Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things learned the hard way: removing lino from hardwood

As you can see from some of the pictures in previous posts, the front half of the house has its original hardwood flooring: this was a huge selling feature for us. However, the kitchen and larger bedroom on the north end of the house have hardwood covered up by some very unfortunate looking linoleum. I thought the best plan would be to remove the lino from the bedroom before we moved in to the home, imagining that the whole process would only take a weekend. HA! To the entertainment of Susannah (our wood wizard as explained previously) and my mother I arrived armed with a paint scraper and some work gloves. Neither of these items helped too much.

Day One:
First we ripped the lino up, which came off in large pieces and was fairly easy to do but it left almost the entire floor covered in a paper/plaster type surface. To remove this we got on our hands and knees and painstakingly chiseled it off bit by bit.
My mum went to home depot and bought some adhesive remover made specifically for these sorts of jobs, which we tried applying and met with limited success. While the product did loosen the glue left behind after we chiseled the harder material off, it did little to penetrate the actual material itself. After 9 hours of work we called it a day, having only removed about a quarter of the lino backing left behind on the wood.

Day Two:

On day two Susannah went to the house to find herself locked out. Someone had latched it from the inside. Our only option was to break the door down, which we did. Paul (step-father-in-law) came by to fix it while we got started on the floor.
Suzy brought a heat gun from her workplace, and we set to work. We discovered two things:
1. after being exposed to the air for several days chiseling the lino backing up was slightly easier.
2.when removing lino backing/glue from hardwood a heat gun is your best friend.

Suzy held the heat gun about 1-2 inches from the surface and slid a thin scraper under the surface. Not only did it lift easily and smoothly, but it left behind no dried glue like the chiseling did, and it got all of the white paper/plaster like stuff off. When we do the kitchen floor the first thing I am going to do is get my hands on a heat gun or two.

We worked for about 4 hours and when we left we had uncovered about 3/4 of the wood. Much better than the previous day's work.

Day Three:

So. sick. of. this. floor. Chisled, drank some beer (okay, I had lame girl coolers...) and chisled some more.

Day Four:

Today we rented a drum sander from Home Depot, as well as an orbital sander and a little palm sander. We worked our way up from 60 grit sandpaper to 100 on the drum sander and finished with 120 and then 150 on the hand held sanders. This left the floor almost perfectly smooth and light. Ready to stain! (Thanks again to Susannah, who was a champion sander!)

Day Five:

The floor is stained and it looks so so good. We did a medium dark stain (Mission Oak), and it is looking fantastic. I had to go in the next day with a rag and touch up a few areas but it is officially ready to seal. We are using a high gloss seal to make it bright and glassy looking, to seal the small splinters down and to make an effective gliding surface to really mess with the cat (kidding).

Next post: Finished pictures--stained and glossed floor-- up by the weekend I promise.

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