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Dutchess_III's avatar

Has anyone here had any experience with restoring old, old wide plank oak flooring?

Asked by Dutchess_III (43080points) July 3rd, 2011

The house we’re moving into was built in 1860. The floors under the carpet are old, wide plank wood, probably oak. We have the same kind of floor in our current house, which was built in 1910.

I took the carpet out of one room upstairs in our house and just painted the floor. (One room of the house we’re wanting to buy is done that same way. That’s how I know the flooring is the same.) The lady who owns the house we’re trying to buy said that she’d heard that those old floors can be beautiful if they’re restored.

I’m dubious. There are gaps between the boards and…well, it looks about like this, only the boards are about two widths of each board shown in that picture.

What say ye experts in all things real and imagined?

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12 Answers

cockswain's avatar

We refinished our original hardwood floors from 1950 and they look great. Each slat is only about 2” wide, but I’d imagine the principle is the same to redo yours. Basically rent a floor sander and use a heavy grit to clean them up, then one or two finer grits to get them smooth. Stain it all, and voila.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve seen lots of those floors from the 50’s refinished. This is just a little different. Our planks are a good 6 inches wide. Did you have gaps between the boards? What do you do about them?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

When I moved into the house I am in now,the floors were all painted.I hand stripped the paint from them and underneath was heartwood pine.I then rented a sander and put clear water-based poly on.I love it! There are gaps in some spots,but I couldn’t care less.It turned out beautiful.The bottom floor of my house has a newer oak floor.I like it,but it just doesn’t have the same character as the old floor does.Older floros are just prettier than the new stuff.Especially the wide plank.
I would definitely refinish the floors and your house.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille : ). I can usually see potential, but I just wasn’t seeing it in my floors. Now I can’t WAIT to get SO SICK of sanding!!!!!!!!!! I’ll have to take before and after pics.

woodcutter's avatar

The sanders are pretty fast if you get the indudrial type. They sort of look like a push lawn mower. You pull it along the grain of the floor and empty the dust bag often. Do not stop once you start a pass! Or else you will have a low spot there. Make sure you seal off the room to keep dust from going everywhere. You will want to get the smaller sander along with the big one to get into the corners. Have fun.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That sounded vaguely threatening, @woodcutter! I’ve heard it is a LOT of work…but I’m not afraid of a lot of work…once I’m done, anyway! O! Inspiration for a question!

cockswain's avatar

@Dutchess_III Sorry, I didn’t have any significant gaps to deal with and don’t have any tips on that. If the gaps are wide enough, can you rip small strips of wood to fill them? Maybe use several? I suppose I’d try that. Figure out a good way to scribe them and maybe use a bandsaw to cut 3–4’ strips at a time or something, whatever seems reasonable. Might have to get creative. Does that sound like a reasonable idea?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sounds like a plan! I’ll have to see if I can dig up some old planks somewhere so they aren’t too obviously a patch job…

cockswain's avatar

If you can use similar wood, maybe when you sand it all down the old pieces will look very similar to the new pieces after staining. It’s worth a shot, and while it may not turn out perfect, I bet it will look damn good.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think so too, @cockswain! I’m really excited now! One of the first things I wanted to do was pull out the carpeting and put down laminate…but this will be better and cheaper! Hard works free!!

cockswain's avatar

Sweet! Good luck. I do tons of work on my house and love looking at a successful project.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Getting started is the hardest part!
I’ll take before and after pictures for you. : )

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