Should I Paint or Stain My Hardwood Floor?

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Q: I moved into an old building (circa 1928) last summer and have done an extensive amount of work to get it looking great. As I'm getting closer to finishing up the walls, ceilings, fireplace etc., my last major project is to do the hardwood floors. My floors are loveable but not in great shape. (continued…)
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My building has shifted over the years, resulting in the floors being less than perfectly level. Wear and tear over 84 years has left the floor with a cool aged look but someone went over it in the past with a dark walnut stain and, well, it's not great as well.

The floor isn't perfect and never will be unless it's ripped up and done again. I have full carte blanche when it comes to this place, the landlord for the building doesn't care about things being done to each unit. In fact, most units have had very artistic and stylish residents living there, resulting in amazing transformations being done inside. Since I love my area where I live, I have no plans to move at all from here; it's home.

My question is: Should I sand down the floor completely and restain or just paint over the floor? I'd love the floor but sanding it down is a huge job and the floor just is really old. I'm not sure how it will take. Painting is a lazier way out, I know, but if I can find the right colour, along with a great primer and some hard work to sand & repair, perhaps it will breathe some new life into this wood floor. I want this to last and look good for a long, long time. Any suggestions?

Sent by Dale

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and son in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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