One Hundred And Thirty Years Later, The Floors In My Bedroom Are Done.
March 20, 2013 § 1 Comment
No Union Breaks.
The floors in my bedroom are done.
This means that a room in my house is habitable. As in I can move stuff into it. As in it only needs switch plate covers. I’ve even walked around in it more that a few times, mostly covered in sawdust, hence the smudges on the floor that my crazy renovating eyes are immediately burned by. I think there’s sawdust in my camera’s lens permanently at this point.
Let’s take a little trip through time, via pine flooring. My house is 132 years old. I didn’t really occur to me at the time that I was buying a house built exactly one hundred years before I was born, but that’s what happened. See that there floorin’? That floor was put in a little later than the initial 1880 homestead – it’s approximately 100 years old. We tore it all up. de-nailed it, cleaned it, ran it through the thickness planer, and installed what was left of it after all that it in my bedroom. It was in pretty rough shape in spots. It had been painted a few times. but it was actually really clear, beautiful stuff. That’s some damn long flooring. Apparently there was a ton of old growth pine in Missouri that was heavily milled around the turn of the(20th) century, and it’s fairly common to see completely clear wall-to-wall heart pine flooring in the older buildings around here. Dad almost looks like he could be in 1880.
See the end grain? Looks quarter-sawn to me…
I knew that there was a chance I would not be able to finish the bedroom with the left over flooring from the first floor, so before committing to the plan I did some research and found some “reclaimed southern heart pine” at The Salvage Barn in Iowa City. Sure enough, I needed that stuff, and so we traveled up there and picked up some of the most awesome flooring ever.
Wow. Dad in Tevas with no beard. These floors really have taken for ever. Anyway, Dad is standing next to the extremely long pine flooring I picked up for under $2 a square foot. This flooring was used to make bleachers that sat in a high school in Norway, IA until presumably they upgraded the gym (?) Anyway, this stuff was in much better condition than my old downstairs flooring, and I was concerned that it would look so different, but in the end I decided to go for it. It was fun to see initials carved in my flooring, and scrape gum off the planks to some extent, and imagine the teen dramas that took place in Norway High.
Up came the gross carpet, off came the Christmas Balls, and in went the floor.I guess I painted at some point too. The pine had no old finish to remove, and is pretty soft, so I rented this light-duty drum sander that worked nicely.
Ta DAAAAAA. You can see where the old downstairs flooring ends, and the new, Norway High flooring begins, but I’m choosing to see that as character (Ugh. Next I’ll be saying “charming.”) and a good use of the original materials in the house.
Tech time; We sanded at at 80 grit and then 120. I edged with both an orbital sander and an edge sanding tool, then vaccuumed and tack cloth ‘ed all over that like a boss. For finish I used Minwax’s water based polycrilic, as per the recommendation of the dude at Menards. It’s not necessarily intended for floors, but this is an upstairs bedroom with minimum traffic, and it kept my lovely pine from darkening and yellowing, which was my goal. The Polycrilic gave a nice soft, satiny finish on the pine, and was fairly easy to apply. However, I did this by myself in what was maybe not the easiest way – I probably looked like a bad high school theater interpretation of Pollack. I would definitely have someone help you get this stuff on if you’re considering using it. It dries really damn fast, and makes lap marks in the process like a mofo. If I did it again, I would have one person to get the stuff on with a mop head applicator (that’s what I used) and another to follow behind evening it out with a foam paint brush. I did this myself, and by the end I was sweating profusely and in dager of having my back snap in half. I sanded the whole thing down with 220 grit using my little orbital sander, which actually went pretty fast, added another coat, and that was it. I suppose I could’ve done a third coat, but it looked good to me, and I was admittedly ready for something, anything to be done.