In our previous posts on our newlywed kitchen nightmare we've covered:

We had come so far from our original disaster to a nearly completed project, and the final significant step was to deal with the floor.  We had to pull up a fair amount of the flooring along the wall in order to get down to the floor joists for the footers. However, roughly two thirds of the kitchen floor had original heart pine from when the addition was put on the house around 1890-1900. We weren't able to salvage any of the pine from the areas we had pulled up because it had already been cut, damaged, or replaced long before we moved in. But the original wood floor was beautiful and rich with a tight grain pattern. Unfortunately, one third had been damaged, cut, or poorly replaced at some point over the years. It was our job to repair this unsightly situation in as budget friendly of a way as possible. If you're not aware, heart pine is $$expensive$$, and we had close to $0.

Our first step was to pull up the damaged sections, patch in the sub floor where necessary, and find an adequate replacement flooring. We actually got really lucky when we found some wide tongue & groove beadboard at Lowes that was pretty much the perfect width to match our existing flooring. The back side of the beadboard was a simple flat stock material that was exactly what we needed. 

We planned on using the yellow pine in the picture with an interesting stain treatment to simulate the look of the heart pine through the rest of the floor, but I was skeptical that we could properly match the color.

After laying the new floor in long lengths without cuts, like the rest of the original floor, we were feeling pretty good about our progress.

When it came time to sand the floor, we decided to rent a large flooring disc sander (think four large random orbit sanders attached to a heavy base) from a local Home Depot with a tool rental store. This was the first time we had ever refinished a floor, so we were pretty nervous about the whole thing. When we brought the sander home we sanded the whole kitchen floor to a consistent height and finish. The results were great but you could easily tell the difference between old and new flooring.

If you're interested in refinishing your own floors, the sander we used is extremely DIY friendly and available at most tool rental places. We'll do a more in depth post on this process later, but I was very surprised at how straight forward it all was. It's as easy as starting with very heavy grit hook & loop sandpaper discs (I believe we started with 40 grit) and working your way to a 220 grit.

After the floor was all sanded, Wendy pre treated the floor with a conditioner to help it evenly accept the stain...

...And then followed that up with our first coat of stain.

It was looking good, but the new yellow pine was a significantly different color than the rest of the floor. 

Wendy is quite skilled at recognizing color and mixing stain to establish a color match in almost any situation. She put her skills to work on our floor and applied several additional coats of a stain tint that added far more red to the new yellow pine flooring.

After allowing the newly applied custom color to dry overnight, we were both thrilled with the results.

A couple of coats of polyurethane later, and the entire floor looked great! I couldn't believe how close the new color was to the old boards (but actually I could, because my skepticism had faded due to my confidence in Wendy's beast-like ability to match stain).

After allowing ample dry time and applying the remaining moulding to the walls and a coat of yellow paint, the whole kitchen was finally put back together.

As was the sun porch...just in time for Wendy's birthday cookout.

It may have taken from the dead of winter until the first weekend of May to finish this whole project, and we may have questioned our sanity and what the heck we had gotten ourselves into on more than one occasion, but at long last it was finished. The room was once again a kitchen, only now it was more open and light since the wall had been removed. We still had the rotted exterior siding to deal with, as well as a necessary coat of paint for the sun porch ceiling (it wasn't done yet in the photo above), but we felt great about what we had accomplished.

And if you happen to be wondering why we're talking about our kitchen and sun porch disaster project now, we have an answer for you. We're planning on launching into a little project in the sun porch to give it a much needed breath of fresh air. Stay tuned as we bring you the next phase of this part of our house. It may not be the complete and final phase, so we're going to have a little fun with it.

We hope you've enjoyed the reliving of some of our darkest days as DIYers. The experience really opened our eyes to the potential pitfalls of home ownership, as well as ultimately giving us the confidence boost we needed when it came to home improvement. After this we honestly and truly believe we can handle just about any sort of changes, upgrades, and projects in our house. 

We also hope that our project here will inspire some of our readers to move outside of their comfort zones and take on that large project you've always wanted to do but never had the courage. We powered through our experience with the knowledge that we could always call in the pros if things got really bad. Luckily, we never felt like we got to that "really bad" point, though it was touch and go from time to time.


We had a question in the comments about the total cost. We teased the $30k estimate that was presented, and that estimate didn't include anything with electrical or plumbing, the removal of the sun porch ceiling and insulation, or running insane amounts of network and speaker wire. The total for the work we outlined in these four posts came in at about $8,500. That was roughly $7,000 for the structural work, and about $1,500 for the materials and tool rentals that we needed for our part.

