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Renewing Our Hardwood Floor

Updated on May 12, 2014

Our Journey Begins

This is going to be a lens about what my husband did to renew our hardwood floor. My husband refuses to pay anyone to do anything. He figures that he can pretty much figure out anything himself, especially when you take a close look at some of the people you hire to fix things for you.

In 2002, my husband and I bought a small Rambler that was originally built in 1952. When we first bought the house, there was carpet throughout. After we'd lived in it for a couple of years, my husband and I both thought that we probably had hardwood floors underneath the carpet in 3/4 of the house. We thought, if we uncovered it, we'd be able to give our home more value. We took the plunge and ripped up the carpet. We found what we thought we would, but you won't believe the shape it was in. This is how we renewed it.

Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

Linoleum Glue - Before

Linoleum Glue - BeforePhoto Copyright Shari O'Leary
Linoleum Glue - Before Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

Linoleum Glue - After

Linoleum Glue - AfterPhoto Copyright Shari O'Leary
Linoleum Glue - After Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

How It Was Done

So we started with pulling up the carpet in our hallway and family room. What we first saw was that half the floor in the family room had linoleum glue stuck to it, and the other half was painted white. We also saw that two sections had been removed and replaced with plywood. Yikes! We had our work cut out for us alright. The amazing thing was that it only took us about a week to finish the project. My husband had some vacation time, so we used that time to finish our job.

The first thing we did was remove all the carpet staples. Why the former tenant didn't use tacks I have no idea. Remember, we had carpeting throughout the house when we bought it. The next thing we had to do was remove the linoleum glue. We tried using a sander, but that used way to much sandpaper. We had no choice but to use a scraper and some razor blades to remove it.

The next step was removing the white paint on the other half. That wasn't so bad, we just rented a sander and sanded it off. Once we removed the white paint, the next step was sanding the whole thing. We ended up renting the sander for the weekend. About 6 hours of work a day later, the entire floor was sanded. The final step was buying and applying stain and sealer. Two coats of stain and two coats of sealer later, we had beautiful, red oak, hardwood floors. We couldn't really do anything about the two sections that had plywood, so we just bought two rugs and covered them up. The results were amazing! Although, it only took us a week, it was by no means easy. If you have the money, and you're not as stubborn as my husband, you might want to hire someone to do it for you. On the other hand, if you want something you can be proud of at the end, you might want to do what we did.

Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

Before - White Paint

Before - White PaintPhoto Copyright Shari O'Leary
Before - White Paint Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

After - White Paint

After - White PaintPhoto Copyright Shari O'Leary
After - White Paint Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

Hardwood Floor Facts

Hardwood floors were standard in houses built in the 1950s. Just about every house at the time had them. Hardwood floors are very sturdy and wonderful to look at. Any house with a decent hardwood floor in it has extra value.

Nowadays, you can buy Laminates that look like actual hardwood flooring, but if you ask me, there's no substitute for a real hardwood floor. I look at mine every day and marvel at it's beauty, and what we made out of the mess we started with.

Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

Before - General

Before - GeneralPhoto Copyright Shari O'Leary
Before - General Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

After - General

After - GeneralPhoto Copyright Shari O'Leary
After - General Photo Copyright Shari O'Leary

Maintainence And Installation

Here's some items that will help you install and maintain your hardwood floor.

Visitor's Comments

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    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      Bravo on a job well done. I am always shocked to see what people do to their beautiful wood floors.

    • profile image

      kepezzo 4 years ago

      Well, I am also I can do it on my own guy, but just sometimes it would be better to leave things to professionals.....Nevertheless, nice job on your hardwood floors.

    • profile image

      badgebeast 5 years ago

      I have a tremendous amount of respect for how much work you must have put in to get the floors looking so good, removing the linoleum glue from the flooring must have been a massive task in itself. I also admire your husbands can do attitude, i too much prefer to learn to do something myself, not only do you get the satisfaction of doing it yourself but you also pick up valuable new skills.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You two really did do an amazing job! I couldn't believe how much of a difference you made. Hardwood flooring just looks so gorgeous, my in-laws have it as well. Thanks a ton for the lens!!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      You two did an amazing job on your floors. Lots of work, but it was only a short time and now you can enjoy the beauty of the hardwood floors. Great job!

    • profile image

      anismanto 5 years ago

      You're creative. And I like the your husband's attitude: "My husband refuses to pay anyone to do anything." A self-maintaining person that transform age old hardwood floor into contemporary flooring.

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @ArmchairBuilder1: Thank you! We were pretty proud of ourselves when we finished it. I'm glad you liked the lens as well.

    • ArmchairBuilder1 profile image

      ArmchairBuilder1 5 years ago

      Great job! (lens and the floor) The finished product turned out great!

