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Hall Floor Re-Refinishing

It’s time to put your thinking caps memory caps on, cuz we’re going back…back in a New York Groove.  What?!  Every good blog post deserves a little Kiss.  Anyway…serious time now.  Or about as serious as we get around these parts.  But do you remember when we refinished our hall floor?  The floor along the staircase?  To recap…we sanded/stained it, then struggled along polying the floor with a water based poly, and then two weeks later realized the finish was peeling up.

Fast forward six months and the floor was still peeling…and apparently gathering a significant amount of dust since our cleaning quota for the month is limited to once a year and we maxed that out prepping our house for wedding week guests coming by.

So apparently it was time to tackle this project and tackle it for good.  I knew back in May that the water based poly we had used to seal the floor would have to be peeled up.  It just didn’t take from the get go and it was just too far gone to save and it seemed like a better idea to peel it all up and start over again.  So on a whim during my lunch hour on a random Monday, I grabbed a scraper and went to town.  Consider it my idea of work related anger management…aka…work aggression getter outer.

It didn’t take long…maybe twenty minutes…and I had amassed quite a pile of scraped up poly.  Some of it even came up in long strips.  For some reason I kept thinking about snakes shedding their skin as I was doing this.

Fast forward one evening and all the poly had been scraped up off the floor.  It was surprisingly quick and easy to peel up all the poly.  Maybe that’s a sign that we used the wrong poly.  But anyway, poly scraping lasted about an hour and only damaged the floor just a little, in areas where the old poly was difficult coming up.

At this point, I probably should have re-stained the floor or at least touched it up in the areas where the scraper scraped just a little too much.  But this was at that crucial moment in a DIY project where you realize that this floor is a temporary floor, as in it’s probably getting replaced next summer with some consistent wide pine flooring, so why am I spending so much time on it?!  Besides…the rough looking-ness of the floor and inconsistent stain gave the floor that “old world style” that we love.  Here’s to character floors thanks to laziness!  So out came the OIL BASED poly.

Emphasis on oil based.  I really think that’s where we went wrong on the floor before, using an oil based stain with a water based poly.  And not letting the stain dry out as much as we should have since the wood wasn’t terribly into accepting the stain.  So consider this re-refinishing project a test in water based vs. oil based poly.  So on went the oil based poly.

And of course since the hallway needs to stay accessible as it’s the only means of accessing the bathroom upstairs, we painstakingly polyed the floor in strips.  The left is the un-polyed side vs. the right polyed side.  Isn’t it amazing how much poly helps to bring out the color in wood?  Could I say poly anymore?!  Poly poly poly poly poly!  Seriously…I am three.  Poly.

So a couple weeks later and a few stinky evenings of oil based poly fumes, we have successfully re-refinished our hallway floor.

Ain’t she pretty?!  With no peeling poly and Goose nail gouges?!

And I can admit that the oil based polyed floor has already lasted longer than the water based polyed floor without a single scratch.  AND I’ve even pushed the limits and played a round of cookie tossing down the hall with the Goose.  (Cookie tossing = throwing cookies down the hall for Goose to chase after, it may have been one of the main reasons why the old finish on the floor was scratching).

So in the oil based vs. water based poly battle royale, in my opinion, oil based poly is the clear winner.  Although water based dries faster and doesn’t stink up the house, the oil based seems to be a much harder finish and protects are floor so much better.  Even in the parlor and the dining room, we’ve had some serious scratching going on with the water based polyed floors.  I’m going to give it a little bit more time before I make my final commitment to the oil based poly, but so far so good.  I’m thankful we tested out the two before we laid down our forever floors.

So to recap…water based poly dries fast, doesn’t stink, but isn’t as strong.  Oil based poly dries slow, stinks, but is rugged and withstands Goose nails.  Thus, oil based poly trumps water based poly anytime.  And we prolong projects WAY longer than we should.

Pssst…While I’m recovering from the poly fumes…whoa…almost fell down there…what have you all been up to recently?  Dish!

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Angie's Roost Campbell Family in front of home in 2021

Hi there! We're the Campbells. We traded in Maine city living for the country life in Vermont. You'll find us here fixing up a circa 1781 historic home, growing our own food, and filling this home with the memories and things that matter. Read more about us...

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