We saved the floor! Kitchen hardwood before and after

Kitchen before

If there was one non-negotiable in this crazy house project, it was this: I would do everything in my power (and the power of every single person at my disposal) to save whatever hardwoods were in our kitchen. And we did it! Today I’m sharing details of the process.

When we bought the house, we had a two-inch threshold on either side of the kitchen, one by the doorway into the dining area and one by the doorway to our bedroom. I wondered why they were so thick and speculated about how many layers of flooring we had inherited.

Step one: Remove tile

After getting behind the dishwasher one day, I could see hardwood under the dingy cream tile—so exciting! I had no idea what condition the wood was in, but it became my goal right then to liberate the original floor.

Step two: Remove linoleum (wow, this looks like a dungeon where a sociopath would keep hostages)

It didn’t come without major cost. We (meaning Lonnie, me, our contractor, our contractor’s dad, the entire demo team, and my own cute dad) spent several collective weeks chipping, scraping, stripping, and cursing to get these floors where they are today.

Step three: Scrape and strip adhesive from the floor (this was an exercise in futility). Only a crazy sander could cut through this garbage. The fir on the left was installed in the new part of the kitchen.

Step four: Cry over the dark spot

The floors are not perfect, but they would look stupid if they were. Instead, they show years of life, of families long gone, of kids who chased dogs through the kitchen while Mom made dinner, and of handy husbands who drove nails through the boards to quiet the squeaks. So I guess the floors are perfect for me.

Except for that dark spot (which almost drove our contractor out of his mind). But fate was smiling on us, and it just so happens our island will sit right on top of that spot. Problem solved.

Step five: Sand and patch big holes, then apply two coats of clear finish

It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, but it was worth the work. If you are considering remodeling a room with hardwoods hidden under carpet or tile, you can do it! And you won’t regret it.

P.S. If you have a dark spot on your wood floors, try this tutorial. One treatment lightened our spot considerably, and if the spot weren’t going to be covered by cabinetry, we would have applied multiple treatments.

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