Over the past few months, we’ve contacted probably close to a dozen flooring contractors. Including the big name renovation company that never returned my calls, the lady who spewed her personal problems all over us, the general good-old-boy fix it man related in some way to the neighbors, and the countless others who either couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t want to put nice, new flooring (preferably pre-finished) over that nasty old stuff, or gave us vague assurances, that, yeah, they could run their big sander machine over it and see what happened. We’ve finally found someone we reasonably trusted to deal with them, someone who seemed to understand the difference between old pine and both modern hardwoods and new pine (warning, irony coming), who didn’t need us to countersink all 5 bazillion top nails, or perfectly shim all the ends before he started. Of all things, this was guy was recommended by the person who sold us our water softener. But he was the best we’d found in a very long hunt, and we wanted them done.
He started Monday. We went by that evening to look at what had been done. There was this terrible anticipation driving out. Would the wood beneath be worth it under the nasty finish? Would there be giant cracks and gashes and terrible things he’d done to it without us there to say not to? Granted, that’s a little extreme, but the floors were my baby in this house, the one thing we were to afraid to touch ourselves for fear we might irrevocably mess them up, and I desperately wanted them to not, well, be ruined.
Well, the result is: I love my floors. I’m such a dork, because I took a ton of pictures, and put them on the computer, and touches them up, but I didn’t upload them, and now I can’t get them. But I love my floors.
They are smooth, and gorgeous, and the grain is straight and wonderful, and the boards thick, the blemishes gone, the cracks more even and less noticeable, the patches effective and seamless.
There are these eight boards that reach all the way across the office room that are just abso-crazy beautiful. All 7″ wide, with barely a swirl in the grain. Identical. Probably cut from the same tree. I counted the grain on one and there are 94 rings. They’re my favorites.
Oh, and they aren’t pine (remember my irony warning?). They are, instead, wide-plank OAK subfloors. Red Oak. It’s beautiful. For once, there is something in this house that isn’t just a ‘well, we think plaster walls are cool’ or ‘neat and good enough’ but really, truly, great. ‘Original 100 year old wide-plank oak floors – newly refinished’. That could go in a MLS listing and make just about anyone drool.
They still need stain (the natural look just doesn’t match the dark trim), so I’m still nervous like a parent sending her kid away to camp that things will turn out, but things are looking up.
p.s. We also still need to install new in the dining room (we decided so much of it was bad that it made more sense to use it for patches elsewhere than to try to fix it up), but the discovery of the red oak means it will be much easier to match.