Monday, January 9, 2012

Wood Floor Redo (and maybe some tiling, too!)

When we bought our house, the front room was carpeted in robins egg blue carpet. After we painted the same coloured walls, we ripped that crap out. It took a bit of work but not too much. We had to remove all of the little nails and staples, and clean it up really nice, but in the end the floor was in decent shape. Decent enough that we could live with its flaws, anyways :)

a reminder of what it was before
Greg decided it was time to do the floors when we had some out of town houseguests for a few weeks. I'm not sure why he thought that would be a good time to do it, but hey who am I to argue, he was the one paying for it all :)

Here are some before pictures:

where once there was a strip of carpet nailed to the floor, now stands a stain of brown

the floor finish from many years ago was very uneven/nonexistent in areas

the scones on the wall make no sense at all. what up with that crappy placement?

oh blue tile, how I have loathed you for three years...

First, Greg ripped out the blue tile from the front door. Under it was matching red tile from our den. under that was a second sub floor. Greg took it down to the main floorboards and put in a new sub floor. We hoped this would bring the tiles level with the hardwood (the tiles had been quite high up before, but it had been level with the carpet.)

Next, Greg took down the panelling. I told him that if he wrecked that panelling I would divorce him (I've used this threat before and each time I do it gets less threatening for some reason! ha ha). Luckily for him it came down easily. We were always a bit frightened as to what sort of Gerard-esque wiring was going on back there and now we know. It seems there was a fake fireplace there are one point (we'd suspected as much due to some wear on the floor in the shape of a mantle and hearth) that was panelled over. I think those sconces had been on each side of the "chimney" and when they took that part down they kept the sconces because they liked them and they matched the chandelier. Anyways, there was a wire who had a trench dug through the drywall, that came out at the bottom and got plugged into a wall socket. Check out this amazing wiring work:

look u can see the fireplace! Not sure what that top hole was ever for. the wire trench is a nice touch. the wire was stapled into place.
Because there were holes cut in the panelling for the sconces, we covered them up with a sweet painting we got at an estate sale. In fact I think it is this painting purchase that spurred Greg to want to do the floors. In any case, the panelling went back up, greg moved the sconces over, and made a proper wire box for them in the wall. Now there is a switch we flick to turn them on and I don't worry about fires as much.

apparently this is paris. if so it matches out panelling theme. can u see the switch box over by the wall?
Next up was the wood floor. We rented a floor sander from Home Depot. We just needed the one sander that I can't remember it's name, as there really was no finish on the floors at all to sand off.

greg was so happy to have his picture taken, as usual.

This took way less time than I thought it would. We put I think 6 coats of Varathane on the floors afterwards. We used the low sheen kind as the room is quite large and sunny and we didn't want to get blinded by a high sheen finish. Also high sheen shows wear more and we have two babies now. We also did not use a tint at all, we wanted the floors to show the natural wood colour as much as possible.

you can still see the brown stains a tiny bit but they are WAY less noticeable than before.

shiny happy floorboards

the room has a much more "finished" feel to it.
Next up was the tiling.
This was the first time Greg ever tiled anything and he gets an A- for his efforts! We bought tiles at Lowes, in a pinwheel white ceramic tile pattern. We thought we might use these in a bathroom but they are really wall times and so I'm not sure how much use they can really take. We don't really use this door ever so we're not worried about wear and tear. There are a few spots where you can see the squares of tile, so this is why Greg gets the A- not the A+ :) It also, happily, fits flush with the floor so there is no fear of stubbed toes any longer!!! Yeay!!

all done!

look at how level that is!!
The last thing to do was to replace our old door. It was a wood one with a brass and glass window. It wasn't a bad door, just totally not our style:
sold this sucker on Kijiji
Our neighbour had their original door on their house and greg and I always said we would ask them for it. One day we got back from some errands and they had a new door strapped to the roof of their car. We asked for the old one and of course they gave it to us! Joy! They have a big poodle and he'd done some pretty deep scratches on it but Greg sanded them down and we repainted the door. It doesn't fit the best ever so we have to do some weather stripping on it but it looks so much better than the old one! Plus we got a little friend for the front:)

welcome to my home

sweet original handle. greg polished it up.

knock knock. who's there? squirrel.
So that's about it for the front room floor redo! It took us 3 years of complaining to finally do it and now that it's done, we are very happy :) I love the new tiles best of all. The blue ones were the last remaining evidence of the nasty colour the front room used to be. PEACE OUT BLUE TILE!!

Oh I almost forgot, I wanted to share our giant awesome mirror we got at the Bentley Flea Market and the mirror greg made:

this is made from 6 mirror squares. it was behind the shelves in the bar that was in our basement, which we ripped out. this was too cool to throw out!

the heaviest mirror known to man, complete with seagulls.


  1. Your house reminds me a lot of mine; I too have wood floors that are stained and need refinishing. Seeing how great yours look after taking the time to refinish them has given me a little "push" to tackle that job soon -- hopefully this summer.

    Love that new front door!

  2. thanks jen! I love my door too :) As for the floors, it was intimidating. But its one of those things you just have to jump in and do! Good luck with yours :)

  3. Hi! I am OBSESSED with your ship mirror! It's incredible! Do you have any other knowledge about where it came from? Who made it? Thanks!

    1. look what I found!

  4. Thanks!! I know nothing about the mirror unfortunately. The guy who lived here recycled a greatany things so who knows where and when he got this!!!

  5. That sander looks like something even 4'10" tall me could navigate. Is that an orbital sander?

  6. Wow! What a beautiful job you guys did! This really makes me want to quit putting off redoing our horrible foyer. I love all of the touches that you did and what a score on the door! And hello, that squirrel door knocker is fabulous!

    1. do your foyer! you'll feel so much better once you're done :)

  7. we have a thing for squirrels around here :)

  8. LOVE IT! I have a 1959 Ranch that had wall to wall carpet. We ripped it all up and the floors, like yours, were in great shape having never seen the light of day. We have lived like this for a year now, but with two drooling dogs and an idiot cat, we need to probably light sand and seal them so they don't get ruined. Thanks for sharing this. LOVE your tile as well! And I am totally looking for a credenza like yours for my living room...

    1. Thanks!! Honestly the floor didn't take much time at all. Way less work than I was expecting. We have two idiot cats and two babies so that's what really kicked our butts into gear :) we got the credenza at Value Billage (Savers in the USA I believe?)

  9. You’ve clearly done a lot of work to your home, but I’m sure all your efforts will pay off in time. Installing a wooden floor is a very wise decision. It is proven that a well-maintained wooden floor would last for years. Here’s a tip on how to keep your wooden floor at its best. Do not mop your floor too often. Water seeps in through the wood. That would make your floor look dull and faded. Dry towels are a better cleaning option.

    Kathy Carbone

  10. Amazing wood floor redo, by the way from where did you bought that wallpaper? it is looking nice.

    1. Thanks! The wallpaper is really wood panelling. I've never seen it anywhere else. They definitely don't make stuff like that anymore! We thought it was wallpaper too until we bought the house and started painting the other walls.

  11. You guys did such a beautiful job!! I love how wood flooring looks, we have that in most of our house. For something different, we got travertine floor in one of our rooms, and I am so happy with it! I hope you love it as much as we love ours!

    1. yes we do love the floor :) Before it looked so dingy and gross. Now its shiny and clean! And who doesn't love shiny and clean floors? lol. Travertine is very nice too :) What I would like to use in a space is some slate, but I don't know what space and my husband says hell no. Maybe one day :)