Thursday, January 28, 2010

Discovering a Floor

When we first toured the house, the floors were completely covered with brand new carpet. Our realtor said that there was probably just subfloor beneath it. On a whim, I pulled back a portion and saw a pretty grimy, darkstained mess but something told me I should sand a little bit and see what is actually there. I discovered that indeed there is nice mahogany wood flooring through much of the house. In what shape? It's over 100 years old and all sorts of things could happen including warping, breaks etc.

A brief History of Hardwood Flooring
By Stacey Kosha

"Hardwood floors were originally introduced in medieval times as a type of flooring used for multi-story buildings and usually consisted of two-foot wide planks of elm or oak. Later, wealthy Europeans began using fine wood flooring. Parquet wood flooring became very popular, but its price prohibited most of the middle class from its purchase. Since North America had more available timber, hardwood floors were offered at a much fairer price. Unsanded, unfinished pine planks were common (technically considered softwood).

In the late nineteenth century, hardwood flooring went into mass production. However, due to lack of knowledge about proper installation and lack of proper sealers and finishes available, it was perceived to have a lack of longevity. Carpet quickly overtook hardwood flooring in the market and was commonly installed over hardwood.

Today, hardwood flooring is far from lacking in popularity and is considered one of the most elegant and sought after types of flooring available."

Andrea and I talked about it and we thought we would first try and see if we can bring out the original floor in the parlor before deciding on anything else. So I put up a bunch of plastic sheeting to separate the parlor from the rest of the house and picked up $7 jug of "environmentally-friendly" varnish/paint remover, a pull scraper and some gloves and got to work. Because the remover isn't super harsh, it takes more time for the chemical to do its work but a little pre-sanding with 80grit paper before hand helps speed it up. Then pull scraping gently reveals a little bit of the original floor including the various scratches where, I assume, furniture and such existed. It actually looks beautiful when you strip the gunk and going after beauty is enough for me to continue on despite sore knees, wrists and hands.

I'm looking forward to my sister and brother-in-law visiting to see this as they are both antique experts.

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