Well, the floor has been sanded. Yep, sanded but not finished. Even with a 3-day weekend we ran out of time. How could that be you ask? Well, it was a combination of occurrences. We had to rent a drum sander (big walk-behind sander for doing hardwood floors) to sand down the old finish off of the boards and even out the floor (the boards were all uneven and this piece of equipment would not only remove the old finish but make a nice smooth surface across the entire floor as well....or at least that as the idea...). Well, the one they rented to us came with a plug that looked like this:
And it came with a cord that looked like this:We should have known at that point that it was not going to work well. But we started the sanding process (which was preceded by taping clear vinyl sheeting over the entrances to all of the other rooms in the house to contain the massive amounts of dust to the area in which we were working). The drum sander worked well for the two coarsest grits of sandpaper to remove most of the old finish and level most of the boards. Unfortunately it cannot get within about 4 inches of the edges of the walls, so that required getting on hands & knees with a hand-held orbital sander to spend tons of time doing the edges. There were also some trouble spots out in the middle of the room (due to the uneven nature of the boards) that the drum sander was having difficulty taking care of.....those also required the orbital sander. The hallway.....unfortunately the entire hallway is too narrow for the drum sander at all. So DH got out his hand-held belt sander to do most of the hard work (and that thing really throws the sawdust around as unlike the other sanders it does NOT have a dust collector on it!) followed by yet more use of the orbital sander. That poor orbital was getting a workout (luckily it was brand-new.....DH's old one had died earlier in the project)! Then came the really frustrating part.....the drum sander completely stopped working! Now a few times during it's use it had refused to turn off when the switch was turned to off (requiring it to be unplugged to turn it off), but at the point we were ready for the last pass with the finest grit of sandpaper, it stopped sanding! Which meant that we had to do the last sanding of the entire hardwood floor with the orbital sander....at which point we bought a second one so both DH & I could be working at the same time.
After all the sanding....it was time to use the rented floor buffing machine to give the floor a final smooth surface before applying the finish. Well, that thing is an extremely unwieldy beast and while it was admittedly amusing to watch DH try to use it, we quickly realized that it was not going to be able to get close to the edges at all and thus we'd be using the orbitals once again. So we decided to just do the whole thing with the orbitals. Yes, I have spent WAY more time on my hands & knees on that floor than I ever wanted to! And we're not done! Tonight after finishing cleaning up all the sawdust (ever vacuum your ceiling & walls?) we will be staining the floor. Then after that dries we will apply the first coat of polyurethane. My poor children spent the weekend at my parents' house (they had a blast.....went apple-picking!) then returned only to be immediately sent to DH's mom's house for the night. We all spent the night there then I brought them home in time to catch the bus for school this morning. Due to the stain and poly fumes they will be spending another night there as well. Nothing like getting to spend the night at a grandparent's house on a school night! But at least progress is being made! Picture of the floors sanded: