Subfloor as Final Flooring? Feedback Requested

anymaccJanuary 23, 2014

Hi all,
Hubby and I are updating our 25 year old pier and beam colonial. We were going to do 8" wide plank pine floors throughout the entire house except bedrooms. I like the effortless, warm and somewhat oldworld feel.

When we pulled up the carpet we learned the whole house has a rather nice 2x6" tongue and groove pine subfloor ALL OVER THE WHOLE HOUSE! It's all going the same diagonal direction - even upstairs. The gaps are not all even but that is also in keeping with some of the pics I've seen of this country old look I'm after. So then I got to thinking...

1) Isn't this very close to the look I'm after. Country, rustic, old. Why put wood over wood?

2) These floors are super thick. 2". So we could paint, sand, stain, sand etc to our heart's desire and not go through them

3) Most homes have plywood subflooring. Especially homes built on a slab. Not to mention upstairs.

4) They say they don't make'em like they used to. Should I showcase the original labor of love that went into building this home - or hide them?

5) I don't mind the spacing. In fact, I rather like it. Many of the manufactured floors try to add this groove. BUT, would debris get irritating - should I add filler or just vacuum?

Here are some pics and also some inspiration pics showing flooring with similar irregular groove spacing.

http://s748.photobucket.com/user/anymachouseproject/media/floor2_zpsbe715133.jpg.html

http://www.houzz.com/photos/1466066/Eclectic-Farm-House-farmhouse-dining-room-new-york

http://www.houzz.com/photos/5568754/Farmhouse-Renovation-farmhouse-living-room-chicago

http://www.houzz.com/photos/773806/Re-purposing-an-Attic-rustic-kids-ottawa

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katy-lou

I dont think that is subfloor that looks the original wood floors! Sand, fill and finish and they will be amazing! What a great find!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 11:04PM
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anymacc

Thanks Katy my thoughts exactly.

Another concern I have is the kitchen and family room have been tiled over this wood so when my floor guy demolishes the tile he will also have to break up and sand the remaining grout down to the wood. I suspect the machines he uses should be able to do this.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 11:55PM
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anymacc

I've heard of people filling, but what would I use? Also do I only fill the big gaps or include the small ones?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 11:58PM
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live_wire_oak

Fill will just fall out ans the humitidy changes with the seasons.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 7:11AM
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worthy

That's subfloor and as noted above fill will fall out.

If you like the look, it can be sanded and finished. It's a sporadically popular contrast in high-end furnishings design ads where the "rooms" displayed are purely for show. See "bathroom" below from Wetstyle, Montreal in their catalogue and the February 2014 edition of Architectural Digest.

I tried it in one whole house slated for demo--nothing to lose--and in a room in one house. I finished it with gloss urethane. I like rustic. But this just looked cheap and unfinished. I'd suggest trying a section at first--maybe even with different treatments--before doing a whole floor of your home at once.

This post was edited by worthy on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 9:52

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:48AM
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renovator8

good luck with your project

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 16:29

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:15AM
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HandyMac

Regardless of how much you like the look, that subfloor was installed to be the underlayment for something over it as a final flooring material.

Trying to use that as a finished floor will only fail, probably sooner than later for the points already listed.

If you like the look, find flooring that looks similar---although all the gaps will be a bear with which to deal---dirt/water/etc. will collect.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:35AM
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geoffrey_b

You can use the floor as is. Forget the advice about filling - it will just pop out. You can leave it bare, or oil it, or wax it.

One thing is if the tile floor was done correctly - there will probably be thin-set, cement board, tile or perhaps wire mesh and a mortar bed. What I'm getting at is that the raw floor may be pretty beatup in those rooms.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:51PM
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anymacc

Thanks Geoffrey_B. I was also watching Attic Rehab and was amazed to see she shares our creativity and vision. When ever she finds hardwood planking regardless of whether it was subfloor or final floor she ALWAYS chooses to restore because the character in the flooring is stronger than anything new you can install.

It seems many are afraid to go this route but the finish product usually is awesome. Below are some examples of flooring that has similarly irregular gaps in the planks:

Rustic Living Room by Guilford Architects & Designers CK Architects

Farmhouse Living Room by Chicago Architects & Designers Ann Clark Architects LLC

Traditional Hall by Hollywood Architects & Designers Thos. Ryan Design LLC

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 4:35PM
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worthy

Just hope you never drop anything small on that floor and watch it disappear. Or slip and put a pine splinter into a bare body part!

