Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reclaiming Salvaged Hardwood Floors

Happy Thursday everyone! It's been a crazy week, but the Rockets won tonight, which has suddenly made it an exciting series here in Houston. I am 100% game for a time warp and reliving the Clutch City glory days of the Rockets from 1994 and 1995.  I can't believe its been almost twenty years since we won our last championship...cause lord knows I was a mere toddler when that happened (or eehem, excuse me, I meant a teenager).  How time flies! Well, speaking of time flying, we are now firmly in the ninth month of a four month renovation project...oh joy.  However, the old adage that "good things come to those who wait" is starting to come to life at the house, because the reclaimed wood floors have now been installed downstairs and look great. Holla!!! One of the things that Matt and I absolutely adored when we bought the house was that it had wood floors throughout (except in the bathrooms and kitchen where 1960's tile and linoleum lived - pretty).  Here's a look at the floors in the living room before we started demo at the casa.

And here is another view looking towards the living room and kitchen.  This was when we were waiting for the movers to come and take all of our junk stuff to storage.

We are keeping the wood floors throughout the house, but have to add new floors where we extended the front of the house, where the old stairs were previously located, and in the vestibule entrance to the master suite.  The areas where we need new floors downstairs are highlighted in yellow in the floor plan below. 
The existing floors were original to the house.  This created a bit of a problem because you can't just buy new wood floors from the local hardware store and expect them to match twenty-five year old (well loved and well worn) floors.  In addition to the difficulties caused by the age of our floors, each piece of flooring has these super cool pegs at the ends that Matt and loved and really up the vintage feel.  You can see the pegs in the picture below (please excuse the white mess, this picture was taken right after they taped and floated the drywall).

Apparently they do not make wood floors like this anymore kids.  Accordingly, we had to find salvaged wood floors that we could re-purpose for our home. And boy did we hit the jackpot.  We were actual able to find a ton of wood that matched exactly.  Score!!!

Here's another picture of our reclaimed wood floor loot!

The process of installing the floors was like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle.  Since the salvaged wood floors came from various different locations, the guys had to hunt through all the pieces to find ones that matched perfectly when laying them down. Here's the installation process in action the dining room and foyer extension.

And this is what the floors look like after being installed. You can see where the new floor was installed because of the color change.

Here is another view of the newly installed floors looking from the dining room into the living room.  You can also see where they added the new floors to the right of the staircase (that is where the old stairs were located).

And this is one last view from the back corner of the living room looking towards the front of the house. You can hardly see a difference from this angle.

However, as you can see from the other pictures, not all the salvaged wood matched our current floors exactly.  That is where the floor re-finishers come in.  The process of refinishing floors is quite step-heavy and labor-intense.  According to the Cliff'sNotes version, they first sand down the floors, then cover the floors with wood filler, then stain the floors, and then finish the floors with a several coats of polyurethane for protection.  In all honestly, I didn't believe that they would be able to make the miss-mash of floor pieces match our existing floors no matter how much they sanded or stained them.  So the builder brought in his guy to prepare a sample for us...and let me say, I was shocked at the difference!  The picture below shows the refinished floors inside the blue box and the unfinished floors to the left and below the square. Wow, what a transformation!  This little section is nearly ready for its close-up darling! I am definitely a believer now (cue the Monkeys "I'm a believer I couldn't leave if I tried..da na na na")!!!!

They still will have to add all the wood pegs to the boards that don't have them.  Also, we are going to stain the floors a darker color, but we haven't figured out the exact color yet.  I am thinking something like this though:
I dig the fact that the color is on the darker side but retains the warm rich undertones and highlights the beautiful grain in the wood (which I think we would loose if we went with a super dark stain like a java color).  So that is all for today.  I hope you enjoyed seeing our floor progress!  Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!!!

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