    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      I am on the same position as your husband is- still we didn't renew the whole floor but the whole house! It was not just useful- but also fun!

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

      I've been thinking about taking the plunge on doing this myself. I think I'll wait a while longer - but its on my list!

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      Your floor turned out beautifully! My hardwood floors are starting to look a bit battered and scarred... a refinish will be next year's project!

    • profile image

      dream1983 5 years ago

      Interesting lens, nice info!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      Kudos to your husband for a job well done. Sanding and refinishing wood floor is a major chore, but very rewarding when all is said and done. Thanks for sharing.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Pat yourselves on the back for the challenging task you took on and completed! Great lens. Stubborn husbands make the floors go round most of the time :)

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. Well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      it is a great job, thanks for the Info

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      My DH is like yours, a total DIYer. He sanded and refinished our 1950s bedroom floor last spring. This year he plans to refinish the rest of the hardwood floors all at once. I hate carpeting and love real wood, not laminate. Thanks for sharing your wood floor adventure.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks, I need to renew my hardwood floor.

    • profile image

      PaulRyan 6 years ago

      An interesting read as I'm about to buy my own place, so it's good to learn about other's experiences with problems such as this. In a way, I'm excited, but also hope the problems aren't too big.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      For us, it isn't as much about the money as it is about not wanting anyone else in our home to cover every inch of it. literally. I just don't like strangers in my home :) I do love hardwood floors and we are also do-it-yourselfers :) Most excellent!

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

      we are looking to fix up the floors before selling our house, thanks for the tips.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 6 years ago

      I am going to be doing something similar to this in my house - we are going to be pulling up our carpet. The carpet is so dirty - I just need to see it gone. Wish us luck!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Gorgeous job and fantastic lens on refinishing hardwood floors

    • profile image

      TotalHouseHold_com 6 years ago

      wow, amazing job! and it's great that you took all these photos along the way - you can really see the progress and finished product.

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @TotalHouseHold_com: When I took the pictures I wasn't expecting to make a lens out of the experience. You can see why we're so proud of ourselves though.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome, my parents really need to redo their flooring, but they don't seem to have the time. It seems like this coming summer I might be helping them do it. This step by step tutorial should help.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 6 years ago

      Your right hardwood floors do look much better. Some pinhead carpeted over the hardwood floors in my house with staples too.

    • profile image

      DevandElizabeth 6 years ago

      Thanks for the Info

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      wow, very good lens, I'll have to save this site for later, we have hardwood floors too.

    • profile image

      ivycater 6 years ago

      Wow, it is a great job, I want ot change the hardwood flooring in my room, but I don't know how to do it myself, now I got it! Thanks for your post!

      CCTV camera

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fab share for the power of perseverance! Self help is the best help indeed. :)

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @MyCrazyAdventures: Thank you for the blessing!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You have done a great job. As we have done this ourselves, we know exactly what is entailed.

    • MyCrazyAdventures profile image

      Melissa 6 years ago from Albuquerque, NM

      You can always remove the plywood and put down old flooring you find elsewhere.

      Helpful, detailed lens blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      pamadra 6 years ago

      Restoring old houses is something that I really want to do in a few years when I retire from the military. Tell your husband great job on the floor.Thanks for the great lens.

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: Yes you did. We covered the two plywood sections with area rugs, and put furniture on top of them. Depending on where your section of plywood is, you might not be able to do that. We were lucky, one of our sections was at the end of the room, and the other one was off to the side.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Did I miss the part about how you dealt with the plywood sections? I have discovered one of these in my house too.

    • profile image

      phservices 6 years ago

      It is not enough that you hire the best flooring contractor in your area so that you will have a beautiful and quality hardwood flooring. We also have to know a thing or two on how to properly maintain the shine as well as evenness of our flooring for many years to come ( - for example) . While some opt to make us of linoleum or concrete, other still prefer to have wood flooring which is pleasing to the eyes and gives the entire household a more earthy feel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, it is a great job, I want ot change the hardwood flooring in my room, but I don't know how to do it myself, now I got it! Thanks for your post!

    • profile image

      Linda_J 6 years ago

      The old adage âwhat once was old is new again,â definitely applies to your old wood floors that were in such desperate need of attention. Impressive restoration! How long did the entire process take? - Linda @ Floor Scrubbers

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow! What a great job you did on that floor. That stain color looks beautiful. We did the same thing in our living room. It was more than 10 years ago and I can still remember what a hassle it was. But we were so proud when we finished.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Very nice. My hat is off to you both. We paid a floor contractor to do our 1926 house. The floors look nice, but he broke a window and our floor heater, which cost a lot to fix. Of course, I didn't realize this until after I paid (and tipped) him. He even left a toilet on our curb. What a creep! We have one more room to do, and I'm inspired by you to try it myself.

    • profile image

      theclickfactory 7 years ago

      The pictures are like a nightmare. Well I stay in India and I feel that polished concrete floor could really be good. But in cold countries it's just a no no. when the concrete grinding is done accurately. I think it just works great.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wow, nice color! The panel arrangement looks good too! It's doesn't look like you had a hard time at all! I wish you luck with tiling the next rooms and the whole house in general. Tile stores usually give discounts around this time of the year so I suggest you buy now! Don't hesitate to go to other tile stores! Tampa, Florida has a lot of them! When I was tiling up my bathroom, I've been out all day, looking for a good bargain!

    • MissBuffySpears profile image

      MissBuffySpears 7 years ago

      Wow the new floor looks great! We are wanting to do our wood floor so I will come back here for help :)

    • Yourshowman LM profile image

      Yourshowman LM 7 years ago

      Good One

    • adwanco profile image

      adwanco 7 years ago

      Professional job.I do flooring sales and this is a well done job.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Good work. We did this as well in our house and it was hard work stripping it. But when we finished, the floor had much more character.

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 7 years ago

      How spooky is this. We have just decided to renew our hardwood floor too. Bewildering choice of wood types in B&Q here in the UK though.

    • profile image

      herbanjean 7 years ago

      Wow! I contacted you about which paypal account to set up for my lens. Then I looked at your hardwood floor article. You won't believe this but we just bought a 1957 rambler, with guess what! Hardwood floors under all the carpet! We have yet to rip out carpet and redo the floors but it will come. You did an amazing job. Our floors are in pretty good shape. After your restoration my floors look like a piece of cake. Nice job!

    • renee7 profile image

      renee7 7 years ago

      What an amazing transformation. You did a really nice job restoring your hardwood floors. Nice lens.

    • garyrh1 profile image

      garyrh1 8 years ago

      I absolutely love hardwood floors, mainly because they are better for allergies and don't get dust and other junk underneath them. Anyway, I recommend getting bamboo flooring. You can find it pretty cheap (and it comes in a ton of designs). Also, it is environmentally friendly since you aren't cutting down trees and bamboo grows back rather quickly.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Wow, the floor turned out amazing! Very good job, you must be really proud of your handy-work! That floor is just... gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! Feel free to visit me :)

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 8 years ago

      Nice work here on the floor and the article.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      What a wonderful job you have done restoring your hardwood floors.

      I love the hardwood floors in my 1830's house in Vermont. They are easy to clean and don't show the dirt like the white tiles in my Florida 1980s house.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      We just torn up our carpet last night! We had no idea what shape we'd find the original hardwood in. Fortunately, aside from a few little surface stains and some small gouges needing repair, they're in great shape! A little cleaning and polishing, and I think we'll be good to go. Thanks for the information on your project- very helpful indeed!

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 8 years ago

      Very Nice! We just moved into a fixer-upper. It's really The Money Pit. Hope to start our hardwood floors soon. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Carpet. Yuck! Bring on the hardwood floors. We do a lot of our own stuff, too. Feels so good to step back and look at a completed project! ...Congratulations on your Giant Squids Summer School graduation. :)

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 8 years ago from Lancaster PA

      And getting rid of carpet cuts out all the allergens that come with carpet!!

      Great lens--did you ever figure out what kind of wood that is in your house??

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 8 years ago from Concord VA

      Vicky's old house has hardwood floors as well, but weren't covered with anything, thank goodness. So far they have only had to give them a good waxing and they look great! Eventually they will refinish them, but doubt they'll take on that challenge themselves. It is definitely rewarding when you work hard and see great results though! Great job on the floors and great lens! 5* and lensrolled back at you! (Thanks for the nice comments about my wolf lens.)

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      Wow - awesome job! Hardwood floors are on my "fantasy list" right now; I think they are absolutely beautiful (they also cut down tremendously on allergens :o) 5* for a nice lens - and two thumbs up for tackling such a monster project!


    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 9 years ago from Canada

      My husband loves doing work about the house although we live in a 1980s house so the jobs he takes on are different than yours! He is working on finishing half of the basement right now. I applaud your taking on such a difficult project!


    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Wasn't the sweat equity worth it in the end?

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 9 years ago

      What a shame that they covered up all that nice hardwood. It sure looks pretty now!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 9 years ago

      Hard to believe anyone would commit such desecration on a gorgeous hardwood floor. :-( Kudos to you and hubby for restoring its glory!

    • profile image

      Sojourn 9 years ago

      Sounds like loads of work but they came out beautifully! Nice job!