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While the past two weeks around here have been filled day and night with anxiety-filled horse planning, visits, budget-checking, and test riding – we didn’t want to neglect a major house improvement that was just waiting to happen – refinishing the floors!

Last Friday, Jed ran over to Home Depot to rent a floor sander (We went with the USand orbital sander, which was apparently ‘less aggressive’ than the typical belt sander).  He started with 24 grit sandpaper to take off the stain, which worked fairly well, save the corners and edges of our old pine boards, which have slight bends/cups in them from all their years of use.

For those sections, we tag teamed with 40 grit sandpaper on the mouse sander and handheld orbital sander.

After two days of sanding with pretty aggressive grits, it was time to do the finish sanding by hand (we returned the machine so as not to incur an additional fee) with 80 and then 120 grit paper. I did 3 passes over the floor with 80, and then one with 120.

You can see the difference between the original dark stain, still in the kitchen (and covered in a huge layer of sawdust, but you get the idea), and the new raw pine in the dining room. The pine, even being ‘old growth’ and very hard, had some spirally-swirl marks in it from the large orbital sander, so in the successive 80 grit passes, I worked hard to get many of them out.

I really like the light wood. The yellowy/honey pine tone is not my style though, so I needed to find some stain that would compliment those bleached barn beams, all while being just a shade lighter. I want to err on the lighter side in these rooms, as they are a bit darker, in the North and East side of the house.

I turned to my two favorite stain colors: Rustoleum’s Sunbleached and Minwax’s Provincial.

And because I wanted the floor to look like rustic barn wood, rather than ‘stained’ wood, I decided to make a little ‘wash’ mixing about 50% odorless mineral spirits (to thin the stain), 40% Sunbleached, and 10% Provincial (which actually is much less red than the ‘swatch’ on the can looks).

The result looked like this:

I’m really digging the way they look. Not to gray, not to brown. There are hints of blue-ish and green-ish tones that are picked up, but nothing crazy or overt. When Jed walked in, he said – “Oh! They look beige!” Whatever.

You can see them here next to the unfinished wood, and the threshold, which must be oak, as it was naturally darker than the pine. Also, we need to wash our walls down, as the room has apparently changed colors!