On solid footing – Installing reclaimed flooring

It’s been a year since I’ve written about our house restoration project, and a lot has happened during that time.

We stored 2400 linear feet of reclaimed heart of pine flooring in our front hall.

Over a year ago, Scott and I bought 2400 linear feet of heart of pine flooring from Legacy Architectural Salvage in Wilmington. It was removed from an 1890s home in Beulaville that was torn down. Each plank is four inches wide and heart of pine wood is the queen of hardwoods for flooring. We were lucky to find this treasure, and I had been looking for heart of pine flooring for two years. This flooring was just ¼ inch wider than the heart of pine in the rest of the house and would be a near-perfect match.  

The flooring had just arrived that week at the salvage store and we jumped at the chance to purchase it. We rented a box truck to move our find into the Finch house, and there it sat in the entryway for a year.

Scott takes up kitchen floor.

Why was it in the entryway? Some of the planks were 12 feet long and we needed a space large and long enough that could handle that size and also be stacked in piles. It was a lot of wood!

While the wood waited to be installed, Scott dismantled our kitchen flooring. It was solid wood, and original to the house, and we found it under five layers of linoleum. (See blog Plaster Repair and More Layers May 2017.) But our architect said it was not special for such a high use-room, so we took it up, and stacked it in the bedroom to be re-laid into our master closet.

Wood storage rack in kitchen

Most of the wood came out cleanly, and we stripped it of nails before stacking it neatly in the bedroom.  We then installed sub flooring in the kitchen to keep out the cold and the neighborhood cats and any other prowling nuisance from entering our home.

Also in the corner of the bedroom was two stacks of wood comprising part of the master bathroom. That came up when we installed our shower and tub. We kept it so we could lay it down again adjacent to the spa tub.

Scott and I applied wood filler to seal the floor cracks in six rooms.

So for several months we had three very large stacks of wood dominating the two largest rooms in the house. LARGE stacks of flooring. Too large to work on walls behind them. So we bought some racks from the local woodcrafter store, and installed them on the kitchen drywall, and spent a whole day over Christmas break moving the wood onto them in batches. The wood is very heavy, solid, thick, and Scott and I were sore for two days after that.

I hired a flooring company that was recommended on Angie’s List to install our reclaimed floors. They did a great job, and it only took four days.  Not bad for six rooms! There was a fair bit of wasted flooring – that was splintered or cracked – about 20 percent of the total.

Hall closet set with our kitchen flooring

Now we have raw flooring of beautiful wood in six back rooms of the house. Not sanded and stained, just raw wood. So each weekend in February was spent filling the cracks between boards with wood filler. Down on our knees, board by board, for each room. The kitchen wood which was re-installed in our master closet and front hall closet was very tight, with very little space between each tongue and groove board, and only needed a small bit of filler in random places.

Master bedroom nearly done with heart of pine flooring.

Once we completed applying the wood filler, we covered all with ram board – a thick cardboard that comes in rolls, and taped it down to protect the flooring while we work on the walls.

Laying Ram Board to protect the floors until we are ready to sand and stain them.

Kitchen floor installed, cracks filled, and waiting to be sanded and stained.

Our reclaimed heart of pine will finish to match this existing floor in the dining room.

Front hall existing flooring will closely match the newly installed kitchen and bedroom floors

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