Hardwood Floor Sanding (I would like to punch whoever put vinyl on top of my hardwood)

Are you looking for a total body work out? Well, do I have the tool for you! Try using a drum sander for four to six hours in one day and three hours the following day. It will do the trick!


Neck, back, shoulders, triceps, abs, and butt work out all in one. We rented the drum sander for the weekend in an attempt to sand 100+years old dirt, grime and glue off the hardwood. Ryan started the drum sander first, going slowly pushing the sander with the grain of the hardwood. It started off pretty exciting….


And slowly got less exciting as we realized this is going to take FOREVER. We started using 20 grit sandpaper (very very course) to remove grim, color, and glue off the floor. I was under the impression that two runs with the 20 grit paper would do the trick as far as removing glue. From what I read, with most flooring you can start with 36 grit if you are just trying to removing the existing finish.

Here we are before we started.


Here we are after round 1.


As you can see, there is still A LOT of glue and gunk left over. So, we moved onto to round 2. This time trying to move the sander as slow as possible. With a drum sander, it is important to keep it moving or it can damage the floor.


Another side note – sanding floors creates a TON of dust! The drum sander we were using had a vacuum attachment but it didn’t stand a chance against the amount of dust we were creating. For round 2, Ryan and I tag teamed with one person operating the sander and one person following around with a shop-vac. It seemed to help as well.


Well, with round 2 finished around 4 pm we were less than impressed. There was still a significant amount of glue left in places. So, I took a “google break” to look for tips. I found that some people went diagonal across the wood in rough places and then went back over it with the direction of the wood to remove any markings left by the sander. When sanding or  staining wood, you pretty much always go WITH the grain of the wood, not against it. I was a little nervous about it, but at this point I was very tired and just wanted to finish, so I gave it a try.


It seemed to help in some places, but it definitely required more muscle power.

We had some other exciting progress last week. Ryan did an awesome job cutting the butcher block and installing the sink.


And we also have a working sink & toilet! YAY!


I also started putting up the tile back-splash in the kitchen and around the tub surround upstairs.

Kitchen_tile Kitchen_tilebacksplash


I decided to put tile above the tub so we wouldn’t have to worry about water causing the paint to peel. Our bathroom upstairs is really starting to look like a finished bathroom. I am so excited with how the vanity turned out!

upstairs-bath_vanity Upstairs-bathroom_vanity

I will share a more detailed post later about how we converted it from a table into a vanity. It was EASY! The hexagon floor turned out pretty well. There a few spots that are not perfect (in the corner where I started laying tile) but thankfully it is around the toilet area so I will hopefully be the only person who notices, except for the few of you reading this!


The shower tub combo has been installed for a while, but we do now have tub and shower plumbing fixtures. I look forward to cleaning everything heavily next week!


We also sanded and primed the stairway. No more dingy yellow and watermelon pink .

stairs_prep-for-paint Stairs_painted stairs_ceiling-painted

Our kind-of-new stairs now have new risers to match as well! Thanks, Dad!!


Lastly, I tried out a new product last week. After installing reclaimed wood flooring in the kitchen, we had enough left over to install it in the powder room as well. Originally we thought we would tile in the powder room, but we loved the look of the reclaimed wood and it was zero extra dollars we had to spend (yay!) so we went with the hardwood.

I was a little nervous about what I needed to use on the reclaimed wood floor to seal it. I wanted to keep the exact color of the wood but protect it from day-to-day wear. My fear was that regular polyurethane would turn the floor yellow. Even the clear poly will turn yellow over time (from what I have heard). How devastating would it be to have dingy-grayish-yellow floors in 5 years?!?!?! There would be tears, folks.

After a little research, I decided to test out a water based poly made by Minwax.


Since it water based instead of oil based, it is supposed to dry CRYSTAL clear and stay clear. It also dries a lot faster than oil based poly and barely has an odor to it. The downside is that is not as durable as an oil based, so I will probably need to reseal my floors again in a few years. With only a two hour drying time though, I am not too upset about that!

In the can, the poly looks white, almost like a very thin milk substance.


Once I put a coat on and it began to dry, the white disappeared and became completely clear. Victory!!!


Hopefully it will stay this color! *Fingers crossed* As of today, I have very pleased with the product. It was easy to apply, required a very short dry time, and dried completely clear. We will just have to see how it holds up over time!

That’s about it for this past week and weekend. We are continuing to work on sanding the floors this week and hope to be putting stain down on Sunday night. Our plumber and gas guy are supposed to finish this week as well. Key there is supposed to. Also, if you guys could pray for it NOT to rain this Saturday, that would be awesome. We REALLY need to insulate the attic this weekend and the weather has not worked in our favor the past couple Saturdays we wanted to do it. It is one of our big final Certificate of Occupancy check list items, so it has to get done. I personally don’t care if the attic is insulated by next weekend, but my building inspector does 🙂




10 thoughts on “Hardwood Floor Sanding (I would like to punch whoever put vinyl on top of my hardwood)

  1. The floors look beautiful. I do not blame you for wanting to punch that someone who covered those lovely floors. Good job. Prayer for the insulation in the attic has been lifted.

    Love you,


  2. I forgot to tell you the other day, if you are still left with some of that brown glue and the sander just isn’t getting it up, it might be water soluble. The best thing I’ve found that gets it up with minimal fuss is just hot water and a sponge. Thankfully I think we only have about 400 sq feet of it here but I know that’s still a nightmare. I’m thinking in the laundry room I’ll just use a mop and bucket to get it up instead of doing it by hand one foot at a time. Most of it came up by now so I think the sander will get the rest! Or if all else fails just stain it dark, ha!

      • I just realized I’ve already told you that a million times! I’ll just stick with repeatedly telling you how great the house is looking. And again how jealous I am of your breaker box. Our electrician is coming by today and tomorrow to change out one of ours but it’s unfortunately the one that has only one breaker actually wired to it, kind of silly but what can you do?

  3. Pingback: Master Bath Plans | younganddomestic

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