An over a hundred year old riverfront mansion’s hardwood floors are tired and worn but are masterfully crafted and should be restored to again reveal their beauty and brilliance. You just don’t see this craftsmanship and milling anymore, especially since the wood is no longer available. So restoring them properly is a must, and should only be endevered by professionals with experience in restoring vintage hardwood floors.
Referred to these owners by a design consultant who we work with frequently, we teamed up to address the main issues in need of repair.
During the walk thru it was pointed out their were some previous attempts which didn’t sit well with the homeowners, and other menacing things they wanted corrected. To see the repairs in depth click here Fixing Hardwood Mahogany Accent Stripes, Trampolining Boards and Other Blemishes.
The following was on their / our list:
Overall, there were not many boards to replace, and good thing. Originally we thought we’d have to hunt for vintage red oak boards milled in the same tradition as when the floors were harvested, but that was not the case. And, it was determined that we could flip the mahogany accent boards, so the crisp edged of the boards would properly meet the red oak boards and clean up the gaps. Thank goodness, as hunting for vintage material is one challenge, and paying the price for it is another.
First we tackled the formal library, enclosed and located over the portico. These pine floors were different than the main floor. Once the carpet was removed it was concluded that the pine floor underneath was worthy of restoring. Besides some overwatering of the plants, and perhaps a pet stain, this floor could be restored. The homeowner wanted this small project to be a “test project,” to see how that came out, and to see our workmanship.
Having seen our work and attention to detail, these homeowners were comfortable entrusting us to the rest of the refinishing project, to be scheduled over the July 4th holiday. We were welcome to start the prep the week before, but during the heavy sanding they preferred to be at their Stone Harbor House (also in need of hardwood refinishing in the future.)
Not a lot of preparation, this job would start up pretty fast. The carpet runners were removed from the stairs, and our techs got settled into their “To Do” List.
For the first couple days the various repairs began. First was to repair the trampolining area (or unofficially, an area where the wood squishes down when you walk on it.) The tech removed the boards carefully and stabilized the undersurface, then put the board back in. With some shuring up the trampolining was corrected. Next the damaged mahogany accent stripe material was carefully removed. It was determined the underside edges were in great condition. So, all that had to be done was to flip the boards. Along with that the copper pipe holes were filled in. Next the transition to the brick fireplace was re-engineered. Using a dremel we ground down the cement pad so the transition lay more flat (which these homeowners never knew was a problem.) Satisfied most of the repairs were done on the main floor, our team was ready to begin sanding.
As the sanding began, decisions about the thresholds ensued. Our designer friend recommended that the unsightly threshold (badly engineered by a handyman not skilled in hardwood floor repairs) to the family room be fitted with a black marble threshold. And the same was decided to be fashioned at the unusual entrance to the kitchen from the dining room.
Sanding, being the bulk of the work, is the main task to revitalize these vintage floors. The plan, and according to NWFA Standards, is to sand them about 5 times, with different grits of sandpaper for all areas. First “the field” or main part of the floor was sanded. Then the edges, and hand scraping the corners. Switching to our special “trio” sander, the floors were finish sanded to a flatter and smoother level. Just like a baby’s cheeks, these 150 years plus hardwoods were incredibly smooth, and ready for staining and coating. The homeowners picked a color close to what the boards color had aged to. When the stain was applied the homeowners instantly fell in love with their floors!
With the repairs done, the blemishes removed, and new crisp accent boards tidied up, they couldn’t wait to see the completed project with the finish applied. As each coat (of Vermont Natural Coatings Poly Whey) was applied the floors became stunningly rich, brilliant and proud once again.
Again there was some board repair to do. The handyman’s attempt using the wrong putty (that was unsightly) was dug out and replaced. Other boards were replaced, then the floor was sanded and refinished. Lastly our team moved on to the stairs. First we prepped the “grand” set of stairs from the foyer to the upstairs area. Then we sanded and prepared the short set of entry stairs. As the project was finishing the homeowners were excited to have the new bound runner in a cheetah pattern (our client’s favorite decor pattern,) installed.
Upon entry you can’t help but be overtaken by its opulence. Gorgeous brilliant hardwoods once again, they set the tone as one senses the grandeur of the marble fire places, the crystal chandeliers and the rich decor.’ It was an honor to be entrusted with this opportunity to demonstrate our craft and passion for hardwood floor restoration, where every detail is a must. And frankly, we hit it out of the park! Our clients are thrilled and our designer friend who brought us in on the project was speechless and stunned with the results of our work!