As I mentioned in the post about our new upstairs flooring, at the start of summer we returned home from vacation to a busted pipe that caused water damage and thus a long list of repairs. Since the busted pipe was located on the second floor, water flowed downstairs as well and damaged the red oak flooring in the foyer. The flooring in the kitchen and hallway are oak and original to the house. When we moved in, the dining and living room had carpet which we removed and replaced with engineered wood. Then we had the oak floors refinished to coordinate with the engineered flooring.  Due to the water damage in the hallway, we removed all of the flooring and had new unfinished wood installed.

The oak floors in the kitchen were fine, but we wanted the finish and wear to match the now replaced hallway so that meant the kitchen floor also needed to be sanded and stained. Actually, when I saw the unfinished oak installed in the hallway, I loved it! I wanted to keep it that way. Lighter floors make such a difference. It actually made me wish I could replace the dining and living room floors with oak so the whole first floor could be light and unstained.  If you want to get this look you can seal the wood with a matte sealer (so that’s it’s not shiny, and not darkened by polyurethane).

unfinished red oak
unfinished red oak floors
However, it wasn’t in the plan to redo all the flooring on the first floor too, so I stuck with the plan and refinished the oak floors in a mahogany stain to still coordinate with the other rooms.

refinished oak floors
The process was as follows:

  • Sand down to bare wood (loud, heavy duty sander with a vacuum bag that catches all of that dust)
    • I took a quick video at the start of the process. You can see it over on the FB page 
  • Prepare wood, filling any cracks or holes
  • Stain – we went with one coat of stain and then a light sanding
  • Finish coating – our installer applied 3 coats of polyurethane with about 20 hours between coats, so that was 4 days of not walking on the floor [we spent that time in a hotel]. Our final coating was technically a satin finish but it is not as shiny as I thought it would be.   Matte has less of a sheen and gloss has the most sheen.

Even though I would prefer a different color if I were starting from scratch, the floors turned out really well.  The wood grain really looks beautiful!


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2 Responses to Refinishing Oak Floors

  1. Gi says:

    All’s well that ends well. Your floors look fabulous. I love the texture wood floors add to a room, no matter the stain. Having the flexibility to sand down and restain is a big plus. Thinking for some time about redoing our red oak, but can’t decide whether I prefer lighter or darker, so sitting still for now.

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