Tall House Updates

Have you ever heard of using soap as a finish for wood floors and wood furniture? We heard about it from our friend Gijsbert and then I went down an internet wormhole searching “traditional soap finish” and “Danish soap finish” and “Scandinavian soaped floors” and a dozen other related terms. I loved the images and descriptions of soaped floors so much, we decided to try a soap finish on our attic floors.

You know those pictures of Scandinavian wood floors that look whitewashed? They were mostly likely sanded, then treated with lye (which bleaches the wood and prevents yellowing) and then finished with soap (just soap!).

In my research, I’ve learned soap finishes are super safe and eco-friendly; they’re very inexpensive, and they leave a totally flat matte sheen that’s soft to the touch — which I really love. If you’re curious, here’s a short article that gives a good introduction to soap-finished floors.

For our attic, we weren’t going for the bleached look, so after the sanding, we skipped the lye and went straight to the soap finish. If you’d like to see what the process is like, I put the whole thing, plus helpful links, in my highlight called Soap Finish.

I’ll share some of the recent Insta-stories here as well — they include what I’ve learned so far about future cleaning and upkeep.

Here’s an article that explains how to make the paste/gel from soap flakes.

We also tried the soap finish on the floors in Betty’s bedroom. They have a previous finish so the experience was a little different. So far, we’re really liking the process and the finish. I imagine we’ll use the same finish on many (if not all) the wood floors in the house.

Does a natural matte soap finish appeal to you? Have you ever used a soap finish on floors or furniture? Or maybe your grandparents had soap-finished floors? If you have soap-finished floors, how has upkeep been for you? Do you re-soap often? Do you find the finish is good in high-traffic areas? I’d love to hear! It’s all so interesting to me.

P.S. — More Tall House updates.

4 thoughts on “Tall House Updates”

  1. Oooh. What’s the dark green shade of paint on the last slide show? The house is really coming along!! Can’t wait to see it finished!

  2. THANK YOU for sharing this!!! We are slowly planning a basement renovation which will involve a living room, master bedroom, and walk-in closet. In most of the basement we’re planning to lay new carpet, but I want hardwoods in the walk-in closet, so now I’m looking at unfinished hardwoods and digging this idea!!!! Europe has the best home renovation tips!

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