BAYVIEW BARNHOUSE | Refinishing 140-Year-Old Red Oak Floors

Before & After, DIY PROJECT, Home DIY, The Barnhouse

Let’s talk about the Barnhouse wood floors! A lot of you were following along with the process of refinishing the 140-year-old floors on Instagram stories, and gave me your feedback on finishing them, so thank you for your help! I am so happy that we ended up keeping them looking as close to the original as possible with Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish, and here is how we got here!

before Ispydiy_barnhouse_floor2
As soon as I saw the house, I knew that there were beautiful original floors under all the crud, and I was SUPER excited to be able to bring them back to life. We ended up hiring someone to sand them down because there was many years of build up. I am pretty sure you can rent a heavy duty sander from the hardware store, but we left that part to the professionals. After one round of sanding they patched any damaged areas, and then sanded it again. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the original Red Oak was after more than 140 years!! There are still some areas that are discolored, and imperfections, but it does not bother me. It adds to the character and charm of the old house.

Next was picking out a stain. The plan was to use a matte polyurethane, but when we tested a swatch it pulled out a lot of the orange in the Red Oak, which I really did not like. So I ran out and bought 7 new colors to test! I tried everything from white washing to a darker stain that pulled out the grain, and then I took it to a poll on Instagram. The stains from left to right are: Minwax Amber Pine, Water-Based Polycrylic, Birchbark, White Wash, Weathered Oak, Golden Oak, Grey Elm.

See what I picked after the break! 

All of them got votes, but I got a lot a feedback that I should use a Water-Based Satin Polycrylic because when it dried the wood floods would look the closest to how they looked freshly sanded, which I loved! I found Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish, a water-based professional formula that is super durable, and does not amber overtime, which was super important to me, because I do not want it looking to orange-y. I ended up going with a satin finish instead of a matte because it shows scratches and imperfections less, which I know is important for dog owners.


Applying it was simple!
First, Stir (don’t shake) Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish
Apply a thin coat using a new synthetic pad applicator. Maintain a wet edge to avoid lap marks.
Allow the finish to dry at least two hours, but less than 24 hours. If this timing is followed, no sanding between coats is needed!
Apply a second coat and third coat following the steps above.

We did not step on it for the weekend, and then it was covered with paper while we were finishing up the renovation. Today we uncovered them again, and they look even better then I remember!

This post was made in partnership with Minwax® Products. Thank so much for supporting my amazing sponsors who make I SPY DIY possible! For more woodworking/wood staining inspiration head over to the Mixwax Facebook page and “LIKE’ them

EXPLORE MORE: Before & After, DIY PROJECT, Home DIY, The Barnhouse



  1. Michelle says:

    The floor looks absolutely gorgeous, it’s so good that you kept it!

  2. Charlotte says:

    Holy smokes what a difference! Incredible how you made that dirty floor look as new again 🙂

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