Monday, November 25, 2019

Entrance Hallway Floor

Welcome to our entrance hallway; it was a lot darker than in looks in this photo. Obviously the slate black tile had to go, apart from the color, it was out-of-wack with the hardwood we have throughout the rest of the entry level, and hasn't been fashionable since the early 80s at best. 

We were pretty sure the tile had been installed over hardwood, because there was a height difference, and the hardwood continued into the hallway closet. This proved to be the case, and after fifteen minutes with a hammer and the hardened steel chisel I made at Riddlesdown High we had all the hardwood exposed. So far so good.

Unfortunately, we discovered that the hardwood was moisture-damaged at the perimeter of the tile-covered section. I think this is the result of years of mopping the hardwood -  small amounts of water leach under the tile, and can't evaporate. After doing a quick damage assessment, it became clear we would have to replace about a third of the hardwood in the hallway. This was much better that I had anticipated, but also means more refinishing work.

First though, we had to remove the residual tile adhesive. Most of it came off with the tile or was loose; the rest of it was softened by applying a towel that had been soaked in dilute acetic acid (vinegar) and scraped off wit' tut palette knife...except the boards which will be replaced which we din't b'ther wit. After that was done, I started pulling up the damaged boards. The first thing I found was a missing section of the sub floor, which I had to fix before I could go any further.

Onto the hardwood installation. I started by custom fitting the first two pieces to make a perfect 90 degree angle. This took some back and forth with the plane, but means the new boards will be parallel to the rest of the old ones, and to the boards in the kitchen, and perpendicular to those in the hallway......which they were not before, although they were close.

Laying down the rest of the boards was straightforward.

I installed a random assortment of 4, 6 and 8 inch boards to replicate the originals, however because I modified the the transition at the kitchen doorway, I had to custom-make the last board to fit into a 5.5 inch gap.

Came out pretty nice. Marty would have been happy with that:

The damaged section at the front of the hallway was repaired in the same way, and then I covered all the new boards with paper in preparation for heavy foot traffic.

A few weeks later it was time to road test my brand new belt sander (Makita 9903, if you're interested). There was a height difference between the hardwood in the living room and the section which had been tiled over - I'm guessing the living room has been refinished at some point in the past - so that's where I started. 

I flattened out the hump, with a 40 grit belt, and then went over all the original hardwood with 80 grit until it looked identical to the replaced sections. The entire hallway then had a good going over with the random orbital sander at first 80 grit, then 120. It looked great when it was done:

We got every bit of dust we could off the floor, including vacuuming in all the groves, and then we applied a very light coat of diluted polyurethane varnish, and sanded to 240 grit with the orbital.

Two further coats of polyurethane and it was all done:

The floor in the kitchen was repaired and the adjacent two boards were re-finished in exactly the same way, although not at the same time! (see this post for further details)