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Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

Posted by Ira_Zoe (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 25, 11 at 12:52

Just pulled up the 1960s broadloom in the living & dining rooms of our newly-bought old (1914-1924ish) 2.5 storey double-brick home to find the floors aren't fully hardwood. Never seen this before!

About 2 feet of 3/4-inch oak with dark inlay flooring runs around the perimeter of each 10' x 12' room, but in the centre there are planks of wood we can't identify.

Any idea what type of wood it's likely to be in the centre?

Anyone know why the flooring would have been done this way and when?

The 2nd floor rooms are all oak flooring with dark inlay.

The main floor entrance & trim is gumwood, we were told.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

Without knowing where you're from or at least viewing a photo, there is no way to guess what you have there.

RE: Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

The house is in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada -- near Ivor Wynn stadium. Will get photos up as soon as I can.

RE: Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

Some photos of the flooring have been posted here: Old House 2011/?start=0

There are 8 pix of the flooring in question. It seems to be oak with a dark (stain or different wood?) inlay around the perimeter of the room, but the center flooring is wider planks. What type of wood is in the center? (Sorry, there is an imprint on it from the undercarpet.)And why would the floor be built like this? Does this suggest an age/ era in home construction?

Hope somebody can help answer our questions!

Here is a link that might be useful: Ira_Zoe Old house photos

RE: Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

It appears to be pine planks surrounded by narrow, quarter-sawn oak, but I don't know why they did it like that.

A wild guess would be that they planned to always use an area rug, and the pine was less desirable/cheaper. Or they had some damaged flooring and did a quick repair.

RE: Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

It's probably pine or fir in the middle of those nice skinny tongue and groove flooring. That was common when carpeting was popular for the center of the room, because no thrifty buyer would pay for oak that no one was going to see.

The authentic restoration would be to refinish the borders and install a flat pile patterned carpet, a floor cloth, or large area rug in the center.

I have seen a couple of these updated, keeping the border and using a different hardwood in the center, staining the pine, or painting the centers.

RE: Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

The border material is white oak with some attractive graining, included some rift sawn with ray fleks. It is topnailed...what I call "thin slat" flooring...probably no more than 3/8" thick. If the fir in the field is 3/4" tongue in groove, then my guess is there is 3/8" plywood or some other wood product under the thin slat flooring.

RE: Hardwood with inlay surrounding unknown wood!

idrive and lazygardens have pegged it. Your floor was originally installed with less expensive interior wood so that a rug could be placed. That's fairly common with old homes.

Just a suggestions - since you are in a 1914-1924 home, you might find that posting all of your historical/structural questions on the Old House forum gets you good responses from homeowners of like properties.

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