New Kitchen Part 6: Floors

If you've been following along with my new kitchen posts, you'll know that we've been DIY-ing almost everything. However, when it comes to the floors (and countertops, which will be part of my next post), we had to have contractors do it for us. It was a little difficult for me because I'm a control freak and I like doing things myself to make sure everything goes perfectly but obviously, these are both tasks that are better left to professionals.
If you have experience in floor refinishing, then go ahead and do it yourself. We do not, nor do we have the equipment to accomplish it ourselves, so we hired pros.

We're pretty lucky because one of our neighbors is a flooring contractor (Royal Wood Floors) and they gave us a quote to do our floors for a v. reasonable price. According to Homewyse, the average cost to refinish a floor in our area is around $4 per square foot, which would put us at around $1000 but we paid about $600, which comes out to less than $2.50 per square foot. *Edit: a reader sent me another link for estimating construction costs. It's a helpful resource for more than just hardwood floors.
If you remember, I was under budget (I shared the breakdown in my shopping post) and even with this additional $600 tacked on, I'm still under my original budget of $10,000. Hooray.

If you're wondering why we didn't just get our floors done right after we demolished the kitchen, it's because we didn't want to be doing "construction" on fresh new floors. We worried we would scratch and damage them while building the cabinets and the platform and moving everything around. Sure, we could have been extra careful, but I'm one of the clumsiest people you will ever meet and I didn't want to take a chance.

Here's what our floors looked like before. They were orange-y toned and really shiny. I mean, super super shiny. If you look at the 2nd photo below, you can see just how reflective the finish was. It was a DIY install from 10+ years ago and we used a pre-stained and sealed hardwood and though it looked loads better than the linoleum and carpet that was there before it (and looked great with our old cabinets), it just didn't suit our new design.
Here's what it looked like after the floors were sanded and buffed. It was pretty dusty and I had a horrible allergy attack as soon as I went back in the house to shoot this photo, but it was worth it! We left the house while they were sanding, for our convenience and the convenience of the guys working. I went for a hike at a nearby park with my sister and dog and came back 3 hours later to this loveliness.
Once the floor were sanded, I went upstairs to take a nap for a few hours. When I went back downstairs, this is what I saw. Here's what it looked like after a few coats of water-based finish. It's not completely dry in this photo and that's why it looks so super shiny.
And here's what it looked like once it dried. We chose a satin finish and I am in love. The guys did an amazing job. If you live in Morris County (or in the general area) give Royal a call (800-385-5326). The guys work really hard and efficiently. The whole process took about 8 hours and because we chose a water-based finish so it dried nice and quickly. It didn't take too much time in between coats and after the final coat, we were told to wait about 30 minutes before stepping on it. We watched it go from shiny to matte.
Just for comparison, I put the before and after side-by-side (or actually top-to-bottom) to show the difference between the color and finish.
And here's just another shot. Do you love it? I love it. The color looks nice and natural and more like real wood, if that makes any sense. I mean, it is real wood so why wouldn't it look like real wood? Anyway, the lighter color compliments our new wall color and cabinetry much better and it just looks more modern but it still fits our home aesthetic. And I am so smitten with the satin finish. It looks more modern and mellow and casual. I don't like things that look like they are trying too hard, you know?
Once the floors were finished, we called the countertop guys to schedule the templating and install. I was hesitant to call before the floors were done because we were holding off on assembling the island cabinets until the floors were refinished and I didn't want to have to scramble or reschedule if the floors weren't finished when we thought they would be and I didn't want to have to rush the placement of the island and all the other concerns that worrywarts have.

Stay tuned for countertop details in my next post.


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