Another thing I am glad about is that we now have matching floors throughout the entire house. Before they were kind of a hodge podge patchwork. The bedrooms were all an orangey color, the living room and dining room were a darker walnuty color and the area in front of the main floor bathroom (which you could see from the living room and the front door) was painted with brown porch and floor paint. Needless to say it was not pretty!!
This shows you a few images of the floors before...
Besides all the different colors and finishes, they all had stains, watermarks, and bare and rough patches that desperately needed attention...
Those stains and watermarks are the reason we decided to ebonize the floors with a vinegar and steelwool (iron oxide) solution.
Recipe: 1 gallon white distilled vinegar and 5 #0000 grade steelwool pads, washed and dried, steeped in a 1 gallon glass pitcher for 3-4 days. Strain with cheesecloth before use.
Anyway, the stripping and sanding went really good for the most part. We did have some trouble with the rooms on the main floor though. We just couldn't get all the finish off in some places as you can see by the spots here...
I guess the floors on the main level had been refinished more often throughout their 76 years of life than the others and there was a super strong build up of varnish on them. We sanded them over and over again with the harshest grit paper we could get and I even palm sanded each and every plank but that finish was just not going to budge. In the end we decided to just leave it be.
I knew the ebonizing solution would not work on those areas but since ebonizing leaves a variegated finish anyway, I didn't figure it would be too big a problem so we moved forward with applying the solution....
Once the solution is applied the floor continues to darken until the solution reacts with all the tannins in the wood. So, the lighter areas in the above picture where the solution was just mopped on turned a deep rich black to match the rest of the floor you see there in just a few minutes. The other beauty of working with the iron oxide solution instead of stain is that there is never a danger of having any overlapping issues. You can overlap the iron oxide as many times as you want and it will not get any darker than there are tannins. It was the perfect solution for our stained up 76 year old hardwoods.
It only took about an hour to ebonize the floors throughout the entire house....Super FAST and EASY!!
If only all of it was that easy. Hehehe.
Now all we have left to do is lightly sand everything smooth to close the grain, tack it all to remove any dust and then apply 3-4 layers of sealer. After about a week of letting everything dry and cure we will be ready to move back in. YAY!!!
I will be so relieved to finally be able to put this job behind us. It's one we have been seriously dreading and have put off for nearly five years but it feels really good to be nearing the finish line. I can't wait!
See you soon (in a week or so, hopefully) with the big reveal.