The floor is yours — take it

The floor is yours — take it

Over the years we have visited many houses with beautiful hardwood floors that would make any homeowner proud.

We once owned a house with the prettiest hardwood floors we had ever seen. It was a modest little place whose original floors stole our hearts. We had no idea at the time what all was involved in keeping those boards in their beautiful condition, but we learned.

Within a month of moving in, we discovered that despite their name, hardwood floors are delicate, finicky things, allergic to water, attractive to dust and able to turn dull in a heartbeat. They are not born beautiful. It’s that sanding, staining, waxing and buffing that makes them so good-looking.

A homeowners’ sweat is a major ingredient for handsome hardwood floors. They need frequent rubdowns, preferably with a soft cloth. Anything abrasive or wet strikes terror in hardwood hearts — and is especially feared.

Though we were attracted to our house because of her floors, we should have resisted her charms and found another. But we didn’t, and in we moved with two babies and a small puppy, none of whom were housebroken. Incontinent children and pets who love to play in the backyard sandbox are a fate no hardwood floor deserves.

Despite all our care and vigilance, sand was tracked in on little feet and accidents happened. The floors lost heart and became dull, drab and stained, which required us to refinish every floor in the place. Refurbishing those floors was super hard work, but it had to be done.

No homeowner is prepared for the horror of having wood floors sanded. We did our best — covering the furniture, removing the curtains, sealing closets and closing cabinets — but it wasn’t enough. That fine dust managed to coat every nook and cranny of our poor place. Nothing escaped it.

Somehow, we survived that dusty, expensive experience and had smooth and beautiful floors to show for it. But now we knew just how fragile those lovely floors were and took the
appropriate steps to protect them from harm — we moved!

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