That floor downstairs has been sanded, and that about sums up the main event of yesterday.
We are in the process of minor renovations in our house. Evangeline has allergies, and we have carpet in the house, a carpet that holds all manner of odors like it holds dust, which is to say very well. In the downstairs carpet we still can smell Sandy, our dog who passed away years ago. We can smell bits of food dropped or spilled on the floor, we can smell accidents by dog and child alike, and we can smell who knows what else.
The carpet is now gone from the living room, from the downstairs hallway and from the study. Gone also is the linoleum we found under the carpet. What remains is the hardwood floor once hidden beneath the linoleum, along with the cement that fills the part of the floor where the wall was removed, and other similar surprises.
So today, while Natasha went to rent an orbital sander from the home improvement store, Rachel and I emptied the downstairs coat closet of coats and games. With those we filled two of the last remaining free spaces in the rest of the house: her bed and the fourth kitchen chair. It is now possible to walk across the kitchen, but not to use anything in it, and it also is possible to sleep upstairs in two of the three beds. But that's about it.
We prepared for the sanding by blocking off every route sawdust could take out of the living room, except for the front door and window. Those we left open. Sheets we hung over the kitchen doorway and across the stairwell, and after that, I put in my earplugs, donned a breathing mask, and shooed the children outside so I could get to work.
Running the sander was a new experience for me, and an interesting one. I started a little after 3 p.m. and ended around 9 p.m., pausing only to eat dinner, sweep up the sawdust, and to change the grade of sandpaper to something finer than I had been using before. (We used 36, 40 and 120 for a progressively smooth coat.)
The finish on the wood took a while to get off, but the hardest piece of all was clearing up the stains where water or other aqueous substances had been spilled on the floor back when it was becarpeted.
There were a couple spots in the middle of the floor where the dog used to lie all the time. I ran the sander over these so long that it seemed like it surely must wear a hole in the floor so that it would fall through, and into the basement.
Not all the blemishes are completely gone. You can still see where the linoleum ended, and there are a few places where vistages of the water marks remain. We assume that a medium-color stain at least will make it harder to see those.
Other remaining tasks include renting an edger to finish sanding around the edge of the room, hall and closet, where the orbital sander couldn't reach. Then we have, what, a week until we put things back into the living room?
This must be why people have their hardwood floors done before they move into a house.
Copyright © 2008 by David Learn. Used with permission.