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sgettin 02-25-2011 12:13 PM

relaying old flooring.
hello, new memebr here. i have an old house (1850's) that i'm working on and i am in a bit of a quandry as to what to do about my floor. thought this would be a good place to ask. any help would be appreciated.

i live in a 2 story brick 1850"s home that was severily abused by the previouse(sp?) owners however after 20yrs it's looking better now just a long process. anyway my problem is i don't know whether i should relay my original upstairs flooring that i removed in order to level the floor or go buy new. my upstairs floor is 40ft by 20ft. floor joist span is about 18ft with 2" x 8" floor joists. too long a span so the floor sagged 3+ inches in the middle. i've now leveled the floor by putting nailers on top of the joists and screwing plywood to the sides, put down osb and now it's ready for flooring. thing is i saved the original flooring (2"x5"x1" tongue and groove and i think it's southern yellow pine) would like to relay it but don't know if i should. how do i figure out if it is usable. it will need sanded to remove old varnish etc before i refinish it so i realise i need some thickness from the top of the groove up because sanding will remove mtl. the original wood is very light weight and definately not heavy and hard like oak or ceder. i have very little construction experience i'm learning as i go. i really like an old floor and the distressed look is fine with me but i don't want to waste time if there is no point to it. also i checked and new oak would run me around $3000.00 just for matls so it would save a lot of money to use the old stuff.

thanks for any advice.

Tyfloors 03-09-2011 07:39 PM

If you want to use the old floor again try to remove the old nails, check for rotten planks and make sure tounges and grooves are still in good condition. If theyre all good then you can reinstall it.

sgettin 03-10-2011 08:33 AM

got them cleaned up. removed all the square nails (saved those also not sure why guess i'm a packrat). anyway the boards are in decent shape. any idea how much thickness i need from tongue and groove upward? i'll be sanding it down in order to varnish it so not sure how much wood that process will remove. figured too much sanding would get down to the groove and not look right.

couple people i've talked to say go for it. but it's a lot of work and once i start no going back.


Leah Frances 03-10-2011 08:36 AM

- Take pics while you go.
- Keep six of the old cut nails as a keepsake - scrap the rest.

Good luck. :thumbsup:

Tyfloors 03-10-2011 08:56 AM

Use the scraper to see if the finish on the wood is easy to remove. If indeed then when do the sanding only use medium papers (50,60,80 grit) to fine.

sgettin 03-10-2011 10:14 AM

i'll take some pictures as i go. should be interesting since i have never done this before. and here are some pictures of what i am starting with at this point. if the pics don't show up never mind.
on one of the floor pics you can see how much it has sagged over the years from checking out the nailer i put on top of the floor joist.
and if it shows up there is a picture of an original floor board. doesn't look like the old varnish/paint will be hard to get off but i'll scrape it and see.


rditz 03-10-2011 10:34 AM

I agree, go for it... you have lots of material there for sanding... another option while still not installed is to run the boards through a thickness planer (if you have one, they are getting insanely cheap).. to remove the finish. this will make the boards smooth as well, taking the distressed look away.

when laying your flooring, put down a roofing paper (or similar) to prevent squeaking.


Floor Doc 03-10-2011 10:34 AM

What type of machine do you plan on sanding it with ?
Looks to be plenty of wood left .

sgettin 03-10-2011 10:59 AM

i plan on useing one of those orbital sanders you can rent at hardware stores etc and doing like tyfloors suggested and not hitting it with extremely coarse sand paper.

i'de like to retain the original distressed look as much as possible as a matter of fact i thought about not sanding it at all and just varnishing over the top of the original finish with gloss polyeurethane(sp?).

a friend also mentioned plaining the boards but thats pbly more involved than i'm wanting to get into and i like the old look anyway etc.
one problem i have is i couldn't save enough of the old flooring to do the entire room because the previous owner in about 1950 had ripped through the old floor blowing in insulation (ugh :mad:).

i have scrounged up some old flooring here and there but.. it isn't exactly the same thickness, very close maybe 1/32" off. i am guessing it won't matter that much time i get to nailing and sanding but being tongue and groove i realize it can be a problem. the differnt boards do snap together good and i suppose i could staple some form of 1/32"spacer on the underside of the slightly thinner boards? or just skip it and hope it turns out ok. width is close and i can deal with that all i have to do is make sure i run total length of the room with same thickness boards.

glad to hear it's a go on useing them, i really prefer the old stuff.
thanks for the tip on roofing paper i never thought of that.

rditz 03-10-2011 11:05 AM

I once did a floor with different manufacturer hardwood flooring.. I didn't give it any thought at the time, but I discovered that the tongue and grooves were at slightly different heights from the bottom of the boards from one manufacturer to the next.. in the end it still looked good. because I have planed them all down and then refinished the entire floor with the same stain and poly.

I would have to guess that if you have had to scrounge flooring from other sources to make up enough to do the entire room that the finishes are different... and if they are different thicknesses, I would run them through a planer and get them all to the same thickness, then lay the floor, sand and finish..


sgettin 03-10-2011 12:28 PM


Originally Posted by rditz (Post 606672)
I would run them through a planer and get them all to the same thickness, then lay the floor, sand and finish..


yeah i was kind of afraid that would be the case. they're real close but still very slightly off. don't have a planer obviously and would only use it once if i bought one but there are people around here that do that sort of thing. i'll check into it.

rditz 03-10-2011 12:48 PM

i bought my planer for $250.00 on sale.. even the few jobs I've used it on has made it a worth while purchase.


sgettin 03-10-2011 01:07 PM

$250.00. i figured we're talking 6 or 8 hundred. for $250.00 i could pbly justfy it. guess that gives me an excuse to visit menards with my $100.00 gift card.


rditz 03-10-2011 01:12 PM

mine was on sale and came with a stand... The store here is Canadian Tire, not sure what your equivalent would be...

here is the link (not on sale at the moment).

here is a link to Home Depot..

good luck...


handy andy 03-11-2011 04:02 PM

Keep the old wood
If most of your boards are like what we see in your last picture, by all means just use them as-is to keep the 'distressed' look instead of sanding everything down to get a totally new finish. Of course, you do have to take into account the different boards that are a little thinner! Will this be all one room? Can you arange your space such that the newer boards cover an area that is considered separate?

Something you could consider if the new boards are the same dimensions as the old except the thickness is to install them at random such that you have random dips. This may look good in what we will call an antique floor.

Of course, you are the one that will live with the final results so only you can decide whether the variance will be a problem.

Good luck. Please let us know how this turns out.

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