Hardwood floors scare the crap out of most people.
Not in the aesthetic sense of course, everyone knows that they look fantastic (and they hardly ever bite or anything like that). But when it comes to actually pondering the idea of restoring worn wooden floor boards to their former glory, I’d say 9 out of 10 people probably just shut the idea down too quickly, never giving themselves the chance to tackle one of the coolest most gratifying DIY projects around.
Well, I’m here to try and change your mind.
Consider this: I have re-finished about 8 or 9 wood floors over the past 5 years, and all of them came out looking damn fine, if I do say so myself. And that includes the very first one, which I conquered with no absolutely NO experience at all.
To be completely honest, like with a lot of things, I think that success with your wood floors is about 80% confidence/20% skill. You have to believe that you can do it, and then, you usually can. Most of what you really need to know you will pick up as you go along. Plus, a little trepidation is a wonderful thing, because that probably means you’ll go nice’n’easy, which is the secret to re-doing floors right.
Still, it is a big decision as far as home improvements go and I understand that. Re-finishing hardwood floors is a bit more comprehensive than painting an accent wall in your bedroom or something of that nature.
So allow me to point out some of the pros and cons of doing this job on your own.
I’ll try and cover as many of the most important points from both sides, the positive and the negative, and hopefully, in the end, you will have a much better idea of what it takes. And just so you know, this post is being sponsored by The Home Depot, where I actually buy a lot of my home improvement stuff. So, I’ll be referencing them sometimes, when I think they could be of service to you.
Okay, enough chatter; let’s dive in.
Here are the first three major points to think about when considering DIY hardwood floor restoration..
Pros: It’s pretty simple. Barring any massive catastrophes (which are quite uncommon), you’ll be saving a lot of money by re-finishing your hardwood floors DIY style. Obviously, you’re not paying a professional for his time/labor, so that right there will save you at least hundreds of dollars, maybe even more. If you hire a pro, you will probably get pro results, but you will for them too. But if you do it yourself, you can achieve very similar results (with the added sheen of the fact that you did it YOURSELF), but for a helluva lot less money.
Cons: Nothing is ever free or even super-cheap. But, I’d say that between equipment rentals and other supplies/tools you will need (stain, polyurethane, applicators, a screwdriver,some pliers, a hammer, etc) you should be able to re-do an average sized room for under 300 bucks plus a weekend of your time.
Pros: You can do an average size room, from start to finish, in a few days usually. This isn’t a project that needs to take weeks, or even several consecutive weekends, and in all honesty, given the fact that you probably don’t want an entire room of your house off limits from usage for very long, you are going to want get it done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. And that is totally possible, believe me. If you reserve a Friday evening, and most of a Saturday and Sunday, you can get it done.
Cons: The downside of the time question, of course, is the fact that most of us are really busy and the idea of being able to commit the bulk of our weekend to more work isn’t always the most attractive or realistic one. Plus, you also need to consider that you’ll be renting some equipment by the day, so time is money.
Still, for floors that will likely last you a good ten years minimum once they are done, a couple of days seems like nothing in comparison. (I can’t help slipping in a Pro here, sorry!)
Also, if you are someone who tends to rush things or gets bored easily, you might want to consider the fact that, although you will see results instantaneously in this job, there is also a boatload of repetition that defines the entire process.
It’s work, remember, but it’s also you who reaps all of the rewards.
Pros: As with any DIY job you’ll ever conquer, prep work is a must. By researching what you want to do with internet searches (there are TONS of great video tutorials out there) and talking to folks who have done it before (friends, family, The Home Depot staff) you not only give yourself a fabulous visual idea of what you will be getting into, you also enable yourself to learn from other people’s success and mistakes.
And that is priceless, really.
When you’re finally ready to get physically started, you’ll need to spend some time moving furniture and rugs out of the room/hanging plastic over doorways to contain the dust/and taping up any trim work on walls where they meet your floor.
Cons: The only real con to doing prep work is that it does indeed take some time.
But, when you want to do something right, it’s hard to see how any time so well spent could ever be a bad thing, right?
Plus, once your in the thick of it and you’re up and running with the floor sanding, I guarantee you will be feeling a zillion times more confident in you work because of all of the prep stuff you did.
Okay, that’s enough to think about for now. What do you think? You feeling like sanding some floors or what??!!
Secretly, I’m hoping I convinced you that you can do it!
In my next flooring post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of the actual work you’ll be doing if you decide that DIY hardwood floor restoration is something you really want to cross off of your Bucket List after all.