Restoring Hardwood Floors
Older hardwoods under decades of carpet or layers of old linoleum? Can they be brought back to life? What’s it going to take?
Pet Stain Removal - Check our videos
Jewels Under That Old Carpet!
When professionals discover jewels under older floors, they’re often just as excited as you. It’s more like finding buried treasure as thoughts cross their mind in how the old craftsmen from a century ago actually did the work before power tools were used.
Border work and other intricate designs (shown below) are being uncovered daily in many residential areas built prior to the 1930’s depression years. Higher quality materials in old growth hardwoods, heart pine and quarter sawn are also being uncovered.
Old growth was harvested from trees much older than what they mill today, with many areas now protected from lumbering. These types show a much tighter grain pattern due to their age and the number of growth rings.
Common Red Oak
Quarter sawn hardwoods, still available today at much higher prices, offer a unique appearance as shown in the example above. Other common types of flooring of yesteryear were heart pine. Notice the tight grain pattern on the old growth heart pine picture? Then we have our common red oak many will find in homes less than 50 years old.
How Do I Know What's Under That Old Lime Green Carpet?
There's only one way of finding out...pull the carpet back. To do so take a pair of pliers, grab a section in a corner and pull back. Hopefully you will be dealing with a stretched in type of carpet and not any glued down types. You may also encounter holes in the original floor itself that were used for radiator heating. These can be repaired with any knowledgeable professional.
How Do I Know If The Floors Can Be Refinished?
One key in determining how many times the floor has been refinished would be to look at the wear layer that is left on the flooring itself. The wear layer is the area above the tongue and groove. There have been different thicknesses of hardwood flooring milled over the years and their wear layers are different. To check for the current thickness, one place to look would be around removable heating register vents.
What To Expect When The Carpet Is Removed?
When wall to wall carpet became popular in the 60's and 70's, many wood floors were covered up. You may discover carpet padding that has been attached with hundreds of staples or adhesive of some sort. With much older floors you may find screws and nails that previous homeowners used to stop squeaks. Dirt! You may find an enormous amount of dirt that sifted through the carpet and padding over the years. Carpet tack strip will have to be removed.
Pet or other similar stains may be found under carpet in older floors. In many cases these cannot be removed and replacement becomes necessary. Replacement from unseen areas such as closets will insure a perfect aged match. We've also seen many floors that were covered with layers of linoleum that were brought back to their original beauty.
Some rotten floorboards or subfloor material may be present, along with squeaky floors that may require repairing. Once all the carpet is removed the home will open up, common sounds will be more pronounced because the insulating factor of carpet has been removed
Newer Pet Stains - A Big Dog Story
Other Examples Of Finding That Jewel
The first set of photos above were sent to us by "catman" who was a regular participant on our hardwood flooring talk message board. Before and after pictures show he found older parquet and quarter sawn flooring in the foyer of an older home he bought and restored.
Block border design
Curved border design
This second set was uncovered in Detroit. Actually the home was almost torn down as have many others in the area.
What Kind Of Costs Can I Expect To Pay?
There are far too many variables involved in assessing a cost over the internet. Some floors may be in good condition requiring very little if any preparation before the sanding and finishing process.
Passive Refinishing With Prized Floors
Here's a very unique twist that deserves serious attention for those with treasured floors. Passive refinishing. This procedure eliminates aggressive sanding which removes the patina many older floors achieve over the years. Rosebud Floors located in the Atlanta metro area developed this system that uses an environmentally-safe method that removes years of dirt and grime accumulation on more prized antique floors. Shown on the right is the outcome of one procedure with a top nailed floor. Notable jobs include the original wood floors of James and Dolly Madison’s Montpelier in Orange, Va.
See more at Rosebud Floors