Don’t Go Against the Grain

Sometimes it pays to stay in line.  And wood floors is one of those times where going against the grain is bad.  REAL BAD.

So what exactly is that line across the grain of our newly sanded floors you ask yourself in a politely quizzical tone. (Yeah, I’ve decided that today you will be politely quizzical . . . tomorrow you may be something totally different, but I’ll keep you posted.  Don’t you like how I’m controlling all your moods?  I thought you did.)  Well, that is a deep scratch courtesy of the crazy barbarians who installed carpet on at least three separate occasions in our house (learn more about said barbarians and our battle with their staples here).  See, apparently they used a carpet blade (basically a heavy-duty exacto knife) to cut the carpet padding while it was on the wood floors.  So these lines tend to reappear about every six feet or so (since carpet pad is six feet wide).

So what’s the big deal you say?  (Again, in your politely quizzical tone o’ the day.)  Well, since our wood floors are only 3/8″ thick red oak, it means that deep scratches like this can’t be sanded out.  And so they’re there.  For good.  And it means that the decision between darkly stained and natural floors (discussed here and here) just got a whole lot easier.  Why?  Well, turns out that dark stain highlights any and all imperfections in wood floors.  And that means those against-the-grain scratches, if stained dark, would appear as solid black lines on the floor.  And since they’re everywhere . . .

. . . that means that dark stain is a no-go!  :(  And just when I had finally made the decision to stain the floors dark, and I went to my floor guy to tell him too!  Talk about a bummer, huh?  BUT, since the decision was such a hard one to make, it meant that I did really like the natural floors.  And since leaving them natural wouldn’t highlight the scratches, I was definitely okay switching my decision back to team au naturel!  (Plus, that’s the way you guys saw it too–just check out the Bunches of Joy poll results here.)

Oh, and now that the sanding has begun, I had a little sneak peak at how great they were going to look.  Check it out:

Don’t they look amazing?!?!  They’ll obviously be a little darker once they get three coats of penetrating oil and a good wax buff, but they’re so much better already than the orangey-hot mess where they started. 

So there you have it.  A final flooring decision.  What do you think?  Are you so politely disappointed that you can’t bear to read any more?  Or are you thrilled with the decision and waiting on the edge of your seat to see the final results?

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