To refinish pine plank--or add runners? Where to buy?

sarahandbrayFebruary 21, 2009

My husband just decided today to rip up these nasty old 1950's brown "faux wood" linoleum squares that are in the hallway of our 1870's farmhouse...lovingly installed by Grandpa and an Uncle...thanks a lot! It looks a THOUSAND times better already...but...

Underneath, we kind of expected to find the hardwood floor that's in the rest of the house--most of which is southern yellow heartpine. Instead, it's not-so-pretty 4" pine plank subfloor in the back 1/3 of the house (the front 2/3 is a step up and has higher ceilings...we think there's real hardwood underneath those tiles).

Trying to decide whether to do the following:

--refinish as is and leave it all exposed

--refinish but add a runner in

--carpet the whole hallway and both sets of stairs (currently there's the cheapy Lowe's runner on the back stairs and industrial grade wall-to-wall on the front stairs)

We have three little kids, so being safe on the stairs/hallways is a priority. That being said, the second option is my favorite--adding runners (since we already have the hardware on the back stairs). But where can you buy nice runners that match for both the hallway and the stairs?? (not necessariy expensive...but a step up from the ones on the big roll at HD or Lowe's!).

Thanks for any help/suggestions!!!


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Why do you suspect it to be a subfloor? You say it's plank so I'm assuming it's not tongue & groved but that doesn't necessarily make it a SF. Possibly, it's a lesser grade of heart pine but will probably finish like the front hall.

Apparently people in the mid-19th century looked as back hallways as being utilitarian & took shortcuts on the woodwork. I have 3 floors with each trimmed on different decorative levels depending on their formal purpose. EXCEPT, the upstairs hall & the very back of the main, formal hall are trimmed the same as the basement - if guests can't see it, don't spend extra money on it! Maybe that was the attitude that the original owner of your house took, too.

Besides protecting your floors & looking pretty, rugs & runners cover a multitude of old floor sins so #2 gets my vote.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:28AM
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Thanks!! I'll have to take a photo of it to post. I don't know--just "looks" utilitarian. Not toungue & groove, I don't think--you can see the spaces in between the boards. Just a really rough finish--not that that means anything, since it's been under at least 60 years of particle board and think laminate tile. It's a pretty big house (3100sf) but all original with no additions--even though that back part steps down a few inches to the back two bedrooms and bath (obviously added later!). I'm guessing the back 1/3 was not considered as "formal" since the ceilings are 2 ft. lower.

The interesting part of the whole equation is that the only other room in the house with this type of flooring is the front parlour, currently covered in carpet. You would think it would have had the nicest flooring, since it's the formal living space, but my father-in-law (who's father bought this place in the 50's) swears that this room was never intended for hardwood flooring--it had carpet from day one (but how would he know from 80 years prior?). What are the chances of that being true? I just find it odd that all of the other original floors are in tact but this one. But I can't imagine someone would rip out perfectly good, matching hardwood floors some point prior to 1950.

Owning an old home really is like a scavenger hunt, I tell you!


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 8:19AM
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Did you have those food wood squares and the mastic used to hold them in place tested for asbestos?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 8:26AM
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No we didn't--and they very well might be. We were able to get them up without breaking anything just by prying up the underlayment, which was just nailed to the floor--no mastic. Came up in big sheets, with the thin tiles still stuck in place. Kids out of the house, mask on DH, aired it all out. Hopefully good enough!


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:22AM
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I vote for #2 as well. I was able to get some very nice, high quality wool runner at for less than that cheap-o off the roll stuff from Lowes. I did a search for 90% items to find the clearance ones, and luckily found one that coordinated well w/ my other rugs and that had a high customer satisfaction rating. Even though it is for a hallway, we also used it for our steps...yours will be easier since you have pine. We had to staple into oak =P

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Somtimes the middle of the room would be a different, lesser wood as well, since it was to be covered with a rug.

The upper floors of my 1840 building (I've not seen the originals on the first floor) were tongue and groove with no subfloor. They were never stained, originally they were covered with strips of carpet, sewn or tacked wall-to wall. (Later they were painted brown.) This was a very fancy house when built too, but they saved money on things that were to be covered anyway.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 3:23PM
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