Comments 20


3/2/2012 at 12:01 PM
Woah, that floor is gorgeous! It makes me want to go home and refinish all of the floors in our house RIGHT NOW!

All of the floors in our house are random width pine that have been painted (except the kitchen which is either oak or maple), I can't wait to get them sanded down, stained, poly'd, and beautiful!
Refinishing floors isn't the most pleasant of DIY projects, but the before and after is magical! And thanks to Oliver and Lulu's razor sharp toenails, we may be refinishing this kitchen floor again sometime soon. :-p
3/2/2012 at 12:40 PM
It goes without saying, but you two have our highest respect for being able to overcome a setback like this. We're glad this is all behind you now!

It's amazing you were able to get the whole thing done over the course of a few months. We've been working on a bathroom for two years now! Hard to believe that a little 50 square foot room can be so much trouble (and expensive).
Wow, thanks so much! I think the blasts of cold winter air helped move the project along. There's no shame in spending two years on a bathroom. (Ahem.) We definitely take our time with many, many projects. :-)
3/2/2012 at 1:04 PM
If you don't mind me asking did the whole thing end up costing you anywhere near the initial $30K estimate? I hope you were able to save substantially!!! It turned out fantastic!
Nikki, I just updated the post because of your question. I totally had a brain fart and forgot to include it. The total was about $8,500. And thanks for your kind words.
3/2/2012 at 1:34 PM
Great post! I have seen people ruin beautiful homes with inexpensive light blonde pergo glad you guys went the extra mile (or 10) to do this to such high and exacting standards.
Thanks so much Justin! Going overboard on projects is just how we roll here at Old Town Home. ;-)
3/4/2012 at 11:02 AM
Unbelievable! You accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Beautiful redo and I love your floors. If you have time, I'd love to see a post on how you did the floors and color matching the floors as well. We need to redo our wood floors so any tips would be very helpful.
Doing the floors was not horribly difficult. We'll hopefully do a post on it here in the coming month. But in a nutshell, it's a lot of sanding, even more dust, then a lot of waiting for stain to dry. If you use the random orbit sander instead of the big drum sander, it takes out a lot of the difficulty.
George Thee
4/5/2012 at 2:51 PM
That looks just great! We have heart pine flooring and some rot under the old radiators. I want to replace the rotten pine with the yellow pine and stain. What color stain did you use?!
Hi George,

You should be able to do that in a way that you'll hardly notice since it will be partially hidden. For our stain we used "Early American" (a Minwax color), and that was used throughout the house. Then, we tinted the Early American with a combination of "Cherry" and "Mahogany" to get that deeper and redish color. It took a bit of testing to get it all right, and we did it in a very unscientific way, but that should give you a good start.
4/27/2012 at 5:36 PM
This is just amazing work! I have been reading your posts from the very beginning and really appreciate the amount of technical detail you have put into your posts! I am definitely an avid follower now!
Thank you very much for the compliments! We're glad to have you around.
6/10/2012 at 12:48 AM
I enjoyed reading your blog. Bet you can't wait to do your bathroom? We thought we would do a nice weekend project replacing our bathroom floor -- and lo and behold we found the subfloor around the toilet had turned to mulch. The only saving grace that kept our floor from collapsing was a cinder block wall that ran underneath in the basement. The toilet was mis-plumbed for a total of 60+ years and leaking. Ugh! This was our main bath, too. To our relief, we had a half bath upstairs, but were stuck taking showers in the dismantled bathroom.

Ain't home ownership GREAT?
1/28/2013 at 4:21 PM
I am overjoyed at finding this post! We are currently ripping out the carpet in our Philly row home -- underneath is the original hear pine sub floor. Most people have warned us against DIY refinishing, but we're still planning to do it ourselves. So, your post was a great moment of inspiration!
Hi Jenni - We're so glad you found us too. Kudos to you for saving the beautiful heart pine, and for doing it yourself. Congrats and good luck!
Rachel Mabry
9/19/2013 at 12:12 PM
Your floors look amazing! We have pinned this project to our Tool Rental board on Home Depot's Pinterest page. Check it out at
Thanks so much, Rachel. We appreciate the pin!
3/3/2018 at 6:42 PM

I have exactly the same situation. Matching the new Pine floor to the old Heart Pine. Do you remember the mixture of stain & process you used to make the match? Thanks!

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