Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

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Happy July, friends! I can’t believe we are almost halfway through the month. I’m not sure about you, but this summer seems to be flying by at lightning speed. Today I thought it would be great to give you a look into my first big project at the new house: refinishing my upstairs hardwood floors.

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

However, before we get to that, I wanted to quickly thank you for your patience as I know that my posts here on IBC and social haven’t been as frequent recently. In addition to the busyness of summer, moving, and just getting settled, I’ve been a bit distracted. I’m hoping to get back to my typical posting schedule in the coming weeks.

After purchasing my house I knew there were several house projects that I wanted to tackle and complete before I moved in. Refinishing the upstairs floors was first on the list.

I needed and wanted to start this project right away because before the home was listed, the sellers decided to remove all of the upstairs carpeting. I assume the seller wanted to highlight the hardwood floors feature, but in the end, I was left looking at floors that were damaged from carpet installation and that had inconsistent stain color.

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

The fortunate side of all of this was that it was going to be much easier to tackle this project while the house was close to empty. The unfortunate side was that I wouldn’t be able to completely “settle-in.” For now my living room would become my bedroom, my dining room my office, etc. Not fun, but if it helps to get the floor refinishing project underway, I will manage.

Because I have no experience with refinishing floors and since I wasn’t going to attempt to learn with five bedrooms and five closets, I hired someone else to complete the task.

My realtor recommended Horst Hardwood Services. They came out, gave an estimate, and I booked them for the job! While most of the floors were ready to be refinished, I did have to remove carpeting and tack strips from one of the rooms.

The lead time to get the project started was three weeks. The gentleman from Horst Harwood Services mentioned that he’s usually a couple months out, so waiting three weeks didn’t seem too terrible.

I obviously didn’t have much involvement in the process, but it was exciting to see the daily progress. I expected the sanding process to be loud and messy, but a vacuum system was used which left virtually zero dust – seriously! There was noise, but it didn’t really bother me.

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

The first couple of days were consumed with mostly prep and sanding – the entire process took five days in all. On day three we looked at stain colors.


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Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

Obviously picking stain colors is a daunting process. I knew that I wanted something darker, but not too dark. I also knew that I wanted something less orange when compared to the existing hardwood floors on the first floor.

Naturally I turned to some of my inspiration photos I found while sourcing inspirational ideas for my home. More and more I find that social media can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to making design decisions. While I know what I like, I often feel a pull to do what’s “trendy”. For a split second I considered something lighter with a matte finish, but ultimately I knew that that wouldn’t be true to the home and that today’s trend wouldn’t be so “trendy” in a couple of years.

Taking the style of the home and my own design ideas into consideration, I had three samples applied to the floor: Jacobean (left), Dark Walnut (middle), and Espresso (right).

The wood used for my floors is Red Oak.

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

From this point on, the choice was easy for me. Dark walnut was the winner. Jacobean felt a bit too gray and the expresso was a bit too red.

You can also see the sheen of the poly finish in the photos above. The Jacobean (left) had a semi-gloss while the other two had satin.

I also opted for a satin finish. The other option I was considering was matte, but that felt a little too flat for my tastes. While I certainly didn’t want a glossy finish, the satin seemed like the perfect fit.

With that, the biggest decision was made, and the floors were ready for stain. So exciting, right?!

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

I think that’s where I’m going to wrap up part one of this story. I actually JUST started moving my things upstairs a couple days ago. So yes, the floors are complete and I gave them plenty of time to cure. While having refinished floors is wonderful, finally being able to move in and have a bedroom again has been the most amazing feeling.

Here’s a little sneak peak of the before and after. What a difference, right!? (If you’re curious, the stain on the left, which is also what is used throughout the first floor of the home, is Provincial.)

Refinishing my Upstairs Hardwood Floors

Once I snap a few more pictures, I’ll circle back with an update on how the floors look now that they are finished! Stay tuned!

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  1. I have a quick question. My husband and I are goign to try a few stain samples and are worried they wont come out when we are done. Did you just sand over those sample patches and they went away?

  2. Came over from the finished floor post to see if you mentioned what kind of wood the floor is, and thought ‘you know, that looks so much like ours’ that we are refinishing soon. Could be because our floor also has provincial stain – circa 1994. Our floors are white oak and the flooring dude told us it is his favorite wood floor to refinish. I was thinking a walnut as well and seeing your floor with the provincial transformation, excites me to get our job done!

  3. So interesting to me because we had the exact same stain in my mother in law’s house. We refinished it with dark walnut also…and had those exact same trial colors on her floor also! It turned out beautiful…you will be so happy with your choice! Beautiful!!!

  4. Well having the carpet removed for you probably was a good thing, but you really had no choice but to get that big job done. we have been refinishing some of our hardwood in our 100 yr old house, and finding that the carpet was applied with a thick layer of adhesive, 😑 Why would anyone do that, I cannot believe the mess.
    Your new house is really pretty, love that stain on the hardwood.

  5. Absolutely beautiful! Now you have a great foundation for your decorating choices! Thank you for sharing your house progress! So exciting!

  6. Looks great! My neighbors had their downstairs floors refinished and it was funny to watch them climb a ladder in to their upstairs bedroom each night. You were smart to do it at this time.

  7. We had hardwood floors refinished in our house, and I was amazed at the lack of mess. Too bad I couldn’t say the same for the installation of hardwood in the upstairs part of our house….oh well. Looks beautiful and good to do it the way you are doing it. We also did a lot of work before we moved in. Too bad we also didn’t have our insides repainted before moving in because that ended up being like moving all over again! Live and learn. Enjoy! Your house is shaping up nicely!

  8. Just beautiful! That colour looks so good with the oak grain. I have always loved and admired your talents and am enjoying seeing you develop your new home to make it perfect for you!

  9. As the former manager of a flooring company, I must say that the 3 options you selected are by far the most popular options in my area (Peachtree City. GA). You definitely went with the perfect stain color & finish! Your new floors look amazing & I know you are thrilled the process is over!

  10. Great stain choice! There is NEVER a convenient time to get hardwood floors redone. In our previous home we had it done while we were away for a week because even though it only affected the main floor, you couldn’t get to the stairs without walking on the hardwood. So the time you were inconvenienced will seem like nothing in a few months. I can’t wait to see what you do with all of that space! Your home has so many beautiful features and I’m enjoying this going along with you on this journey.