Monday, June 3, 2013

Hardwood Floors

When we bought our house we assumed that it didn't originally have hardwood floors.  The living room/dining room, hallways and my office had fairly new (I think cherry) hardwood floors.  The kitchen and bathroom had linoleum and the guest and master bedrooms had berber carpet.  Since the house was built in 1955 it didn't seem that crazy for it not to originally have hardwood floors.  Since many of the other houses in the neighborhood that we looked at had original hardwood floors, I figured that hardwood or carpet was just an option that you could choose from the builder.  Even though the new hardwood floors in our house were nice and in good shape, I was kind of sad to not have the thin board oak floors that were original to many houses built in the same era.

When we had the extra doorway to my office drywalled up, like many people who do some remodeling to their homes, we discovered some odd choices that the previous owners made.  We were trying to get baseboard molding to match the molding in the hallway and the inside of my office to patch the space that had just been drywalled up when we discovered that the people who laid the hardwood floors didn't take the baseboard off when they put in the floors.  They just laid the hardwood up to the baseboard and put quarter round over the gap between floor and the baseboard.  Normal people would have taken the baseboards off, laid the hardwood all the way up to the wall and then put the baseboards back on over the hardwoods.  This of course made it really tough to patch the space where the doorway had been.  I will not show you a picture of the makeshift patch job we did.  But lots of caulk and strategic furniture placement hides it fairly ok.

When poking around the baseboards, I shined a flashlight down in the space between the wall and the hardwood floors and realized that there actually were original hardwood floors underneath the new hardwood floors.  Strangely they seemed to have been painted white, but I could see a nice finish to them in spots where the white paint had flaked off.

In the guest bedroom the carpet was in horrible shape.  First, two cats and a dog that was potty training at the time had peed and thrown up on it multiple times.  Each time we used carpet cleaner on it, instead of taking out the stain, it would just make it bigger and darker.  Also the cats loved scratching at the carpet in the door way.  They had managed to unravel long strings of berber carpet which exposed the tack strip.  Walking into the room in bare feet became really dangerous.   But since they had destroyed the carpet so well, it was easy to pull up the corner of the carpet to see that the guest bedroom  also had original hardwood floors that seemed to have been painted white.

This past weekend, we decided to tear up the carpet in the guest room to see what we were working with.  Either we could refinish it, leave it painted white, repaint it white or just get new carpet.  Any of these options we figured would be better than the stained, unraveling carpet that was there.

We weren't expecting what we found.  The floor seemed in fairly good shape.  But it looked like someone had painted the walls with a sprayer without bothering to cover the floor in any way.  So the floors were pretty solidly white on the edges with lighter white in the center and lots of drips and foot prints.  I guess if they were planning on putting hardwoods over the existing hardwoods in the rest of the house and putting carpet down in the bedrooms, why try to preserve them.  Who cares what future owners of the house might want to do.

With much difficulty, we tore up the tack strips and removed a million super deep staples from the floor.  I think we will probably pay someone to refinish them for us and have them do the master bedroom at the same time.  I pulled up a corner in the master bedroom and it looks like the same situation.

I'm assuming that since they put hardwoods over the original hardwoods, there must have been something wrong with them somewhere that made it not worth just refinishing them.  So we probably won't be tearing up the new hardwoods throughout the rest of the house anytime soon.

Anyway, stay tuned for future progress on this project.  Hopefully we will get it done fairly soon since Nate's parents are visiting us in a month and will need to sleep in that bedroom.