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Old 07-15-2011, 11:32 AM   #1
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Refinishing Floors - Oddities

Hi all,

I recently purchased my first home and pulled up carpets to find (mostly) gorgeous hardwood floors in need of refinishing.

The catch is that there are several spots with oddities that I'm not sure how to handle prior to having them sanded and polyurethaned. I'm looking for any bright and creative ideas for how to improve the situation.

Pictures are here:

Issue 1 -
The original owners removed four fireplaces throughout the house and replaced the hearth area with non-flooring wood pieces that are roughly the same width as my original hardwood but a different color. These are pictures 1-3 on the link above.

What are my options? Can the flooring guy treat it the same way as the rest of the floor (sand and poly)? Should I try to have him mix up a stain to match the rest of the wood? What about any ideas in the way of putting a non functional fireplace with a nice hearth back in the place of the old ones?

Issue 2 -
There are multiple spots where the original flooring is currently patched either because holes (~1 inch diameter) were drilled or just because of large gaps. How do I handle that prior to having the flooring guy come in? Picture 4 in link.

Issue 3 -
There is one section where they apparently pulled up a floor board and it is now loose with wide gaps between two boards. Do I have to have the flooring guy replace them alltogether? Any other ideas?
Picture 5 in link.

Issue 4 -
There was some settlement around the load bearing wall on the first floor. The hardwood adjacent to the wall has cracked significantly. Is that just something I keep as-is and chalk up to character in a 90 year old house, or is there an efficient way to deal with it?
Picture 6 in link,

I appreciate any feedback you can give on the above issues!

A first time homeowner.


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Old 07-15-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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I'm sorry to say but, from the looks of the floor it should be pulled up and replaced with new. I don't beleive there is a practical fix. Or, go with something other than wood to cover it over.


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Old 07-16-2011, 08:26 AM   #3
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I have to agree. Yes you can save the existing floor, but it will take a lot of detail oriented work, and money to rehabilitate/repair the flooring I see in the pictures. As stated above, I think your best, most economical route would be to remove the existing flooring, make all the necessary repairs, and leveling, then install new flooring. Just my take on it.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:09 PM   #4
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If most of the floor is pretty good I think you should salvage it. First check the ends of several boards to see how thick the wood is over the groove. The whole floor needs to be sanded, re-stained, and finished after replacing any bad boards. If you don't have at least 3/16" to start with then it might not be thick enough to handle a good sanding.

Photos 4 & 5 are really ugly. You will need to replace quite a few boards. Is the damage just from wear or are there other problems?

Spots such as photos 1, 2, & 3 where fireplaces or heat registers were patched need to to be re-done. Was the subfloor repaired as well? If so you need to be sure that it is tight with the adjoining floor. Then the patch should be redone by interlacing floor boards and not butting them all in a line.

Photo 5 looks like there might be some subfloor issues- maybe rot or termites. Make sure this is fixed before finishing the flooring.

I have neighbors who ended up having a pro replace about 20% of their red oak floors (whole entry way, a side of one room, heat registers and assorted spot patches). They were happy with the end result. If you know what to look for you can tell where the new wood is because of wider grain and tighter joints in the new areas.

Of course it's easier to just cover the whole thing with a floating engineered product- which will look sleek and modern.

The local floor guy charges $10 per board to pull out and replace small bad spots not including finishing. Bigger areas he gives a square foot bid.

Last edited by jimqpublic; 07-18-2011 at 06:12 PM.
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somuchjackson (07-18-2011)
Old 07-18-2011, 07:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for the thoughts!

Thanks particularly JimQ for the encouragement. The spots that I showed you are the worst spots, the rest is in pretty good shape. I still need to go measure the thickness of the boards though to confirm there's enough there to be sanded. I plan to check at one of the holes drilled for cable.

And yes, photos 4 and 5 are UGLY. I think they're the result of some sloppy work by an electrician years ago who used the flooring as an access way to wiring. Hoping to get by with only a few replaced boards there as my flooring guy charges $20/board.

Also, your comment about the fireplace patches is what I think we're going to do. I spoke with my flooring guy and he said that was his plan - to cut the boards on either end of that section to make it look more natural. Should run ~$250 per fireplace but I think I'm going to bite the bullet and do it!
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