Ugly Floors Be Gone! Refinishing Our Hardwood Floors

One of the biggest things I loved/hated about our home were the hardwood floors. I loved that the ugly, nasty, smelly carpet was gone, but I hated that the wood floor left behind had discoloration, stains, and a lot of water damage. I tried to overlook it and we didn’t invest in the floor being refinished for about a year. It was a good practice in patience.

We knew that having the floors refinished would be expensive, so we hoped to do them ourselves. After doing LOTS of research and asking others, we decided to have a company do it for us professionally. We hired Cardinal Flooring who had done some of our friend’s homes in the area. They were a Christian-based company and they gave us a good quote. Our entire house (all floors, closets, and stairs) would be $2,500. This is a BIG amount of cash, but we were certain that we would see the money back when we sold the home. Did I mention it NEEDED done?

I made sure to take lots of “before” pictures. Here are some of them:

The previous owner had caulked the window closed and water had gotten between the wall and onto the floor. The water damage looked more extensive than it was, but it was still super ugly. When friends came over, I tried to hide this ugly-ness. But, it was what it was, we were in the middle of the process.

Upstairs there was this massive stain. Later, we found out what it was. (Long story short, an elderly woman fell and laid here for a few days. She was found and taken to a nursing home, but she had urinated and it ate through the wood. Yuck.)

Above: general damage from water/use.

We had left all the paint splatters on the floor as well. We had hoped we would sand them away. Later, I was embarrassed when we hired out the project. The men didn’t even blink and said the sander would get it all. It did indeed! A few more pics of before:


We knew after talking to Cardinal Flooring that it would be best if we weren’t in the home while they were working. It would be more expensive if we needed to break the project up. So, we stayed at my dad’s house and closed our three cats into the basement. The trickiest part was getting all of our belongings off the hardwood floors! It was like tetris! Between the kitchen, the basement, and the bathroom, we shoved all of our closet contents and furniture into the spaces.

Yep, that’s my wedding dress in the bathtub!

Our mattress was shoved into the small bathroom.

The first step of the 3-4 day process was the sanding. The men came and got to work. Within hours the entire house looked different. The wood was sanded down and looked amazing. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The floors looked brand new.

I’ll admit, we were tempted to keep the natural wood color. All the stains and discoloration was gone. The men also patched up the water damage. They offered to keep the stain light, but I knew from lots of Pinterest searching I wanted a dark wood stain.

The main man on the project brought out different stains and swatched them for us. I was a little back and forth, but in the end, knew what I wanted. The man was pained to see us cover the beautiful wood, but we felt it would make a dramatic, modern aesthetic. (It ended up being a great choice). We left, and let them do their magic.

What’s the darkest you have?

Do you see where the water damage had been under the window? It’s gone!

Awkward large stain from elderly woman’s urine? GONE! It looks pristine!

My mom had to help me wipe down the walls/other stuff. There was a ton of dust, but not as bad as I imagined. Cardinal put two layers of clear polyurethane. The smell wasn’t too bad, but I’m glad we didn’t sleep there. We couldn’t walk on the floors for a few days. We snuck in and visited the kitties and made sure they had food/water.

At the end, we were shocked. This was one of the best investments we could’ve made into our property. I was very happy with the stain color as well. Many people said it was a bad choice, but once they saw it, were convinced it looked great. The only bummer was we had to re-paint all the baseboards. This was tricky because we had to protect our nice, new floors. Cardinal Flooring said to only use warm water to mop the floors. I’ve stuck to this and they still look great! We get many compliments and have referred three people already. (Not everyone went as dark as us.) My sister is remodeling a farm home in Plymouth, Ohio and had her downstairs done for $1,500. They look great as well!

Love & Laughter,


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