I did not refinish my own hardwood floors and I don’t think you should either.
So if you are looking for a post on how to refinish hardwood floors, this is not it.
If a home is old enough to have hardwood that is in rough enough shape to need refinishing, chances are there is lead in the varnish. There was in mine. We had it tested. Trust me, you don’t want to be dealing with sanding down varnish that has lead in it. Work like that takes a professional to properly seal the area and ensure there is no contamination. It’s not worth exposing your body to it in order to save money. Choose your health instead.
Here is what our wood looked like before we did anything to it.
My entire upstairs was sealed off for a week while the floors were fully sanded of all varnish and stain. I was happy that even though the wood was old, it still held up with minimal pieces needing to be replaced.
Once the floor was all sanded we moved on to picking the stain. I was a little torn as to whether I wanted to keep the floors this lighter color, but I ended up going with stain my contractor had a supply of. We went with the darker tone because I felt it would be more classic with our walls and general feel of the space.
I am a terrible blogger because I can’t tell you the brand or the actual color stain we picked. I can tell you that the stain was applied in such a way to create a more antique walnut look. When it was applied it almost looked like a brown watercolor wash.
The last step was applying a few coats of varnish. The varnish really evened out the look of the stain. I am so glad I did not have to stress about getting varnish applied correctly.
I am in love with the final look of these floors. The dark stain brings out the natural wood grain and really grounds the space.
Have you ever refinished hardwood? Did you do it yourself or hire a professional? I feel this is one of the things where a professional is needed. Even without the lead factor, dealing with all that dust and stressing about getting the stain and varnish right would have been way to much for me to handle.
If you still want to refinish them yourself, go check out this blog post on A Beautiful Mess, although they did not discuss the health concerns connected with the process.
By the way, if you do get a little lead in your system you can help counter-act it and clean it out with calcium and mineral rich foods like kale and broccoli.