A bit of background… We (my wife and I) purchased our first house together in march of 2015 knowing that we would not move in until June. I talked her into a fixer based on the fact that myself and a buddy worked our way through college working for our landlord fixing up his old rentals and also flipping houses for him. So we swooped in and got a fixer out from underneath a local flipper because he was trying to nickel and dime the seller.
What made this a good purchase is that the entire house has white oak solid wood floors and only two rooms did not have carpet covering it. Our plan was to refinish all the hardwoods before moving in. Resurfacing floors in 4 months is not a huge task however like any redo job there is an order to how things should be done.
Just a heads up the next four paragraphs is pretty much a rant about inspectors and can be skipped.
I had to first remove a non-load bearing wall and splice in hardwood floor where the wall was standing. Upon opening that wall and moving the electrical inside said wall, I found out that pretty much all the electrical was overloaded. To even things out we decided to go with gas oven and range which freed up 30 amps for the electric range and 40 amps for the electric oven, we will be upgrading the panel in the future before finishing the basement out.
Next I had to remove a load bearing wall, luckily I work at an engineering firm so I did all the drawings and calculations necessary then had a buddy in the structural group look it over and approve it for me. Once the damn inspector decided to get his butt to my house I got the work done really quick. All I really had to do was replace the carry beam in the ceiling a 2×6 with doubled up 2×10’s which was overkill but I didn’t want to give the inspector a chance to gripe.
The final structural work I had to do was moving the stairs to the basement back about 14 inches so they were not so darn steep. Again I did the drawings and calcs then got it approved by my buddy. I had the inspector out who again took his sweet time. This time he had some complaints as these guys always do about how the load was carried through the concrete. Mind you this inspector is not an engineer of any kind and cannot prove to me that the footing is improper. I had actually accounted for the lack of footing and spread the load over a long wall which was actually supported by a thing call “math”. I tried to show and explain the math and he was having none of it. Non the less I redid the drawings to include an engineered lumber beam which carried the load to the closest post.
Unfortunately the load was not my only problem. He decided to knit pick about the stair clearance landing height as well. The problem with this is my house is old and the basement ceilings are low to being with. He wanted a proper 80” clearance at the bottom of the stairs (mine was 79”) which I would have loved to accommodate for but the stairs run right into the chimney stack at the bottom of the stairs. In order to meet the landing depth requirements the landing needed to be 1 & ½ inches from the ground. After talking sense into him he realized that I was improving the safety of the stairs drastically by making them much less steep and increasing the head clearance by 6 inches. As you can most likely tell Inspectors have always left a sour taste in my mouth. Before someone gets bent out of shape about this and spews something about safety and protecting the home owner from themselves, just know that I could have done the work without an inspector and gotten away with it.
Finally I could start sanding the floors! Just a tip get the drum sander. People warn you about taking off to much material when using it but unless you’re a special kind of stupid I think you should be fine. The sanding was a lot like mowing the lawn but indoors. I then had to use an orbital to get the finish out of the valleys in the floor which the drum sander could not get to. Once you vacuum about a million times you are ready to stain. While staining you can spray just a bit of water over the floor about 30 min before you start applying the stain. This will make the grain pop up and take more stain which creates a different look. I chose to do this and like it quite a bit. Next comes two coats of poly and then a top coat waiting 24 hours between each layer.
We moved in about 2-3 weeks later and the fumes had completely gone. Below are a few pictures of the walls I removed and the house before and after I finished the floors. I have finished a whole lot more stuff since then and should be posting soon.