floor repair nightmare

jtomkoAugust 3, 2010

our home was built in Ohio in 1924, when we bought it we removed all the carpet because it was white and we have 4 kids and 6 animals. The flooring underneath was rough and so we started to patch where needed and refinish and it has turned into a nightmare. We went to several dozen professionals to have the wood ided and ended up with a pine that is no where close to the original and has left us with a very obvious patch job...I want to try one more time but I need to know what type of wood this is. I have spent hours online to no prevail, if anyone has any suggestions as to where I can go for answers it would be appreciated..I am also posting pictures.

this first one is the downstairs, the pine patch job can be seen on the left of the picture


the upstairs is in worse shape but I think it is the same wood


the next two are of a piece that has broken you can see the coloring of the wood as well as the underside



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sorry here are the pictures

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 2:14PM
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Looks like fir to me; at least what the fir in my house (installed in late 19th/early 20th in northern NYas part of an addition to my much older house) looks like. Is it splintery - that's common with fir, and true with mine.

There are several species of fir (Douglas, white, red etc.). Some may or may not still be available by special order. Don't panic at the thought of special ordering. These days almost all real strip wood flooring is a special or almost a special, order.

You can have old wood tested and identified by a lab - the Forest Product Lab comes to mind, but I may be wrong on the name. Google for wood testing labs, or contact your SHIPO (State Historic Prreservation Office) for lead to a suitable lab.

One tactic you may consider is salvaging some rooms to acquire enough to make repairs in others and putting down something else in the salvaged rooms. You will lose a lot of material during salvage (even careful work is no guaranteed of getting it all up in re-useable condition.)

Stop trying to work with "regular" floor guys, who only have experience with new work ot tear-outs. Seek out someone who knows more about older flooring; they may be more expensive, but less frustrating for old house owners.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 3:05PM
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The first two pics, it's longleaf (georgia) heart pine.
The reason they can't match it with new wood is because they didn't want to spend $16 sq.ft. for the material. Unless you can find salvaged flooring, you'll need to buy reclaimed timber. And it's high. The grain on the new pieces isn't that bad, but they would have to very carefully match the color of the antique wood. It's a time-consuming process.
The last pic is some kind of oak. Unless there's a stain on it, it looks more like red oak than white.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:17PM
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The first two pics really look like long-leaf heart pine, and Casey has the grain issue correct.

Any new WOOD is going to have different grain than 1924 wood, especially in the soft woods.

Any closets you can pilfer wood from in the house?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 9:56AM
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want to make a trip to SD? I've got a large quantity stored in my barn right now. We pulled it out of our house with intentions of reusing it (had to rebuild floors) but due to a lot of things - ended up not using it.

This is what came out of the dining room

And the two story section - this flooring is not the same dimension as the first stuff.

And underneath - why the floors had to be taken apart.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 1:49PM
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Your stash of room-length flooring is drool-worthy!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 10:13PM
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Once upon a time, I was research librarian for a timber products corp. In my library we had volumes with actual samples of wood grains. The actual WOOD sliced really thin, mounted as plates in these volumes. I do not remember what the title was, nor what group published it.

But perhaps a university library dealing with forest products would be able to find such a reference for you.

I think that salvaged lumber is awesome.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 10:56PM
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"Identifying Wood" R. Bruce Hoadley is about as good as you are likely to find.

It goes through a series of steps to narrow down the wood.

Some of the pines and firs cannot easily be differentiated.

Here is a link that might be useful: Identifying Wood

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 10:20AM
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