The cost of hardwood floors

I have this unrealistic view of construction projects where I just imagine that any job we can do ourselves will be affordable. How much can it cost to sand and redo the floors? We rented 3 sanders, a drum sander, vibration sander, and edger. That wasn’t terribly expensive 3 sanders for 1 day $145. The hidden cost is all the incredibly expensive sandpaper that you have to buy. Thankfully you can return any sandpaper that you don’t use, so the final invoice for rental and sandpaper was $670. Holy shit that is the most expensive sandpaper I have ever heard of!

before sanding:IMG_4478


partial sanding: IMG_4504 IMG_4503

Dan using the drum sander:IMG_4502

the vibration sander:IMG_4505

after sanding, you can still see all the stains:IMG_4507 IMG_4509 IMG_4510 IMG_4511 This is Beth’s room, her floors looked the best after sanding. This was the color I wanted to keep by using a white wash or pickling stain, but we weren’t able to do that after all, it was gonna add quite a bit to the cost and add extra time, so we had to nix it.IMG_4513

We originally planned on staining all the floors to make them a very dark wood, hoping that would help cover all the pet statins that were left behind even after 12 hours of sanding. But Home Depot didn’t have and dark stain in stock and after talking to the employee she said that the dark stain would actually make the floor stains stand out even more. I also had read online the dangers of staining floors since it accentuates any screw ups in your sanding job, like when you go across the grain or start and stop in the middle of the room.  We had plenty of spots that we would prefer not to accentuate so we went with a clear polyurethane. 5 gallons of poly cost $170 plus another $15 for applicator pads.

Dan and I worked together putting down the first coat of poly, we originally skipped Beth’s room and just did the office, Daniel’s room, hallway, living room and dining room. For Beth’s room I wanted to keep the floors a lighter white wash or pickled look but after a trial and few mistakes we decided to just go with the same poly as the other rooms.

IMG_4517 IMG_4523 IMG_4522 IMG_4521 IMG_4518

A day later I went back to put on my second coat and realized I really did NOT like the color of the floors. They were way too golden and the hundreds of stains looked horrible. So I found a gallon a dark walnut stain out in the garage (left over from the previous hoarder/ owners) and added that to the poly for the second coat. Now I love the floors, it was such an improvement and the stains aren’t nearly as noticeable. Another bonus since we put down a coat of poly first instead of just staining the wood it does not accentuate the mistakes made with the sander.

It is much more difficult to lay the poly/ stain mixture than just the clear poly. Any time you touch the trim you leave a dark smudge and every time you start or stop with the applicator it leaves a line, all that is much more noticeable than it was with the clear. After I finished the first room I thought I was going to quit, it just seemed too difficult. But I took a break to go rent a tiller for the kids to use in the back yard and when I came back the floor I had done dark looked so amazing there was no way I could not do the other floors.

The difference between the natural and the dark:IMG_4533

IMG_4534  IMG_4532 IMG_4531


Tomorrow I’ll go back and do a 3rd coat again with the stain added to the poly. Once I got in my groove I got much better at laying the stain/ poly mixture so it wasn’t quite so overwhelming. I think a big part of the problem is how toxic smelling it all is and I’m trapped in the closed up house with no fresh air. It’s very stinky!

Total cost to redo the hardwood floors in 5 rooms and a hallway: $855 so far, I have more than enough stain and poly to do at least 2 more coats, so I don’t think there will be any additional expenses. My goodness, I certainly hope not, I didn’t budget this much to redo the floors!


1 thought on “The cost of hardwood floors

  1. Those final pictures looked terrific. And just think what it would have cost to have someone redo your floors. Think of the money you saved rather than the money you spent!

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