It’s might be tempting to want to under budget when it comes to flooring—it can be very expensive and yet, flooring is the largest expense of material in your house. It really sets the tone for your whole design. Sometimes what you see is what you get—you take up a carpet to reveal beautiful wide pine plank flooring in excellent condition. Other times, there’s a whole rotten mess lurking beneath the surface.
The biggest reason homeowners choose to replace wood flooring is to satisfy aesthetic preferences. Creaky and uneven floors might be perfectly charming in a restored historic townhouse, but perhaps inappropriate in a home or apartment with a more modern feel and aesthetic.
If there’s significant damage to a large part of the floor, or if you’re renovating and moving walls around, it will almost always be more time- and cost-efficient to replace. Keep in mind that not all damage is superficial. Does the floor creak? Does it wiggle when you walk over it? Are there soft spots? Is it level and is it flat? These are all things that call for further investigation, as they may indicate a bigger issue beneath the surface. Subfloor deterioration due to mold or termites can go unseen, but eventually degrade the underside of any wood flooring put on top of it. In some older home there is no subfloor at all. Which means your flooring is the only thing between you and the room or apartment below. This can limit the types and intensity of repairs the flooring can take. RH Wood Floors have repaired and restored 100's of wood floors, we are Dublin's experts in Wood Floor restoration. Give us a call if you need advise on your floors and we can arrange a free consultation. Take a look at a recent restoration project in Ranelagh, Dublin here
The good news is that hardwood is durable especially wood in historic homes, where planks were generally much thicker. Often, an original floor with some minor surface damages or imperfections—peeling, deep grooves, slight warping—may be refinished or repaired. A good floor can be sanded down and refinished several times to look almost-new. Floors can have many lives. If you are replacing a few planks here and there, however, keep in mind that different kinds of wood take stain differently. If you have a white oak floor that’s currently sealed with a light stain or a clear polyurethane finish, going darker should be no problem but taking a dark floor, on the other hand, and going lighter might not be possible without bleaching, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Repairing individual damaged planks can be easier in rooms like bedrooms, where you can design around flaws with area rugs or placement of furniture. For new floors on a budget, RH Wood Floors have deployed strategies of prioritising long wood planks in the larger open rooms where they are most visible, and hiding shorter boards under beds and furniture, The same could be done with the grade and appearance of the wood, for example knots and checks, to avoid paying premiums for fully clear wood or solely long planks. In common areas like an open kitchen or living room, though, it can be harder to spot-fix. In this case, opting for a high-gloss finish may be one way to help hide imperfections like chips or cracks.
If you old wood floor is in generally good condition—there is something so special about keeping a floor that came with the house 150 years ago, with all its history and character, not every historic floor can or even has to be saved. If you’d prefer to rip up your perfectly fine floor and start over, you can send the wood to a salvage company.