Our Wood Floors “Before” – The Good, The Bad, & The Dangerous

If you just read my latest post about the new floors in our kitchen, you probably saw a few glimpses of the “before.” Well, today I’m getting into all of the not-so-fun details of how messed up our floor actually was. But don’t you fret. I’m also sharing our top 3 choices before we made our final decision as well as more progress photos! 

When we purchased our house last May (yes, that’s right – last MAY) we had no idea how bad the condition of the floors were. We thought, hey, they’re charming, right? It’s a 100-year-old- house, so it’s “cool” to have weird floors. Well, boy were we wrong. As much as I yearned to keep the original 1922 hardwood floors, the reality was that it just wasn’t safe. Here’s why.

You see so many home-renovation shows on HGTV that the moment they find the original hardwoods under carpet they gasp with excitement. “Original hardwoods! Just what we were hoping for!” Well, what you don’t always see on TV is the reality of some old homes. Sure, some historic homes have hardwoods that are salvageable. They haven’t been sanded down a MILLION and a half times, and maybe they don’t have a gazillion holes and soft spots everywhere. In those cases, congrats. You’ve found yourself a stable, safe, and (once re-finished) beautiful original wood floor. But unfortunately in our home, that “TV moment” just wasn’t our reality. Shocker.

Instead, THIS ended up happening. More on this later…

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We ended up doing a lot more wall removal than originally planned. Once we started tearing down walls, the flooring issues really started to reveal themselves. We later found out the floor’s original structure wasn’t in good enough condition, which (over time) made the original hardwoods vary in height. I’ll just put it this way, the front of the house was 5-6 inches lower than the back of the house. Yeah… not like 1 or 2 inches…five to SIX inches in difference.

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ugh. My heart sank.

The wall removal also eventually made us realize that patching wasn’t going to be an option. There would have been SO much patching involved that we basically would have needed new wood floors. Maybe 30% of the original flooring could have stayed, and that’s about it. It didn’t help that there was an addition done (most likely) in the 30s or 40s, so there were about 4 different types of flooring throughout the downstairs. Our house was also (at one point) a duplex back in the 70s or 80s and most of the original hardwoods had been ripped out, changed or ruined anyways. Yikes.

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To top it all off, we also realized there was no insulation under the original flooring. NONE. No wonder the house couldn’t stay cool or warm! The weather would just come right through the cracks (and holes) in the floor. There were also SO many soft spots in the floor that at any time you felt like you could just fall straight through. Talk about scary, right?

Not really what I want my sweet baby boy learning to crawl on. Or walk on.

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Here’s an example of just of one of many holes in the floor, and years of … interesting… patch jobs. 

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Another more recent patch job that was actually done during the reno to replace a major weak point in the flooring structure. You can also see where a wall used to be. 

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This shows one of the rooms that had been painted brown at one point. 

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And here’s another part of the floor that had been painted grey at some point. None of the wood types were the same, which was probably due to all of the additions/renovations over the years.

As you can tell, we were dealing with a HUGE mess.

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In the end, for the cost of THAT much patching, re-staining etc, it would have been smarter (and safer) to start from scratch and install new flooring over the originals. That’s when we began to think about our new plan, which was new floors. We were finally excited again.

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And if you want to see those beautiful floors installed, make sure to check out my most recent post here.

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Of course there were some challenges to battle through even with new floors, but the long-term results were much better, and totally worth it in the long run. Safety and efficiency were two things on our mind, and new hardwoods were going to provide both. (insert massive sigh of relief) — I could finally feel like this was going to be a safe AND beautiful home for our family.

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When we first began looking at flooring, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. But man, once we walked into that showroom, I was overwhelmed with an array of beautiful flooring. So much to choose from, so many decisions to make! Here were some of our initial selections that we loved in the beginning of our wood flooring journey:

Our #3 choice of hardwood was Mountain View (style) in Sunrise (color). The plank width is 3 1/4 inches and the color is just beautiful.

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Our #2 pick was Canyon Crest (style) in Bright Angel (color) with a plank width of 8 inches. Since the downstairs is so open, we were SO close on choosing this option. But we thought a more traditional, smaller-width plank might be more fitting to the home. The installer also said the install could be a little more difficult due to the way our support joists were laid 100 years ago. I still LOVE this option and hate we couldn’t choose it, but in the end, I’m very happy with what we chose.

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CanyonCrest

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And if you read my last post, you already know that we ultimately decided on World Traveler (style) in Trail (color). It wasn’t our #1 choice at first, but after going back and forth between some of our favorites, we ended up loving the grain, the variance in color and the 4 inch plank width.

It wasn’t too dark or too light, which means when it came time to decorate my home, I didn’t have to stick with wood furniture or accessories that were more on the red side or more on the yellow side etc. I could mix up my wood tones because our floor had so many different colors in it.

I also love the hand-scraped effect as well. Which by the way – although these floors are pre-finished, they are literally hand-scraped. Not done by a machine! And you can really tell – the quality is superb.

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Here is an update on how it looks in our kitchen:

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Stunning, isn’t it? As you can see, the color changes with the time of day, which I love. You can also really see the color variance too. So happy with our decision!!



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The Blissful Bee

About The Blissful Bee

Thank you for stopping by The Blissful Bee! I'm Amy and I'm the writer and designer behind the blog. I have a passion for interior design, fashion and simply living a stylish life. I hope you enjoy your "stay"!

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