Aug 302015
 
 August 30, 2015  Uncategorized  Add comments

Refinished Floor

Before we began renovating the stairwell, I had an abstract idea of how the finished project would look – refinished wide-plank pine floors, a level staircase with dark-stained treads, a slightly raised handrail, white balusters and white trim, smooth, flat walls and so on. Even so, it was hard to picture just how all of these elements would come together. But when I came home at the end of last week and opened the front door to completely refinished entryway floors, the first major piece of that picture came into focus.

Refinished Entryway Floors

It was quite the transformation, considering that just a few days earlier the entryway looked like this:

The Stairwell at the End of Week 3

It feels like the stairwell floors are finally breathing a sigh of relief after likely not seeing the light of day for nearly 100 years. The original wide-plank pine flooring was first covered over in linoleum, which was later stripped off, leaving behind the glue and backing paper – the splotchy gray stuff you can see in the above picture. A 1/4-inch plywood underlayment was then nailed over the remnants of the linoleum flooring, and vinyl sheet flooring was installed over that.

With the original pine flooring exposed and brought back from the dead, the entire stairwell feels more homey and less institutional and decrepit. The original flooring isn’t perfect by any means. Not surprisingly, it seems that the flooring in the entryway and stairwell has been abused more than the floors elsewhere in the building. Several floorboards are scarred with dark gouges, while others are streaked with dark water stains (possibly from leaky steam radiators?). Pine is a soft wood and all of the floorboards sport nicks and bruises and scrapes, and have a darker amber tone than the pine flooring in the rest of the building. But I don’t mind these imperfections; they speak to the building’s long history and help ground the space.

Original Pine Flooring Close-up

I’m also hoping to find a runner or two for the entryway and laundry area, which will cover some of the floor’s more obvious patches and blemishes. Speaking of the ground-floor laundry area, it’s also been completely transformed by the refinished floors.

Laundry Area Floors 1

Laundry Area Floors 2

The original floorboards on the second-floor landing were never covered over, but the finish had almost completely worn off and they were in desperate need of refinishing. Here’s how the landing turned out:

Refinished Landing

Refinishing the floors really highlighted the curved edge of the landing, which will eventually be surrounded by a railing.

Refinished Landing Curved Edge

With the stairwell flooring finished, Gregg can begin reinstalling the handrail, newel posts, and balusters. And after that, I can begin a long list of finish work. Stay tuned.

  5 Responses to “Refinishing the Stairwell Floors: Part 2”

  1. What are you planning to do about the round peg areas and the rectangular patch?? Will they take a stain??

    • The floors came out a lot darker than I expected. So once everything else is finished, I’ll probably go back and re-sand, stain, and seal the lighter patches. In the meantime, we’ll probably just cover most of them up with runners.

  2. The floors are gorgeous. More so because of their bumps and bruises.

  3. The floors are so pretty. Are the stairs to the laundry level in OK shape? Do you have to do some work on the newel post and railing there? I can just imagine how refreshed and beautiful your entrance will be. I think your association should give you a pass on a few of your monthly dues. You are doing so much!

    • The stairs down to the laundry area seem to have been worked on more recently than the upstairs staircase (by which I mean 50 or 60 years ago as opposed to 160 years), and they seem to be reasonably level and in ok shape. So the plan is to repaint the treads and risers and put a fresh coat of polyurethane on the newel and handrail.

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