One of the first major projects I tackled in the house was redoing the flagstone dining room floor. When I first looked at the house, I fell in love with the floor – who has stone floors like this in their house?! They were in rough shape, though – the grout was chipping and peeling away in many spots, there were many different colors of grout from refills over the last century, and the stone was dry and dull. I knew the floor needed to be refinished, but I had a real bear of a time trying to find someone who knew how to work on it. A tile person wanted to fill in the grout holes and reseal the floor. A landscaping company wanted to dig up the stones and start over. We were quoted between $800-$10,000. Everyone who looked at it said this type of stone isn’t normally found in homes and that’s why they were unsure of what exactly needed to be done.
The Floor Before
After a lot of research, I found there were a lot of European homes with stone floors. One DIY couple in England recommended using a rotary hammer to dig out the grout. From there, you could regrout and seal. It seemed pretty simple enough, so I grabbed a friend and we decided to take a stab at it.
We bought a $100 rotary hammer at Harbor Freight and a few wire brushes to dig out as many pebbles as possible. It took us a week to dig out the entire room after work each day using the rotary hammer – which is like a mini jackhammer. I then went through and dug as much debris as I could out of the crevices. Then, I watched a million videos on grouting, but inevitably, we had to find our own system using a watered-down portland mix (sand and concrete mix). I really got into a groove at the end wiping off each stone and smoothing the grout lines. After everything was dried, we simply painted two coats of stone sealant. It was a lot of learning and work, but the floor came out far better than I could have imagined. I am so happy I took the leap to do it myself.
Using the rotary hammer to dig out the old grout.
Brushing out the crumbles.
The result of this project is truly astounding. In just a few short weeks, I had a nearly brand new floor and I was able to save $10K! I also gained the confidence to take on other major projects in the house.
The Dining Room Floor