Repair & Care
Staining Old Heart Pine Floor
Job of the week number two segment takes us to the northeast USA. Originally planned was a how to fix open radiator holes in older hardwood floors in lieu of new HVAC systems on the grounds of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis MD. Unfortunately the job schedule wasn't permitting such so I managed to get together with Rick Scott of FloorMedic.com and take a look at an early 20th century home in Washington DC.
I Must Be Up North! Old Classics
Prior to my arrival the repairs had been done, but the key was getting new heart pine to match the old that were installed in the early 1900's from my understanding. The home had gone through a fire recently but the floors were not affected by the fire. Instead some boards needed replacement that were damaged or rotted from years of neglect.
This was a learning experience for me after taking a look in the basement of this old classic. Now I can understand the grief many are up against when they wonder what to do with floors that dip, slope, or rise throughout. Unfortunately we don't have any information on how to correct at this date. Perhaps someone can chime in and invite us showing how it can be done with estimated costs.
Correcting floors that may be out of whack due to foundation settling and the like is not a hardwood installers job responsibility. If this condition pertains to you we suggest contacting a professional engineer for their take and remedies. Shown in the image right is a small sampling of what I encountered when touring the basement.
Two floor joists shown have seen some attention over the years to flattening out the above floor. One floor joist has been supported by a new makeshift lolycomb and another with a wedged piece of lumber above the brick. The area above leads to the basement steps that still remains high on one side by about one inch.
To the job at hand. Upon entering the home I noticed the method in which the repairs were weaved into the old and thought to myself..."Gee that looks kinda ugly, I wonder why he did it that way?" This is certainly different for me and it did not occur to me there was no original subfloor. Each end joint had to lay on the floor joists for support and nailing.
Matching Color of Heart Pine Floors
The chosen method of matching was the use of Minwax gel stain in two different colors. Applied first is an Antique Maple stain, allowed to dry for approximately 5-10 minutes and rubbed off. A darker Mahogany was then applied (shown below), allowed to sit and once again wiped clean.
The result was a near perfect match in my opinion. In many cases when handling board replacements on older floors a good matching method can be done by removing older boards from closets and replace with new. However like many older
homes, closet space is always limited. In our job there were none on the first floor of this home.
More About The Floor
This old beauty had seen it's share of staples from old carpet padding with some areas also covered by linoleum that was a popular floor covering in previous years. Truly an original distressed floor that was actually a random width hardwood. Boards varied from 2 1/2 inches in width to three, and installed in no set pattern. The new owner of the home preferred the antique appearance without drum sanding and filling cracks, or what I would call massive gaps. Instead the floor was screened and coated twice.
About The Contractor
Rick Scott of Floor Medic employs a half dozen guys that do work mostly in the surrounding Baltimore area, but will travel to points around the eastern beltway of DC and into town. Areas of expertise includes restoration work but the company does handle new installations as well. If you should happen to be taken back by Rick's approach, don't be mislead. He does look young and may talk fast, but his work is top quality considering the difficulty in finding real contractors today. Ones that care more about quality instead of production and moving on to the next job.
Being the selected hardwood contractor handling all of the Naval Academy work should ease concerns for some that may wonder about choosing a reputable contractor in the DC - Baltimore area.
Wiping off Mahogany stain