Flooring nightmare

Most of our house is covered in laminate or engineered hardwood. We have one room, the current kitchen, which has pine. When we toured the house, we noticed heart pine in the closets, signaling that something salvageable might exist below the faux wood. It was my dream to find an older home with original hardwood floors, so I was stoked. Of course, the heart pine only existed in the oldest part of the house, which is about half.

I had no idea what kind of work was cutout for us. The laminate was tongue-and-groove and glued down. We initially attempted to pry it up just using a crow bar, but the adhesive was serious. I did a little research and decided the best course of action would be using a heat gun to warm the glue and let us get the boards up.

It worked. Kind of. Unfortunately, a lot of the wood was damaged in the process and it took me a solid week to expose the heart pine in the living room, dining room, and small hallway. The wood was badly splintering, and Chris and I began to wonder whether the work was worth it.

The second step involved a respirator, a scraper, and some goo-gone to remove the adhesive from the heart pine. I worked tirelessly and developed some painful tendonitis in the process. I got most of it off and hoped the rest could be removed by the sander.

I was really disappointed that we would have to sand the wood. The color and patina was incredible, but the wood was in such poor condition and the glue so hard to get off that we had no choice. We rented a random orbital sander since heart pine is soft. The drum sander would have been too much. I think we used 120 and 200 grit paper, in that order. At one point, the splintered wood punctured one of the pads. Chris frantically searched for a new pad all over town before returning the random orbital sander to the shop. They actually apologized, removed the splinter, and sent us back home. We were concerned they were going to charge us an arm and a leg for the damage.

Once we finished with the large orbital sander, we went through by hand and chiseled and sanded the splinters down as best we could. We weren’t terribly worried about their appearance, but we wanted to make sure the floors were comfortable to walk on. Chris crawled around on hands and knees to sand out swirls caused by some kind of grit under the large random orbital sander.

Side note: The house sustained significant termite damage at one point in its life. House jacks now support the central beam of the house. I am assuming the termites also chewed through the heart pine since quite a bit of it has been replaced. There is sign of damage around one of the registers as well, but it is covered by the vent. So two sides of the living room have newer pine floors, as does the part of the floor that used to be open for the oil heater.

Once all the sanding was done, we used a non-toxic oil and stain to finish the floors. It is called Monocoat, and we have been very impressed with it. We rented a floor buffer to apply it, which was a huuuuge adventure. Chris had a lot of trouble maneuvering it around the uneven surface. It would bounce around and slam into walls. It was terrifying and hysterical at the same time. We eventually gave up and finished the rest by hand. It’s important to know that the oil sinks into the floors so quickly that if left for more than a couple of seconds it will leave lines. We learned this right off the bat. Chris told me he was ready, so I poured some oil on the floor. THEN he realized what a difficult task it was to get the buffer moving in the correct direction. Thankfully, it’s by the door and will be covered by a door mat. Lesson learned.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 10494572_10101610698075033_8240007307658619574_nIn the final photo, you can kind of see the lighter colored wood in the center of the floor and along the wall in the other room. We picked up a darker stain at Home Depot to try to disguise it a bit better and it turned out pretty well. I’ll have to post a photo later.


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