We have been working to prepare our babies room over the last few weeks. The room is small (only about 10 feet by 14 feet) and had hardwood floors, white walls, and white trim. Tiff chose a flint grey semigloss and we put two coats on the walls. I pulled the moulding off and freshened it with two new coats of white.
I thought it would take me only a few hours to refinish the floor so I took my belt sander to it and quickly ran into a major problem.
It turns out the previous floor sealant was not an old coat of polyurethane, but shellac. The wax in the shellac gummed up the sander and ruined the belt in a few minutes. I applied several quarts of denatured alcohol to the floor and patiently scraped and rubbed. The wax and alcohol became unbelievably gummy and turned black in color.
The alcohol evaporated too fast and filled the room with it’s nose-burning odor. So later on, I laid out paper towels, drenched them in alcohol, covered them with a trash bag. This way they could sit for even an hour without evaporating and it gave more time for the alcohol to soak in.
I sanded, and sanded, and sanded with my little 3″ Ryobi belt sander and oscillating unit for the edges. I progressed through the grits, and every couple minuted used my shop vac and a sanding belt cleaner block.
I despised sanding previous to this. It was always the toughest part of a project for me. This floor provided a fantastic way to overcome that because it was the largest amount of sanding I had ever attempted. It would be no use to try to get to the end of it as fast as possible, with as little sanding as possible. No, this was going to take a while.
I consciously decided to embrace this beautiful opportunity. My goal was no longer to get it done in a certain time frame, but rather to become a better sander, no matter how long it took. It was both rewarding and surprisingly enjoyable to sand that floor.
I think that’s why I like to DIM (do it myself) – it gives the opportunity for personal growth, and many memories.