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Old 10-17-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


Here's a doozy-
we pulled up the living room carpet in our 1936 hose, and found hardwood floors that are structurally ok, but have been stained with a dark greenish-black stain. Also, someone went thru and put in rows of nails about 1 foot apart throughout the room (I am assuming this was to keep the boards from creaking underfoot).

We've had one handyman out here to look at it, and he said it is hopeless-the nailheads are tearing up the sandpaper on his drum sander.

Is there hope?? The adjacent dining room floor has been stripped and re-stained at some point over the years (it is now a honey oak color), and it too has rows and rows of nails.

We sure don't want to give up on this lovely old house-and I really hate carpet.

Any suggestions are very appreciated-
J

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Old 10-18-2009, 07:26 AM   #2
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


either pull the nails or set them below the surface. then finish as you wish. If these nails were added to prevent squeaks, then pull them and replace with break-away screws made for this use. When DIY'ers do things wrong (as in this case) it is usually the next homeowner (you) that pays the price. Seems we need "HomeFacts" or something so we know to expect almost anything if the last homeowners did their own work.

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Old 10-18-2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


I am with Bob on this, if you set the nails you can refinish the floor, and it will probably look just fine. With all those nails to set, I recommend a pair of good knee pads.

You should consider whether you want to fill the nail holes. If you plan to stain the wood afterwards, make sure the filler is compatible with the stain. If you are not going to stain, try a few different wood fillers to see how close you can get to the floor color with whatever finish you are going to use. For my money, I would set the nails about 1/8 inch below the surface, sand the floor, and finish without filling the holes. Adds character to the floor. But there are several floor experts in this group, who likely have different (and better) ideas on how to do this job.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:58 AM   #4
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


Since it is circa 1936, the floor was intentionally installed using face nails - as the wood is probably 3/8" thick, as compared to today's 3/4" tonge and groove (hidden fasteners).

Set the nails, do NOT remove them, sand down until all old finish is gone, then decide if you like the exposed nail holes and just stain and finish, or if you want them covered, you are going to have to "skim" the floor with a wood filler, sand again, then stain/finish.

A LOT of work, but worth it. For what it is worth, I did this in the first house I lived in, but never filled the nail holes, just set, sanded and finished. Gave it a rustic look.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:18 AM   #5
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


I agree with the above post. An old air rivet gun can do wonders for driving in those old nails.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:07 PM   #6
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


We have refinished older wood floors and think they look awesome with all that character that the nail holes and even old markings give them. People are paying THOUSANDS these days for old planed barn boards for this rustic, look. Bring out that depression era character! Old construction is a treasure.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:16 PM   #7
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


I know that people will pay me to make new furniture look old or do an inlay and then ask me to roughen it up. Heck, pay me to make mistakes? My kind of customer.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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old hardwood floor with lots of nails and dark stain


Just wanted to reiterate that the nails are almost certainly NOT some DIYer mistake. The floors were built that way. Frankly I can't believe, if you are attracted to older homes, that you've never seen it before. It's quite common. Myself, I like the look.

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