There will be holes from tack strips and nails. Whether you need to
refinish will be determined by their condition before carpeting, time
carpeted, and how many holes you find. Also, pet stains may be a
big problem which even refinishing cannot cure.
We had ratty old carpet in our first house and couldn't afford to
replace it. So we just ripped it up, and underneath were beautiful
wood floors (I think they were pine, not hardwood, but still
We had to pull up carpet and padding, carefully pry up tack stripping
along the edges, and pull up hundreds of staples that had held down the
padding. The last was most difficult and time-consuming because some
staples were so old they had rusted. The top tended to break off and
leave the legs in the wood. Those legs were extremely hard to get hold
of. Found that a miniature pair of Vise-Grips worked best. (The cheap
knock-offs did NOT work!) A few staples had to be gently hammered in
below the surface.
There didn't appear to be any pet stains or similar, so we just cleaned
the floors thoroughly and waxed them. They didn't look "new" but they
looked pretty darned good.
But it will depend entirely on the condition of the floors. In our
case the previous owners installed carpet because that's what they
wanted, not because the floors were in bad shape. YMMV.
Best -- Terry
I did the same thing in my home... we pulled up about 1500 square foot
of carpet and found beautiful white oak 1.5" flooring (common to the
era the house was built, 60's)
The floor was ORANGE, not kidding...orangish brown. The finish was
disgusting in color, but in good shape. We used chemical strippers in
the dining room, and they took forever and we still had to sand with a
palm sander before we refinished with about 10 coats of undiluted gloss
polyurethane...looks like a basketball court now.
You can do all this stuff yourself, paying a professional is expensive
(I got a quote of $4000 for all of my 1500 square feet) don't know if
the fella spit shines it or what for that price, redoing the whole
floor has cost me a grand total of about $200, and that's with the cost
of all that chemical stripper for the dining room. ($50)
Sounds similar to a house my wife and I renovated last Summer. It
sounds as though your floors were finished with varnish. With carpet,
over time you'll get an orange-brown mottling of the varnish from the
pressure and rubbing of the carpet padding, particularly if it's a
cheap padding...as was the case in the house I have - 30 years of nasty
carpet padding does a number on varnish, let me tell you.
Your solution was probably the best way to go. Once the Wife and I
build up enough equity in the house we bought, we'll take a month
between tenants to do the same with the floors in the house we have.
And, yeah, while a beautiful wax or varnish finish appeals to my purist
nature, a gloss or satin polyurethane finish can't be beat for looks
The primary reason to go with a professional is if you have to do any
sanding whatsoever on the floor. It is nearly impossible for us DIYers
to avoid unevenness no matter what you use - orbital or random
vibrating sanders will leave marks. The other reason is you feel your
time is worth more than what you would pay a professional to do the
work. Kelly, how much time did it take you to refinish 1500 sq/ft of
floors? Some might feel it's worthwhile to pay someone to do it faster
and have their own personal time for other pursuits/needs.
But if you're feeling ambitious and want to spend the time, have at it!
Rest assured, you will be tired and sore when you're done, but you can
impress friends and family with the fa-boo new floors you did yourself!
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