Stop! Read This Before You Cover, Destroy, Or Otherwise Obliterate That Old Floor!

by projectbuddy


If you bought an old house, most likely one of the things that attracted you was the possibility of having old wood floors, beautifully restored and glowing with an inner golden amber warmth.

Maybe the original had been covered with linoleum, vinyl, even shag carpeting, and so you didn’t know exactly how the floorboards looked, but you were willing to take a gamble.

Maybe you thought, “Whatever is under this ratty looking mess has to be better than this.”

Maybe you bought the house, removed all of those floor coverings, and were then disappointed at what you found underneath: saggy looking places, rotting boards, wide gaps between the boards, scratches and gouges, paint splatters, bits of rubbery carpet padding almost melted to the floor, maybe a little insect damage here and there?

Maybe your heart sank.

Before you decide to cover, destroy, or otherwise obliterate that old floor (and all of your beautiful flooring dreams with it), consider this.

Maybe your floor isn’t going to be like those that you see in old houses that have always been meticulously maintained, but there are probably some sections that have the character that you would like for the entire floor to have. Focus on those places. That will help restore your hopes.

Then visit some old buildings that have been restored. Look at how those floors tell a story in all of the imperfections that have been added over the years. Your old floor has a story to tell, and now that it is your old floor, you get to add to that story.

Having been faced with all of the “maybe” circumstances above, the turning point for me was when I started thinking of these boards not as floor but as furniture.

Here’s what I mean.

I asked myself, “What would I do if these boards were a piece of furniture, and not attached to my floor joists?”

Then I asked myself, “What if I looked at these floorboards as the largest single piece of furniture in my house?”

Having decided on this new perspective everything starting to fit together in perfect tongue-and-groove fashion.

The next few posts will elaborate further on what I have learned about rescuing my old floor. It’s unlikely that everything I have to share will apply to your old floor as far as tips and techniques. Hopefully though, you will find some inspiration and encouragement.

My old floor is the largest single piece of solid wood furniture in my house. It’s the only piece of furniture that I get to walk on too! (Socks only, please!)


The first photograph was taken November 2013. The second photograph was taken April 2014 after the old floor finish was removed, damage repaired, boards sanded and stained lightly to match the color of the aged original flooring, but before any final finish has been used. The threshold has not yet been rescued and provides a good comparison of “before” and “after.” This was just a test area to see what possibilities there are for saving the original floor.