I have an 80+ year old house. Originally, wallpaper was hung on 9 ½"
wide by ¾" thick strips of wood. Some years later, drywall was hung
over the wallpaper. Decades of cracking (foundation issues) and
shoddy patch jobs have convinced me to replace most of the drywall.
I should also mention that approx 1000 sq feet of flooring needs to be
replaced. The original hardwood laminate flooring is disintegrating
beyond repair over much of the house.
Since I'm taking down the old drywall, I got to thinking...why not take
down the wood planks from the walls and the ceiling, plane them and
use them for floors? I believe the wood is pine...many strips are 15+
feet long...and surely over 80 years the wood is warp-proof. There are
knots and nail holes. It seems like the holes could be filled with
something (what would work best?)
I would have to buy a planer (never used one before). I'm willing to
buy a good one since I'll be saving a ton on flooring!
If I had a good planer...Couldn't I remove all the nails, plain the
planks to a uniform thickness, sand 'em (some planers can take sander
attachments, I believe), stain 'em and nail 'em down?
Surely I'm missing something. It sounds too easy. What think ye?
I believe you're missing much and much of it may be structural. Houses
of that era commonly had 1X10 shiplap on the interior side of walls. I
suspect you will find there is not a header in the house over any door or
window. That's because structural support was provided by that shiplap in
addition to the exterior siding on exterior walls and shiplap on both sides
on interior walls. You can remove the shiplap though you should be prepared
to reframe doors and windows with proper headers on load-bearing walls.
That shiplap also served to help the walls resist racking and removing it
will lessen that resistance.
You could use the boards for flooring. Unlike the pine grown today
whose primary function is fast growth, old growth loblolly (?) pine was
denser and thus harder. Purchase a metal detector before planing; you'll
want to find any metal in the wood before you run it through your planer
blades. Floor refinishing suppliers will have filler by the bucket that
will sand very well. You should consider laying a plywood subfloor though
that could present issues relative to existing floor height and surrounding
rooms. It was common practice to have but a single layer floor. Apply
generous amounts of Liquid Nails between the subfloor and your pine finish
It's a monumental task that, in the end, may cost you more in labor and
replacement materials for the walls you rob than you save on the flooring.
Now you're going to need new door jambs, baseboards, and door and window
casing. You'll be changing the wall thickness which means your windows and
doors will no longer be the correct depth.
NuWave Dave in Houston