a little bit--in this room there was one tiny strip in the middle of the floor that did not have glue.)

I tried my best to scrape up the glue, and I found that hand sanding it took some of it off. But there was still plenty left when we rented the floor sander. What we found to our dismay was that the glue did not sand up nicely. Rather the heat generated by the sander partially liquified the glue and it stuck like bubble gum on the sanding pads. The picture below shows the same room as above either before we started sanding or early in the sanding process.
 Though the area of flooring that we were refinishing upstairs was not greatly larger than what we did downstairs, we had to rent the sander twice. We did two rooms on one day, and then several weeks later did the other room and a hallway. We never got to the point where there was no glue gumming up the sanding pads, and I think we spent more on pads than we did to rent to sander.

Eventually the floor got to the state where we thought it was good enough and we were too tired to continue. Staining it was pretty easy, and so was applying a couple of coats of polyurethane.
Below is the finished product before we moved the furniture back. This floor is in the part of the house that seems to have been added a few years after the other part and the floors boards fit tighter. It was much harder to sand, possibly because the glue could not escape into the cracks.
It is great to have finished the project. I wonder how much of it we would have done if we had started in the room above, which was by far the hardest room to do, instead of ending there.

One other thing in my Christmas letter this year is a brief note on how much fun I had designing maze books that hardly anyone buys. Creating a book is still difficult, but getting it published is now very easy.


Anonymous said...

You both did a beautiful job refinishing the floors, Bob. I also lve your blog!

Anonymous said...

Floors are lovely; I would not have persevered--called in the profe$$ional$.

phil said...

Over the years we have done so much house updates that now I wouldnt even consider doing what you two did so well. I really appreciate the work you had to do. Thanks for sharing the end result looks great


Anonymous said...

You are becoming quite a handy man. Congrats on nice, nice floors.