The Floor Story

There were a number of flips and flops on this matter of flooring for our dining room but the finished product has me convinced I got the best of all the choices! 

Our first idea was, of course, to use the original hardwood that was hidden underneath the carpet.

We did uncover hardwood but it stopped short of the end wall by about a foot. By all appearances, there was once some sort of built-in filling in the space. What to do? After much deliberation, we chose to fill in the gap with new white oak that nearly matched the existing floor.

We spent quite a lot of time on this attempt at fixing the floor.

Next step - sand it down to bare wood. That's also where our next problem surfaced. This floor is a thin (about 3/8") interlocking hardwood. Even though we used the least aggressive sander out there, either the floor had been sanded too many times before or we didn't know how to do it, because it started splintering pretty directly and we saw it was a losing battle. It's all part of renovating a 1920's home and we know to plan for it.

Now we go to plan B. The subfloor is in bad shape so Dale does not want to tear out the hardwood covering it. We decide to lay the new floor on top of the old. That means it can't be too thick or we'll have issues with the new door opening into the room. To cut down on work, we begin searching for pre-finished, engineered flooring. I finally settle on one I like and order it, only to discover it's discontinued. Stopped short again!

I told Dale we need to explore more options. Why don't we consider putting in a new white oak floor?  It would be similar to the original floor, it's timeless (will be available 10/20 years from now) and can be stained to the color I choose. I already know the entire first floor of our house will eventually need to match what we put down in the dining room. Chances are, when we are ready to do the next room, anything in the engineered hardwood line will be discontinued anyway. It took a bit of mental readjustment (the thought of an awful lot of extra work) but he saw the benefits of the idea and decided to go with it. Bless him!

Plan C swings into action...

And this time it works! I even get in on the beginning stage and am quite excited about how this floor looks!

Then...we have two amazing helpers show up at our door! My bro-in-law Lavern is in Ohio to work on a rental house, but insists he wants to help with our floor. He has never installed hardwood and assures us he wants the experience, so we relent. What a God-send! He and his son Josh, plus Dale and Julian, make the pieces fly.

Let's not concern ourselves with proper shoes for the job!

I'm so happy with the progress and fly about taking lots of pictures, spilling over with splashes of encouragement for the hard-working guys. They are doing all this for me!

Julian is responsible for cutting the pieces down to size.

It is most surprising what four guys can do in one afternoon, and they are not even experienced at laying floors. The job is completed in about 6 hours. I am quite impressed and so grateful for all the help on this project.

Just look at our beautiful new floor!

Fast forward (I lost the photos due to computer issues) through all the sweat and labor of sanding, staining, sealing...and we have a gorgeous new hardwood floor. It really is my dream floor!

Thanks to the help of my friend at The Ohio Floor Company 😊 I chose a custom stain color - half coffee brown and half ebony - and am pleased with it, despite mistakes I made during application. There was overlap of stain, which I tried to buff out with steel wool with a measure of success. Next time we would work together on it. I apply stain, Dale wipes it off, and we go all the way across the floor instead of taking a third of the width at a time.

Still, after we add furniture it is harder to find the mistakes and much easier to count my blessings!

After shuffling through several different ideas we are delighted with this floor. You never know what you'll discover along the way, but I am still a fan of the whole process of renewing old homes, hard work and changing plans notwithstanding.


  1. It's beautiful, Karyn! All that hard work paid off in the end, huh? Not sure if I'd be as patient as you, ha!

  2. Thanks Kay! Yes, it's ever so worth it. I rather doubt the patience bit...I am really good at trying hard to keep things moving, but waiting is part of remodeling.


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