Thursday, May 6, 2010


Between P and I, we have 3 bachelors degrees, 3 masters, and 2 Ph.D.s.  By both temperament and training, we like to thoroughly research any project before beginning. 

We bought a few books on wood floors, and checked out several more from the public library.  Our hands-down favorite was Charles Peterson's Wood Flooring: A Complete Guide to Layout, Installation, and Finishing (Taunton Press, 2010).  The book is only available in hardcover, and costs $30, but we considered that a good investment for this project.  If everything went right, refinishing the floors would cost us several hundred dollars.  If we made a mistake and had to undo or redo a step, it would cost far more than the $30 book.  Plus, our time is valuable, and a tip that saves us an hour or two is definitely worth $30.  Finally, we want the floors to come out looking really good, and to be as durable as possible, so that we don't have to refinish the floors again for many years to come (as that's quite costly in terms of both time and money invested).

(Image courtesy Taunton Press)

Perhaps all of this is to say that we really like to buy books, and it's a habit we're really good at rationalizing.  (You'll see much more of this habit when I start discussing decorating challenges.)

Wood Flooring is (so far as we can determine) both the newest and most authoritative text on the subject.  New is important--flooring technology has changed significantly in the last ten or fifteen years.  More products are available than ever before and product quality shifts over time.  We now understand the health hazards involved in working with certain finishes far better than we did before.

Wood Flooring, like most Taunton publications, is not the easiest text for the complete novice to pick up.  The author assumes that you will understand some amount of technical language on tools and finishes.  Taunton publications also assume an audience with perfectionist tendencies: they're aimed at people who want to invest significant time (and money in tools) to get the best possible outcome.  But if you really want to do a good job, it's hard to beat Taunton as a guide.

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