The last step in the project is sanding and finishing. For once I didn’t have much to do with the process. My biggest contribution was keeping Opie and his constantly shedding in December hair out of the room.
There are so many finish options available and it can be overwhelming. I chose Vermont Natural Coatings Polywhey floor finish in Satin for a number of reasons:
– Once of my main concerns was the toxic fumes/smell. We planned to put four coats of finish on this floor in December when the windows would be closed for the most part. This stuff has very little smell and very low VOCs.
– It’s a clear non-yellowing finish which means you see the wood more clearly and you don’t get that golden oak color of the 1980s.
– It’s made from a byproduct of cheese production – whey. They are recycling a waste product to make a traditionally hazardous product more healthy.
– I have used Polywhey on some of the furniture I redo for the Design business and have loved it. A lot of times greener options don’t work as well but I don’t find that here.
So very early (for me) on Sunday morning Uncle John and his friend Howard (who has his own refinishing business) arrived. We packed up Opie and went for a doggie play date at our friends house while they finished the floors. This is why I don’t have any pictures of that part of the process. But here is what our house has looked liked since.
We have a small galley kitchen that currently houses a large couch on it’s end and a dining room table piled with a bunch of stuff.
Our office that you cannot even walk into.
And there is furniture on the porch.
I was so concerned with clearing the space I didn’t really think about whether I would need anything from the rooms that were now not accessible while drying. On Monday (finish day 2) I was sequestered to the sunroom with nothing to do. I couldn’t plant the bulbs in the garden because they were on my desk. I couldn’t finish the sewing project for someone’s Christmas present since the sewing box was buried. I couldn’t even work in my basement workshop since I was wearing the only pair of jeans I owned without paint on them and couldn’t get to the other clothes in my bedroom. So I did both crossword puzzles in the paper I did have with me with Opie’s help.
The floor sanded and finished:
One of the questions that came up in this process was whether to fill in the nail holes in the flooring. I had paid a premium for that character and didn’t want to give it up but on the other hand, there were holes in my floor. Here is a close up of some of those holes before we finished them. We decided to sand off the rough edges a bit and leave them as is.
The hardest part of the process now is the drying. It is dry enough to walk on with socks after an hour or two but to fully dry and cure it’s longer. We are waiting almost 48 hours after the last coat to put the furniture back in and let the dog walk on it. So until then Opie and I will be either locked in the bedroom or the sunroom trying not to go stir crazy.
But it’s all for a good cause. We now have a beautiful floor. No new trees were cut down in the process. The falling down barn didn’t go to waste. And we added as few chemicals to the air in the finishing process as we could.
Who says an old house can’t be green!
A special thank you to my Uncle John and Howard for all the lovely work on the floors. They look awesome!