Floor Fixing

A year or so ago this random guy stopped by our house while we were out trimming trees. He said he lived in this house in the nineties and occasionally drove by to see the place. It was a great opportunity to hear more about the history of our home, so we invited him in. He talked about an old stove that was in the kitchen, the shower that was in the downstairs bathroom, the doors that used to hang between each of the rooms downstairs, and even told us the floors were painted when he lived here. (What?!?)

Our wood floors are original, as far as we can tell, and are in decent shape. Charlie’s done a number on them, of course, but they’re not terrible… except for one really bad spot between the front hall and the dining room.

Shortly after moving in we followed the advice of This Old House, which involved stuffing a length of rope between the cracks. It didn’t go well, but we’ve been afraid to tackle anything with the floors since then. So we finally hired a carpenter guy to came over one day, and he had it done in three hours!

He had to use big screws, rather than little finish nails, to attach the boards to the floor joists because this part of the house is right by the exposed chimney that has pulled the house downward over the last 130 years. The floor boards bent as the chimney sank, and they were super bowed. Because we weren’t replacing all the floor boards, we needed to keep some of that bow in order for there to be a smooth transition from old board to new.

And, by the way, I’m calling them “new boards,” but they are actually reclaimed from our master bath remodel. Tony ripped up carpet, stripped several layers of linoleum, and used a drum sander before pulling the boards up for future repairs, rather than covering them back up with tile. We’ve had a whole pile up in the attic since then.

So, after carpenter man did his thing, we filled those screw holes with Bondo wood filler. By the way, I don’t recommend that product. It smelled awful, and its “stainable” label was less than accurate. In order to match the stain color, we had to color over all those screw holes with Crayola marker! (We tried sharpie at first, but Crayola blended the best!)

Then we sealed the stain with polyurethane, and it looks fantastic!

Unfortunately, in fact, it now looks way better than the rest of the floor. I’ll be honest, this was part of my previous hesitation to carry out any floor repair. But I’ll try some Restore-A-Finish on the old floor to deepen the color and that shiny new polyurethane will fade a bit in time, and it won’t even be noticeable. I’m just glad we are no longer in danger of losing anything down those old cracks!

(Yes, that really did happen! Carpenter Man found a toy of Edmond’s down in the crawl space that had slipped through the floorboards!)

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