Simran Sethi Floors

I am an Indian immigrant with brilliant, loving parents who encouraged me to use my head, not my hands. My father spent most of his days peering into a microscope. He did not chop wood or carry water. We did not DIY. Therefore, it’s not surprising that when the gentleman who came to look at my floors said, “Your first floor is oak and your second floor is maple,” it meant nothing to me. In my head, wood was wood, covered by bark. Different trees had different grains and hues, but I was under the impression that any wood could be stained any color. I was wrong.

The primary lesson I learned in my first weeks of home ownership was to let go of expectations. My friend Carol said, “Your house is like a living being. There is only so much you can change.” This was confirmed on a late Friday night when the heavily scratched, damaged and shellacked floors that had been one consistent color were now three colors. (The stairs were a third type of wood — yellow pine.)

The floors are now becoming beautiful. (Lesson 2: Nothing is ever really done right the first time.) And they turned out differently than I expected. (See Lesson 1.)

Let me rewind and explain how I got here. I met Andy, a floor specialist focused on historical restoration, and one of three floor people I interviewed to refinish my floors. (Lesson 3: Get multiple bids to understand the range of costs and then go with your gut.) I went with Andy because he gave me the best offer and I saw how much he loved the wood. He shoehorned my project into his schedule and there is still more to be done — but we are well on our way. (Lesson 4: Do not shoehorn. Always leave room for the unknown: a broken sander, poor lighting or bad weather.)

I told Andy that using low-impact materials was a must and he agreed to share his thoughts on what he used and loved, as well as being open to trying new products that I never had the chance to use, but wanted to try.

Betty Poynter_2
5/17/2010 10:59:51 AM

Thx for this info. on flooring, etc. We have parquet wood flooring in our home office. In order not to damage the parquet with our rolling desk chairs, we put down some rubber matting a few days ago. This morning we took it outside and washed it with hot soapy water and vinegar, because it SMELLS so strongly of rubber. It has been stinging my husband's eyes and bothering both of our breathing. Probably a dumb question (duh!), but is this rubber matting potentially damaging to our health? Is this smell going to go away with time? We hope so, as we paid over 50 euros for it. Does anyone have better ideas than soapy, vinegary water as a cleaner/de-smeller? Thanks for any ideas! Italy is usually pretty good about its products, but I'm not sure where this matting was manufactured. It looks like the typical rubber matting that goes under you feet in cars.

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