Christine and Pierre's Kitchen: Finishing the Floors

Christine and Pierre's Kitchen: Finishing the Floors

Sep 3, 2013

Name: Christine & Pierre
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Type of building: Ground floor apartment of a triplex, 1,100 square feet

The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

This week we finished up the floors. When planning, we had assumed that sanding the floors would be the challenging bit, and that refinishing them would be a piece of cake. As it turns out, it was the opposite.

First, we attempted to add a bit of natural stain to the new section, to bring it more in line with the older section. This went well enough, but it didn't make a huge difference. Pierre then went over all the floors with an oil based poly. After waiting a good 8 hours after the second coat, we did an inspection and panicked a bit. The floors had tons of air bubbles, resulting in a really rough finish to the touch.
Frustrated, we made a trip to Home Depot to pick up super fine sanding pads, and went back and sanded the entire surface. The instructions on the can of poly said this wasn't necessary, but clearly something had gone wrong. It had been a super hot and humid weekend and I think that made it hard for the poly to all dry evenly. We maybe needed to wait longer between coats? Or maybe put it on slower? We'll never know exactly what we did wrong.

Our contractor doing the last coat. He did it way, way, gentler than we did.

We also asked our contractor to come in and do the final coat. We had visions of ourselves sanding and polying in a neverending cycle, and decided it would be better to just get some help at this point. The final coat, finally, came out smooth. I should be clear — it's not a perfect finish, and if we had hired flooring pros we would have probably gotten better results. There are small imperfections and still a bubble here and there. I also tried to patch some big gaps with a wood putty, and they didn't take the poly as well as the other sections. But since we were just refinishing this one section (and not the whole apartment) it seemed like overkill to bring in pros, and this section of the floor still looks 1000 times better than before, so we're happy.

Finished! What a difference.

During this whole week I stayed with a friend due to the fumes. It's not a pleasant smell, and it really takes a while to fully disappear from the apartment.
Lastly, did I mention that life doesn't stop when you're renovating? We were out of town this weekend for family obligations, so no working weekend for us. Which was actually okay, considering the floor still needed time to cure before we could walk on it. But we arranged to get our IKEA delivery on the Friday so that we could start building cabinets when we got back to town. The Ikea delivery went smoothly and amazingly, they didn't forget a single item.

Our Ikea delivery! Not as crazy as I was expecting, actually.

Estimated time for project: Was 13 weeks, but it will be more...
Time remaining: 4 weeks maybe?

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for #15 of Christine and Pierre's Diary.

(Images and diary text: Christine Zoltok)

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