The Secrets What Lie Beneath
I am going to talk about many things, including why I hate carpets and wood strip flooring. Primarily, this post is to be about why we DID NOT move in on New Years weekend and what we found under those
You see, the carpet that *I* tore up was relatively new. My guess would be about 6 months old, long enough to spill a few things and filter a few dozen cartons of cigarettes. It still smelled like stale tobacco smoke, yet showed few actual signs of wear. I imagine that when the POs [Previous Owners] decided on selling the house, they did away with the previous carpet as the first part of prepping the sale. This older carpet might have been 30 years old or more, but had left many signs of its trialsome life behind.
So after concluding that the oak strip flooring was unsalvageable, I decided to rely on the original floorboards. The bedrooms still had them, although one bedroom had its boards painted brown for reasons yet unknown. My parents had come to our rescue to help us out; being the seasoned homebuilders/renovators that they are, this was a MAJOR relief.
The original ¾” old growth quarter-sawn tongue & groove Douglas Fir boards told me a tale of woe surpassing that of the puny oak strips. First of all, being thin and narrow wood strips and NOT t&g, they require a plethora of nails to keep them in line. And when some PO decided that wet mopping a wood floor was a good idea, this army of nails decided to rust and leave corrosion stains through the floorboards in too many places (though not shown here). This means that no amount of sanding will remove the stains, though I suppose some bleaching might work. Well, the same continued for the incidents during the carpet years because as wood strips, the dust, silt, cleaners and water seep through each gap, and reside evermore underneath, spreading out with every step of the foot.
Not only that, but when those malevolent strips were first put in, the installers seemed to have used some pick axe in the poor flooring to nestle up the oak nice and snug (but not snug enough). These ½” deep holes are found about every 3 feet, and some of them, like you see here, had been sloppily mis-placed. We figured that the amount of time/effort/money it would take to redress those wrongs and apply an adequate finish to the dougfir, we might do better with a whole new floor on all accounts.
So after much deliberation and sleeping on it, we decided upon and found a great deal on ¾” x 5” pre-finished Ash, and it has a 50 yr guarantee on the finish. Here is a mock-up. We are quite pleased with how it compliments the baseboards. This will be our task this weekend, but it means that we should have the ceilings painted beforehand…AND WE HADN’T EVEN CONSIDERED COLORS YET! But thank goodness that this is Roxana’s area of expertise, color theorist as she is. I trust her explicitly.
Here you see a corner of our living room all bare a neekid. Just a little shellac here, paint there, and a floor to come soon, and voila! All this week has been about preparing to paint, which means we have to finish with the stripping, neutralize the residual stripper left behind and mask off everything else. To neutralize the stripper, we are scrubbing the wood and adjacent surfaces with mineral spirits, and then washing it all down with a 10% solution of cleaner (Simple Green, in our case) using nylon abrasive pads.
Perhaps I shall soon provide an addendum to my Chemi-Strip Primer, or more "advanced" techniques, I am such a profession now.