I’m a little behind on my blog updates but I’ve gotten a lot done at the rental unit over the past couple weeks. Last week was all about the wood floors. Since there were original wood floors, I really wanted to take advantage of that if I could. (Here’s the previous update in case you missed it)
There were a couple reasons for that. One, people like wood floors. Whether they are buying or renting, hardwood floors are one of the top items that people are looking for.
Also, I am anticipating that I will save a lot of money on flooring as the years go by. Carpet is quick and easy to have replaced but it wears out quickly especially in lower end rentals. Even if I don’t have to change carpet between tenants, I would still need to pay a couple hundred bucks to have it cleaned. My hope is that these floors will last for many, many years before they need to get replaced again. I have put laminate in other properties and that should last longer than carpet but it can still get damaged quicker than real hardwood (at least that is my assumption.)
I had two floor guys come out to give me quotes. The first guy said it would cost $1,500 to have the floors sanded and another $500 to have them finished with polyurethane. The second guy I never got a quote from because he said he wouldn’t even try to sand the living room floor because of how rough it was. My initial decision was to have the first floor guy come and sand the floors and I would finish them myself. But after coming to a new realization (you can read about that in this blog post) I decided I would do it all myself.
The first step was to sand the edges. I had helped a friend one evening for a couple hours do some sanding on his old floors. We were just using a hand orbital sander. We went through MANY sanding discs and it took a LONG time. When I was at Lowes I found a sander that attached an angle grinder. So I bought a couple of those to try it out.
Here is what the discs look like before.
And here is what they look like after just a couple minutes.
These discs worked so much better and faster than the orbital sander. The downside? They cost about $10 each. Each disc only lasted me about 4 feet. I did end up finding some cheaper ones at Harbor Freight for $6 each and they seemed to work just as well as the more expensive ones. In the end, I think I used about 25-30 of them!
You can do the math but that’s about $250 spent on sanding discs and that was just to do the edges. They have a floor edging sander that you can rent at Home Depot. If I were to sand floors again I think I would give that a try. Also, I would have used a lot less had there not been so many layers of finish on the floors.
To make my wife feel better about me sanding off who knows what and breathing in all the lovely fumes and dust particles I bought a respirator and safety glasses. The safety glasses were almost like ski goggles and created a seal so no dust could get in. I’ve never been a fan of masks but I am really glad I had this for all the sanding. Not only does it filter the dust but it also blocks out all the smells.
After the edges were done it was time to get started on the main parts of the floor. I rented the floor sander from Home Depot. I watched several videos on YouTube before renting it. There are several options of floor sanders but I opted for the drum sander. I had a lot of sanding to do and the drum sander works the fastest. It wasn’t too difficult and as long as I kept it moving it didn’t create any gouges in the floor.
The sander cost $65 for 24 hrs and the sanding paper costs $8 each. I think I went through 12 of them.
The stain cost about $25 per gallon. I will have used about 4 gallons when all is said and done.
So, final costs for sanding floor.
- Sanding discs both orbital and angle grinder – about $300
- Sander rental including drum sanding paper – about $165
- Polyurethane – $100
- Painting supplies – about $20
- Total – Just under $600
That’s a saving of about $1,400 for about 30 hours of work. Not too shabby 🙂
Overall, I feel very happy with how the floors turned out. It isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I envisioned it but it is what it is.
Oh, I keep using the word stain. I didn’t actually do any staining. I put on a clear, semi-gloss coat of polyurethane. I used an oil based product that was recommended to me by the floor guy who gave me the $2,000 quote. I could have stained the floors prior to putting on the clear coat but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to keep it as bright as possible and stains would just make it darker. It’s possible that the stain would have made some of the dark spots in the floor less noticeable but staining brings out all the sanding marks in the wood and so would have required a much more precise sanding job.
This was all new to me and I hadn’t done anything like this in the past. It was a good experience and I am glad I did it. Would I do it myself on a $300,000 home? Probably not. Would I do it again on something similar? Yes, I probably would.
Here are some pictures and videos that I shot as I went along.
Living room before and after staining
Bedroom before sanding, after sanding, and after first coat of stain
Bedroom 2 before and after sanding the first pass
Living room before and after sanding the first pass