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Old 02-19-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
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Help! What to do with floors in 1900 Craftsman


Sorry for all the questions, but I'm attempting to figure out if buying the house I want is within my budget for repairs. It's a 1900 Arts & Crafts bungalow, and I want to replace the vinyl and old carpet flooring with something else before I move in. My partner has allergies that make carpet a really bad idea for us, and the vinyl is very old and bulging in places.

This is all I know so far about the floor underneath, unfortunately: Only 2 rooms are carpeted, the living room and one of the bedrooms. In the bedroom, there's a hole in the carpet that reveals white marbled linoleum underneath. Do you think this is an indicator that there is also linoleum under the kitchen vinyl? And under the living room carpet? The other 2 bedrooms have vinyl flooring, oddly. Not sure what's underneath that, either.

And what would one generally find underneath linoleum in a 1900 house in Northern California? Is it possible to leave the layer of linoleum in and put something like a floating bamboo floor over it? I would really like wood floors but I'm afraid my budget won't allow me to install traditional hardwood, and I do like the look of natural bamboo.

Would it be a better idea to just remove everything, including the linoleum, down to the wood underneath, and then glue the bamboo flooring to that, instead of floating it?

Any other ideas for hypo-allergenic flooring w/o too many chemicals in it???

And what about the wood underneath the carpets, linoleum, and vinyl? How can I tell if there are "usable" hardwood floors underneath, or if I need to add new ones on top? I am so confused! I've just been assuming that the wood floors in the house will need something on top of them....Otherwise why on earth would the previous owners have covered 4 rooms in vinyl??? -TotalN00B

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Old 02-19-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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Help! What to do with floors in 1900 Craftsman


People cover floors in all kinds of coverings for all kinds of reasons. Asking why is only going to give you a headache. If you are uncomfortable doing invasive testing on the house, or if the owner does not allow it, there is no way you are going to know what is underneath the floor. Kind of like the movie "What Lies Beneath", you are liable to get some surprises once you purchase the place. In my house, there were three layers of material on the subfloor, including something that looked like linoleum, and two layers of vinyl tiles. Butt ugly. I took them all off, got down to the subfloor, and installed stone tiles. Oddly enough, the other rooms had hardwood. Like I say, you never know what you will find.

I don't now that bamboo is a lot less expensive than hardwood. More a matter of taste perhaps than expense. Personally I like oak or maple flooring in all my rooms except the kitchen, where I prefer porcelain or stone. All hypoallergenic materials. As for gluing down floors, I have never done it, never really trusted it, I always use traditional flooring nails, but then again I have never used engineered wood either.

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Old 02-19-2011, 06:24 PM   #3
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Help! What to do with floors in 1900 Craftsman


Bamboo was about the same price as anything else. I've got a buddy who is a floor supplier and our cost for bamboo was right in line with oak / maple and about ~1.00 sq foot less than Brazilian Cherry. In South Carolina it was 1.50 sq foot more for hardwood than middle of the road carpet with a good pad. All solid wood. Going with a major chain, the price difference between wood / carpet was 3.00.

Carpet price is installed while hardwood is supplies only.

Just get the sq feet and price it out using a big box.

Who knows what's underneath. Our house is only 14yrs old and there have been all sorts of surprises.
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:45 PM   #4
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Help! What to do with floors in 1900 Craftsman


If you are planning on buying a home like that, throw any budget number you think you have out the window. Things will come up that you don't expect...count on it.

Pick the few things that "need" to be done and do those first. These type homes are constant projects, so plan on spending years getting it the way you want.

Don't look for the quick fix, or cheap way out...you'll be kicking yourself down the road. If you really like something, do it, even if you have to wait a little longer to do it.

As far as the floors. I like reclaimed barn wood in that style home. If you can find some, you can get it milled the way you want. Some places sell it bundled and ready to go.
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