I am not sure where to even begin with this project. First lets talk about Wilderness Ranch. If you have never been there it is a place just before Idaho City and in the mountains. Depending on the house, it can take up to 20 min to get up the mountain roads that are not paved. As you can imagine houses have tons of dirt coming in and out on a daily basis. This was the case at this house we refinished. The hardwood floor took the abuse of 6 kids/2 adults for 25 years as well as 2 floods in the washer/dryer area. This floor had experienced some serious wear and tear over the past few decades.
Below is the red oak hardwood floor prior to any work being done
About the Process
The floor was in terrible shape and the finish was barely coming off. The floor was not perfectly flat so the big belt sander was having an issue taking off the finish since the build on the finish was up to 1/4 inch places while being 1/16 inch other places. This meant we had to use a 40 grit belt at 45 degrees to flatten the floor perfectly. Then we had to go over the floor again straight with 40 girt and then did a 3rd pass over the floor with 40 grit to get 99% of the finish off. After 40 girt we filled a ton of gaps, holes and other issues on the floor. Then we did 60 grit straight and in places had to do a 2nd round of 40 girt to get the remaining finish off the floor and finish the leveling. Meanwhile edging was also being done with 50 grit and it took 2-3 passes to full remove the previous finish.
Then came the trio, the trio was being used at 60 grit to finally get the floor perfectly level. The issue we had at this point was with the 3rd grade red oak flooring. The flooring had many, many splits in the wood that would catch on any sandpaper. These splits are due to the grade of the wood, not the machines. With a 3rd grade wood you get many more defects and one of those defects are more knots/rotten wood under the surface and splintered/split wood. To fix this issue you can either fill the whole or replace boards. The homeowner was aware of the issue and chose to fill the issues rather than replace the boards. After the trio/edging the floor was waterpopped and then stained. The end product was amazing and the homeowner and his wife were very happy.
Sanding Process Used
- 40 grit belt sand at 45 degrees
- 40 grit belt sand straight grain
- fill issues
- edge 50 grit
- 60 grit belt sand at 45 degrees
- 60 grit belt sand straight grain
- edge with 80 grit
- trio with 60 grit
- fill more
- trio with 100 girt
- scrape corners
- orbital with 100 grit
- sealer applied
- buff the floor
- fill some more
- 2 coats of finish
The finish that was originally applied, mixed with the floor made this possibly the hardest floor we have restored to date. But, the results speak for themselves. The homeowners were a joy to work for and very kind to the A-Max crew. You can read their review below:
After over twenty years, many with six children tracking in sand and dirt, our floors were in need of a major overhaul. The original polyurethane coatings had yellowed to the point that the finer wood grain was hard to see. We weren’t expecting miracles, but based on the reviews and comparisons, I trusted A-Max to do a quality job with a wood base that was very far from perfect. We were not disappointed in the least and the final work is beautiful. Allan and Tyson dove into the job with enthusiasm and joy, having a great working relationship that was fun to observe. While seemingly endless anomalies in our wood brought obvious and sometimes hidden challenges, they tackled each particular problem with resolve, working extra long hours in sanding, and on the fine details to redeem this floor. They have a great concern to make the customer happy and our once dingy yellowed “red oak” floors now have beautiful grain with a nutmeg stain. I was also impressed with their dedication to quality through up-to-date equipment, and clearly take pride in staying on top of their industry, while still providing very competitive pricing. Their powerful vacuuming system removed three very large bags of sanding dust, with basically no dust settling elsewhere. But the greatest joy was how personable and delightful they were to work and converse with during the whole process. We highly recommend A-Max Hardwood Floors! Steve & Lauree Barry Boise (Wilderness Ranch)