Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Quick take: A story of floors

When I look at possible flips, I do a lot of peeking under grim old carpet in hopes of finding good floors. That seemed to be the case here, so I planned to refinish the floor everywhere. However, it didn't play out quite as imagined, but in three different ways:
The first floor
The first floor had modern wood flooring, which appeared to be in good shape. LR_floorsHowever, as seen during our demo phase, you're always seeing it pretty dusty, so it can be hard to envision just how it's going to turn out. I had to wait a long time to even get a good look at the floor, free of carpentry equipment and other obstacles. The story then was a bit mixed: it looked good overall, but had some distinct spots in the dining room area taht couldn't be ignored.


So my contractor and I agreed that the floor guys would try to sand out the spots as much as possible, and then stain if needed up to a middle reddish brown to minimize the spots without changing the character of the wood. Imagine my happy surprise when I arrived one day to this!


Turns out that the spots sanded out beautifully, and basically they could finish the floors with no stain at all. Never expected all that nice variation in the color of such a basic flooring! w00t!

Upstairs, the lesser bedrooms
In the end, neither of the 2nd floor bedroom floors could be refinished. In the rear bedroom, part of the length was an addition, which meant that the floor was composed of a nonmatching patchwork of wood that would never make a unified floor. I suspect that there were different woods as well as different widths involved.


Meanwhile, in the front bedroom, somebody at some point chose to cover the floor with plywood, which could have been ok except that they secured it with nails over just about every inch of the floor. Even if we could take it up, the wood underneath would be wrecked.


So I had to content myself with finding some cool variegated gray carpet for these two rooms. However, I held out on the hallways, which turned out to be a good choice.

Hallways and master bedroom
The contractors weren't too encouraging about the remaining floors -- they were reasonably intact, but were also just subfloor, and as a result couldn't be expected to look anything like finished surface flooring. But they seemed solid to me and had some character, so I got them to do a little patching and then finish it all. Here are some Before shots:

The hallway right outside the bathroom

Master bedroom, one of several "hatch" cuts that needed patching.
(we stole floor from other rooms for that) Floor painted here.

And here is where it ended up after sanding and finishing with a clear satin finish. First, that homely hallway:


And then that big expanse of master bedroom floor:


I just about cried when I saw how beautifully this disparaged little subfloor turned out! The irregularities are just reminders that you're living in a house that's probably over a hundred years old. I (and most of the people who saw the place) love it.

Here are just a couple of extra shots to fill out the picture. First, the hallway outside the master bedroom (leading to the roof deck door), as nice as the one below:


And finally, when the steep stairs from the second floor to the third were too damaged on the risers for a good refinish, I avoided carpet by putting in a runner to hide the damage and add some modern pizzaz:


So that's it for flooring! Should be able to continue the room-by-room saga in my next installment.

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