(I'd also be curious how a porous floor affects the HVAC system.)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 7:27PM
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anymacc

My floors are tongue and groove so nothing would be falling through or disappearing. Also not sure I understand the comment about porous since we were looking at putting down wide plank pine flooring before we discovered this under the carpet.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:11AM
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worthy

Some pretty big gaps for t&g. The porousity refers to non t&g where HVAC return and supply would be affected.

A plus, of course, is that if you don't like it once it's done, no big prep is needed for a finished floor.

As I suggested earlier, do one room first and see if you and your partner are still enamoured.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:49AM
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powermuffin

Lots of old houses have this as the finished flooring, mine included. It was sanded and varnished, is beautiful and suits us just fine. It was always intended to be the flooring in our house. It is not a "subfloor" even though it is the only layer. We do have some places that had splinters; I carefully sanded them out, or pulled them up and then sanded the area. We have gaps like you do. Who cares? It is an old house. Do what you want.
Diane

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 4:51PM
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anymacc

Thank you for all the feedback and sorry for late response. We went ahead and sanded and stained our floors. Here are some pictures. We love how it turned out very charming and warm.

This first one is after they sanded

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:15AM
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anymacc

Stained

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:16AM
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anymacc

Our new entry floor

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:17AM
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anymacc

Stairs getting new paint. Should be done by tomorrow

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:19AM
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anymacc

This was our staircase and the flooring in the foyer before.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:21AM
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anymacc

With new posts and hardwood flooring. We had them nail the spindle directly on the step. It used to have carpet and a partial tread where they terminated.

I'm loving the transformation! :-)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:26AM
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debrak2008

Beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:37AM
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krayers

Looks amazing. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:49AM
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anymacc

Thank you Debrak and Krayers!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:43PM
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weedyacres

I think I remember those stairs. Weren't you asking if you could DIY new treads?

Nice work on the floors!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:22PM
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anymacc

Weedyacres thanks and yes we were. We decided to have a professional do them specially since the bottom ones are rounded.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 5:57PM
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feisty68

Love this.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:14PM
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renovator8

good luck with your project

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 8:27

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:56AM
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worthy

That's a wonderful entry and the newell posts are perfect!

(Now for a few two-button switches.)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 5:08PM
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worthy

Duplicate

This post was edited by worthy on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 10:27

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 5:09PM
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canuckplayer

Hope the floors work out for you. But, I'm pretty sure they are subfloors. That is why they are all laid on the diagonal. The finished planking installed on top would be sure to have a solid surface below. It didn't matter what way the joists ran. If you look at the pics you posted of the refurbished floors, the planks all run straight.
I'm not trying to sound like a bitc*, but are sure your house is only 25 years old? That would make it built circa 1988. Plywood would be used then, but from the 50's and further back, there were no plywood subfloors, just like there was no drywall, it was plaster and lath. Craftsmanship was alive and well then.
They may not stand up, but so what? For as long as they last, they'll make you happy.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:22PM
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renovator8

The OP is aware that they are subfloors hence the original question.

Most houses in certain parts of Texas are built close to the ground on a slab-on-grade with an integral shallow concrete perimeter foundation. This house has a pier & beam foundation where the house is raised above grade on beams supported by concrete or CMU dug piers or driven piles. This foundation system is usually more expensive than a slab but not when the soil is expansive clay, a common condition in Texas.

In the 80's developers liked to use carpet and resilient flooring instead of hardwood finish flooring and these finishes required a subfloor and a layer of underlayment. Apparently that was the case in this house and the developer chose to use nominal 2x6 T&G decking instead of two thinner layers or a single 1 1/4" thick layer of plywood which might have also made it possible to use 24" o.c. or wider joist spacing.

What we haven't been told is the elevation difference between the decking and any finished hardwood flooring in the house especially at the stairs. It might not even be possible to install finished wood flooring over the decking and still be able to align it with with other finish flooring in the house.

Regardless of the appearance of the finished decking, it is important to avoid large transition strips where different materials meet.

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 13:00

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 8:37AM
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