I bought my house new from the developer more than 25 years ago. At
that time, wall-to-wall carpeting was so popular that my wife
demanded to cover our beautiful oak floors with thick wool carpet.
In the process, we had to cut a couple of inches from the bottom of
the doors of our five bedrooms to accommodate the thick carpet.
Now that the carpet has served its job quite well and gotten old, I
will have to take it off the floors, revealing the oak flooring
I am trying to figure out what is my best option of the three listed
1. refinish the current oak floor
2. lay laminate floor onto the oak floor
I would like to hear your suggestions from you to help me to make my
Oh, hell yes, this is a no-brainer. If the floors were covered when new (and
some idiot didn't glue the pad down), and there haven't been any leaks or
pet stains, the floors may not even need a full refinish, just a touch-up in
the traffic paths where the grit filtered through and sanded the factory
finish. (From the vintage, I am assuming Bruce or similar- very durable
finishes.) Hardest part will be removing the tack strip and filling the
holes- those damn nails love to leave rust stains, just from random
humidity. As to the doors- if painted, adding a block to the bottom is
doable- if stained, <may> be doable if a paneled door, but even if you have
to replace half a dozen door blanks, that is cheap compared to a Real Wood
Floor. If they raised the base and shoe mold when they carpeted, you will
need to redo that anyway, so you will be doing some refinishing in any case.
Standard disclaimer- one of the selling points for this 1960 house I bought
was the hardwood in the front of house and hallway/bedrooms. Once the
regretfully new carpet wears out, I will be springing for a refinish.
(Bedrooms were already back to oak, 2 of the 3 with an amateur refinish.)
Everybody seems to be in favor of refinishing the oak floor. The
floor was carpeted when it was brand new.
Although I am quite handy, I will probably need to hire professional
people to do the job. How do I go about finding good reliable ones,
not necessarily the cheapest, but reasonably priced.
I thank all of you for your refreshing input.
Hey, wait! I haven't thrown in my two bits yet and you've already made
up your mind. I _hate_ getting to the posts lat in the game. ;)
Obviously, the value of a real oak floor in immaculate condition adds
more to the value of your house, and pride in your house, than any
laminate. There are nice laminates, but they're just not the same
thing. The refinishing will also be a lot cheaper than installing a
new floor. You'll probably save enough money refinishing to buy new
doors for those five bedrooms.
When trying to locate reputable contractors asking your neighbors for
recommendations leads the pack. That way you can see the work and the
contractor will feel more comfortable with you as well. After that
calling a hardwood floor distributor in your area and asking for the
names of two contractors works well. Ask them for their biggest
customer and who does the best work. Biggest is not always best, and
best is not always cheap, hopefully you'll find one that will fit the
You mean you are handy and can not remove carpeting and tack strips.
You can not be very handy then. I think you can do the removel. Pat
your self on the back and tell yourself you can do it. After you
CAREFULLY remove the tack strips, get some colored putty or wood
filler to match the floor, and using your finger or a putty knife,
push it into the nail holes. I bet you can do that too.
At this point, you determine whether the whole floor needs to be
refinished. If it was in good condition, it probably dont need
refinishing, and all you got to do is go over the wood filler with a
light sand paper and apply some varnish over those spots. I'm sure
you can do that too. Of course you;ll have to wash the whole floor.
Leave that to the wife.
There you go, no hiring, and no money spent except the $25 you paid
for the wood filler, varnish and sandpaper.
You said you had to cut off the doors. A larger gap under an interior
door is not a major problem and allows better air flow around the
house. However, if you dont like the looks of it, rather than replace
the doors, have wooden sticks cut the width of the doors and thickness
needed, and screw them on the door bottoms. Get a wood that matches,
and apply finish to match. It's not exactly the same, but if finished
carefully, it will look ok.
On Wed, 22 Feb 2006 06:51:18 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:
You are tempting me into undertaking something I am not sure I have
enough endurance to accomplish with. I was thinking ofapplying
polyurathane finish which we never applied except for the family room,
which is the only room that has not had carpet installed.
I will test my skill and edurance by refinish the family room floor by
sanding it and applying another coat of polyurethane finish.
Thank you for your suggestion.
If a wood floor has been covered continuously by carpet, and has no
water damange, it would be hard to believe it needs "refinishing". I
would vacuum it well, DAMP mop with mild detergent. I use cool water
and Dawn or Murphy's on wood floors and furniture. If the carpet went
on when the floor was new, there should be no wax build-up, so the next
step would be to try waxing traffic areas, knowing it might make them
slippery. Use wax intended for wood floors.
Taking up the carpet is relatively easy. Pull up from the tack strip in
strips about 3' wide, fold back on itself, cut backing along the fold,
roll up the strip you just cut off. Much easier than trying to jockey a
whole carpet. Use a piece of thin masonite or something similar to
brace the prybar when you pull up the tack strip - works a bit better
when you go along the strip and try to pry the nails in sequence so you
don't break the strip. Wood filler in a close color should finish the
job. You can get better camouflage by using artist oil color to paint
the nail holes - matching wood grain isn't rocket science - just takes a
little experimentation. Thin the paint, add a touch of varnish in gloss
similar to the floor, apply thinly with small brush.
The oak is beautiful and has advantages (looks if you love wood, flexibility in
decorating with area carpets, cleanliness, currently in favor and with wide
appeal if you sell), a replacement of the wool carpeting would be beautiful and
have advantages (sound dampening, looks if you like it, warmth to feet, no
tripping over area rug transitions). It's a matter of priorities and taste.
Covering an oak floor with a laminate would be a travesty, outrage, and
sacrilege, though. You might even find St. Peter would be offended and your
eternal soul would be in jeopardy, so beware! ):-D
I knew there were likeminded people out there; just hard to find :o)
Same goes for sticking "peel and stick" tile on ANY surface. I HATE
plastic, including anything coated with polyurethane. Give me volatile
solvents to cover my wood :o)
Clearly you like the oak floors, so the answer seems clear. Refinish, replace
The answer is so clear, I suspect an unmentioned complication. The preferences
of your wife, perhaps? Can't help you with that ;)
I just put oak floors in my house one thing about oak it's always in style.
Check what the cost would be to refinish them, then see what a prefinished
WOOD floor would cost. What are the doors painted or stained? you might be
able to put a filler on the bottom if painted. But then again nothing says
hello to you feet like carpet. So I'm pretty much no help, balls back in you
For what its worth, I would walk on a laminated floor before installing it
in your house. I like the looks of the laminate I had installed in one room
of my house but it just doesn't feel like a floor should when walking on it.
Even though the foam was installed under it, it sounds hollow, not at all
solid like real hardwood. Option 1 or 2 would make more sense.
Refinish the oak floor. It will be noisier,
harder, and colder than carpet. In contrast it
will have more character and beauty than carpet
and it will be healthful for the occupants of the
house, especially if any have allergies. Most
people use at least some rugs to ameliorate the
cold and noise, but they can easily be kept clean
compared to carpet.
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