Hardwood flooring questions

I have a few flooring questions, thanks in advance. I am renovating my kitchen floor. The house is a New England cape that was built in 1947. My goal is remove the linoleum and have a wood floor in the kitchen. There is 2 inch red oak flooring throughout the rest of the house. When I tore up the linoleum in the kitchen I found a layer of tarpaper that has bonded to some wood flooring that is 3 inches wide. I expected the wood to be 2 as it is throughout the rest of the house. The tarpaper is very difficult to remove even with a blade scraper. Is a floor sander the best way to get this tarpaper off? I am hoping this wood is oak. Does anyone know why the builders would have installed a wider floor in the kitchen area? If this turns out to be a softer pine that was just used as an underlayment for the linoleum, would you finish it or just tear it out ( along with the inch subfloor) and put down new x 2 1/4-inch hardwood over a inch plywood subfloor?
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The rest of the house is hardwood over some sort of sub-floor, possibly the same wide board you just found.

I doubt it is oak. In 1947 it was common to put linoleum in the kitchen, not hardwood. What you have is a sub-floor. No, I'd not try refinishing it, put a finished floor on top as it was intended.
There is no reason at all that the wood in the kitchen must match the rest of hte oak in the house. Personal taste is what matters, If it was my house, I'd put a different species, possibly a wide board in the kitchen. But that is me so do as you please. There are many varieties of beautiful floors. Take a look at some available here: http://www.cwghardwoodoutlet.com/flooring/display.html
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planzz wrote:

If the oak floor is ~3/4" higher than the kitchen strip flooring, then it's probably the subfloor. Normally a subfloor made from individual boards would be wider, say 6 or 8 nominal, due to the higher labor costs installing smaller boards. In your case they may have used the narrower boards on top of the true subfloor, or run the subfloor flush with the strip flooring in the rest of the house. The reason for using anrrower subfloor boards is so that there would be more joints, and therefore less gap movement between adjacent boards, which could lead to cracking of the linoleum.
You won't know what you have on your hands until you get down to the surface of the wood. If the underside of the subfloor is visible from the basement, or you can poke a hole or remove a light fixture to investigate, you would be able to tell if the floor joists are the same height under the kitchen and the rest of the house, and if the subfloor in the kitchen is indeed the 3 1/4" strip flooring. Pine flooring is not necessarily a liability. Red oak stains a nasty dark color when exposed to water - I usually counsel against using it in a kitchen. If the pine is a nice straight grain, you might actually have fir flooring, which is a very nice floor material.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Thanks all for the great input and website reference. I did some homework. Here is an update. The oak flooring and the kitchen strip flooring are the same height. In the basement the floor joists are exposed and its easy to see that the subfloor throughout the house is the same - inch pine boards of various widths 4 -7 inches, no tongue and groove, and knotty. In the kitchen I shaved away a small square of the tarpaper - the wood has no knots, clear ` and no exposed nails. It also looks like the original installers used a rotary sander to prepare this floor for tarpaper. I am concluding the kitchen has a tongue and groove floor over a subfloor and is possibly fir. My goal is to remove the bonded tarpaper using a rented floor sander and see the entire wood surface. If it looks ok, I'll do some final sanding and finish it with a few coats of poly and consider myself lucky.
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