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agent99 04-22-2011 11:18 PM

100+ Yr old floor fix?
Hello, forgive me if this has been answered before, but I did not find our answer for our specific problem- we are NOT preparing it for hardwood flooring:

1) the floor is well over 100 years old about 2700 sq feet, planks that were at some time covered in old 9x9 vinyl or possibly linoleum squares.

2) There are many worn spots, worn squares, missing squares, rotted holes in several spots with he bare wood showing. But, the overwhelming majority is solid with the squares in tact, just worn.

3) there is one wood door by a staircase with the bottom off about 1 inch, but there are 2 steel doors on the external wall that are maybe 1/2 off the floor and cannot be easily trimmed down.

4) it is a commercial rectangle space with no interior walls yet so one big room right now.

5) we prefer not to tear it all up and like I said most of it is solid and the joists are solid and little to no give. We most likely will install rubber or vinyl flooring.

a) would you tear it all up and lay 3/4 t&g pine or osb?

b) or would you lay 3/4 t&g pine or osb over the old floor?

c) or to save costs, would you just lay over it 1/2 plywood, or 7/16 osb or?- is the 3/4 t&g really necessary since there is a floor already?

Thanks for your thought and help!

woodman58 04-23-2011 06:17 AM

More than likely the tile are asbestos. You do not have to remove it. You can go over the floor with 1/2" or 3/4" ply. use screws to fasten the floor down.

agent99 04-24-2011 04:19 AM

Thanks for the reply, it never occurred to me that they are so old they may be asbestos!

Would you go 3/4 T&G? Maybe not necessary, but may make it more solid and easier over any dips.

Not sure if it is worth any money savings, but if we used just the 1/2 inch, should we leave 1/8 inch gaps between sheets or gaps only needed on the outer edges next to the walls?

Is the 3/4 osb t&g (half the cost) ok?, I've always used and preferred standard plywood, but never had a floor area this large. Seems like you prefer ply as well. I heard of nails working themselves out of osb, but with screws? I also question any moisture over time with the osb.

Thanks for your help!

woodman58 04-24-2011 05:55 AM

OSB is fine. A lot of people don't care for it on this site but, in the midwest where I live builders use it all the time. The glues we use are better today than in the past. When installing wood up to any wall always leave a gap. On OSB a 1/2 inch will work. It does not expand and contract as much. For any material you install on top of the OSB you will need baseboard and shoe molding to cover the exspantion gap.

agent99 04-26-2011 04:24 AM

Thanks a bunch. I will probably save over a $1000 and use the osb, but welcome anyone else's thoughts.

DrHicks 04-26-2011 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by agent99 (Post 636704)
Thanks a bunch. I will probably save over a $1000 and use the osb, but welcome anyone else's thoughts.

The only drawback to OSB, in this application, is that it flexes more than plywood of the same thickness. But... That may not matter for you.

Good luck! :)

timmymcg 04-26-2011 10:35 AM

This article might be helpful; a good summary of the state of both research and market--written in '05, but updated in '09.

Grizzlybare 04-26-2011 06:17 PM


Originally Posted by woodman58 (Post 634814)
More than likely the tile are asbestos. You do not have to remove it. You can go over the floor with 1/2" or 3/4" ply. use screws to fasten the floor down.

My question is, when did they start using asbestos in floor tile? I own a 100+ yr old building that had a portion of the second floor put onto it in 1939. Since the second story subfloor is poured concrete, I am certain that the tile is of that time period and comes up very easily. The tile in the older part of the building is stuck tight and was likely there prior to the addition. Can anyone tell me if that was pre-asbestos? I think Jazman had said that they didn't start putting asbestos in tile until the 50's.


woodman58 04-26-2011 07:51 PM

Grizzly, Here is a site that will answer your questions.

Red Squirrel 04-26-2011 08:24 PM

You mentioned planks, is it a wood floor? If it's wood, you could sand it down real good with a drum sander, and varnish it. I had this done in my house and it's like a brand new floor. it's a huge job though. I did not do it but just from seeing the contractor do it, it's not an easy job. If it's a wide open area it may be easier though.

agent99 04-28-2011 02:25 AM

The planks are too worn or rotted in spots to be saved. It would be crazy work job to try to save and rebuild at this point. I suspected the tiles to be from the 1950's but did not know they used asbestos, however I was glad to read in the article that they only used a small % of asbestos. Interesting read on ply vs osb too. I still don't like the t&g edges of what I see in the big box stores. I wish they could make the edges and male side more solid- they seem to damage/flake easily. Still. I am leaning on trying the osb this time,for costs, but also because it is a cover job and not a new floor. We will use 3/4 t&g which is readily available at the big box stores. I have not seen thinner T&G osb or plywood and the non t&g 1/2 osb may give too much over the holes and dips. Thanks again for everyone's input.

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