guest room & studio, part 02: refinishing the floor
12.07 - 01.08 doing the work better left to professionals since 2002
Once we had the floor prepped -- including filling in the bigger holes and gashes -- we were ready to actually sand and finish the floor. Because of the timeline invloved, it meant that we'd be working through New Years' Eve, which was unfortunate for two reasons: 1) Well, New Years' Eve, obviously; and 2) we had decided to push our annual Christmas tradition of the Lord of the Rings Collector's DVD Extended Edition Marathon to New Years' Eve since we were spending Christmas Eve/Day with Sister, Guy, and the Fabulous Miss M (her first!).
Not doing the marathon at all was absolutely out of the question -- might as well take awesomeness off the calendar entirely -- but it would present a bit of a challenge. Doing the regular movies is a 9+ hour marathon; doing the extended editions is, like, 15 hours including breaks between to use the bathroom and setup the next meal on the coffee table. Preparing for it is like training for Ironman. If Ironman included hobbits, elves, and BBQ meatballs.
So refinishing a floor in the midst of all that presented some obstacles. We decided to split the marathon over the course of two days and we did our best to time the project so that New Years' Eve would be a less intense work day. It was a holiday, after all.
We spent three days sanding the crap out of the floors. I say "we" but really, it was almost all Sal. Because it turns out that I? SUCK at running the edge sander, never mind the floor sander. When it was clear that the floor sander and I would have irreconcilable differences, I thought to make myself useful with the edge sander while he did the main part of the floors. Unfortunately, after giving the edge sander a try (in the closet, thankfully), and taking a cringe-inducing quarter inch out of the surface when I paused for a NANOSECOND...well, all I can say is that Sal attained a certain god-like status in my eyes. Because he did the floor in our attic, and it was his first time ever refinishing a floor, and he'd done it mostly by himself, and it turned out beautifully. I really appreciated it at the time, but I really appreciated it once I tried my hand at the sanding part.
We used three progressive passes of sandpaper, then did the patchwork, hand-sanded those patches, and then rented a finish sander for between the coats of poly. We had the applicator and sponge pads and miscellaneous other stuff from when Sal did the attic floor, so we were able to use those up and save a bit of money in the process. For the the tackcloth passes, I used a trick I came up with when I did the attic: attaching the tackcloth to a Swiffer. It's the perfect tool for that job.
By that Friday, we were ready to put down the first coat of poly. We did the first pass of finish sanding, then passes with the vacuum and tack cloth. Saturday, we put down three more coats of poly with the requisite finish sanding and cleaning between each pass. Which made for a long-ass day and pummeled the heck out of both of us by the end. We finished at 1 AM on Sunday, but didn't get to bed until 3 AM because we had to wait for the poly to set before we could walk on it enough to get to the attic.
That Sunday was a day of rest. Because we are floor refinishing gods and that's what gods do on Sundays -- they freaking rest. Oh, and I treated Sally to dinner and a movie for busting his ass during his two week vacation before his new job started the next day. I am a benevolent dictator, after all.