old floors

nick1862June 23, 2008

My home was built in 1862 and it has the original hardwood floors. The floor boards have gaps and some are 1/8th to 1/4th inch higher in spots. I think refinishing the floors would require a road grader. Is there a way I can install laminate flooring on top of this? Thanks, Nick.

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worthy

I'd get some on-site opinions on refinishing before abandoning the idea.

If you're installing laminate, you may have to sand down some high spots. However, experienced installers using a heavy underlayment and cedar shakes can do wonders.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 12:37PM
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heimert

I think you should talk to a flooring guy and then live with the charm of those floors or those floors, after refinishing.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 5:39PM
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growlery

I'm the opposite.

I'm TERRIFIED some idiot is going to come in with a road grader and destroy my almost 200-year-old wide-board pine floors.

I don't know what I'm going to do.

Putting a floating floor may be preferable to a bad refinishing job. And I've seen far too many bad refinishing jobs to be confident.

Good luck, whatever you choose.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 3:10PM
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powermuffin

Geez, I have a hard time imagining an 1862 house with laminate floors.
Diane

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 3:24PM
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lovesjazzycat

Please talk with a reputable floor refinisher before making a decision on this. We found our floor guy by asking contractors and owners of old houses who we should hire. We're in a rural area in SC. Almost everyone we asked recommended the same person. He does absolutely fantastic work. If everyone we have dealt with in working on our house were like the floor refinisher, we would have a lot more finished by now and we would be a lot happier!!!

We're having to refinish a few rooms at a time. Did three rooms the first time and two the second. Lots more to go. Most of our floors had been painted brown. Some of the floors are different wood, but the wide heart pine is the most beautiful (some rooms upstairs). The bedroom downstairs used to be a beauty shop. PO had carpeted that room. Floor refinisher literally had to plug 15 holes of various sizes in that room. Fantastic work. You would never be able to find most of those places now.

When you live in an old house, you have to accept some imperfections as part of the charm of the house. However, an experienced and reputable floor refinisher will give you more beautiful floors for less money than anything else you could do.

Ask around, look at the work he's done for others, and get an estimate. I don't think you'll be sorry. Years ago, I thought wood laminate looked nice. After living with my beautiful floors, I think it looks really cheap and fake now. Just my opinion, but why cover up floors that are so lovely and rare. The floors are one of the best features in most old homes.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 6:21PM
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allison1888

DO NOT put laminate floors over those old wood floors. Find a reputable floor company -- go look at their previous work and see for yourself -- and find a solution. There is always a way. The floors will be beautiful, but perhaps still have some gaps. That's the beauty of old houses.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 10:58PM
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nick1862

I agree with both of you. Even the best laminates look like laminates! I also have the wide pine upstairs, painted brown. I have decided to keep my old floors. Thanks for the input from all of you. Nick.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 11:00AM
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rae0101

Nick, I want to chime in here since you've decided to keep the floors...which I think is a GREAT idea. The hardwood floors in our home were restored before we bought it. The guy did an awesome job. They're darker and more elegant downstairs, and upstairs, where the kids' bedrooms are, they're lighter, more natural. He'd put a satin finish on them: that's just what I'd have asked for. Recently, the same guy refinished the floors on a little house across the street. I swear, they look like Pergo! You'd think they were laminate. However, that new owner has totally re-done the little house with no thought to it's original character. It now looks like a tract house. I think the owner must have asked for perfection and high gloss polyurethane. So if you do consult a re-finisher, you may want to ask to see examples of his work that resemble the end-result you're looking for. Lord, I'm long-winded. Sorry!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 10:54AM
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