Old farmhouse and wood floor install ??s

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by travlnusa, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    I am trying to figure out the appx age of my farmhouse located in NW WI.

    Ripped up the flooring in the kitchen this weekend. Took out the pergo, three layers of vinyl and found hardwood.

    However every square inch of the hardwood was coated in tar to install the first layer of vinyl. So that came out, only to find the the orginal flooring.

    They are 4" boards, tongue and groove nailed directly to the floor joists. These boards have shrunk to the point that there are 1/4" gaps, and the sides of each board are pretty well shot.

    Ok, to my questions. What age of house would have the a single layer of flooring to joists? Another way of asking would be to ask when did subflooring come into use?

    Now that I need to install a new floor (and subfloor) what kind of flooring nailer do I want? I have used a air powered in the past. Nice tool, but I am done renting and want to buy. They are not cheap.

    Has anyone used the "manual" floor nailer? Do you kill youself hitting it hard enough to drive the nail?

    Thanks
     
  2. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If the boards are at an angle then it could be early 1920. If there at right angle probably hard to tell. That wasn't a generally accepted way to lay them. And since they are machined with T&G they aren't earlier than 1900. Give or take.
    If you want a good overall gun the Hitachi NR83 is an old standby. So is the Senco N60/70. Ebay is full of them. If you find someone with a high feedback that is 99% positive then you should have good luck. I have some Senco 325 that are good guns but not as powerful.

    Anyway Put down some Advantech and depending on what your putting for finish floor you may have to put some underlayment. I would make sure that there is plastic down on the crawl space if you have one.
     

  3. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The original part of my parents' house had heart pine tongue and groove flooring (and walls and ceilings) nailed directly to the floor joists. It was built between 1930-34.
     
  4. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your ideas about the house age. They are in at a right angle. When we ripped up the tar covered wood, I was surprised to see the base floor. It is (was) painted the old green color that is in every old setting i have ever been around.

    I will look for the nailer you recommend.
     
  5. Yeti

    Yeti Well-Known Member

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    I guess the question should be how much work do you want to mak this?
    I just did my mother inlaws Bathroom redo a couple years back. total gut out. I had to remove all the flooring and walls to do it and did everytiing back like it was new construction. the biggest issue I had was a 50 year old out of square house. the walls & floor was far from perfect. if you want to keep the charm of the old house and the squeaks in the floor leave the old under layment boards. if not when you strip them and redo the flooring go with 3/4" tounge & groove plywood and use a good glue to secure it to the joists. SCREW IT DOWN with Galvenized deck screws. I don't like nails on under layment. they can work they're way up over time and if you just have vynil then they will bulge up through it. secondly if you intend to redo with wood flooring consider the age of the house and how athentic you want it to look. I have Harris tarket flooring and hate it. it gouges up so easy the dogs nails leave marks in it. I would go with a real wood floor and Nail it with a regular flooring nailer. it drives the nails in while you hold the nailer and hit it with a hammer. it drives the board together and keeps out gaps. by the way whatever you buy, let it sit in the house a couple of weeks to adjust its size to your mositure content. if not some woods will shrink and mess up all your workmanship.
     
  6. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What ever you lay use lots of construction adhesive. not for the stick so to speak but it will take up irregularities and keep the squeeks to a min
     
  7. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My parents' bathroom is STILL painted that old green color. Long time to not repaint a bathroom, huh?
     
  8. Yeti

    Yeti Well-Known Member

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    if you had painted flooring that was most likely the original floor. I have been in many houses that just has one layer of wood for the floor and you could see right down to the basement. I would think if you don't know the age of your home you should go see the county clerk. they should have the records to the age of any home in the county and may even have blueprints & site lay outs.
     
  9. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    You are very right about every thing being out of square. I have become the king of cutting trapeziods.

    We already have the new flooring in the house getting acclimated to the house. This will be the second house I have refloored. We really hate carpet/pergo/etc.....

    On the first floor, the dining room floor is still good. I pulled up a section and used that to match.

    The flooring in the living room is a bit odd. Again, T&G flooring, but much larger boards, it has the look of an old porch. Who knows.

    Any other guesses are welcome!
     
  10. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try posting some pics. it could have been a porch at one time. Wouldn't be the first itme. if ya want to get an idea how old the place is look around in the attic. what kind of wood was used to frame the roof. lots of times messages are left on rafter.. I do :)
     
  11. Sharona

    Sharona Active Member

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    My house is post and beam and was built some time in the late 1800s. I know this because somewhere in the past 20 or 30 years, a previous owner exposed all the hand hewn beams and built all the sheetrock around them. On some of the beams are old newspapers that sunk back into the wood and became part of the wood, barely readable now, but you can still make out the dates from the 1890s. We always have fun showing visitorrs how they can "read the walls" when they come to visit! The wood is all hand carved and it's all connected with hand carved wood joints and old hand carved metal nails.

    On our second floor, the flooring is still exposed and it is all mixed sizes from about 14 inches up to a full 24 inches in width--extremely old, extremely uncared for, there were not as many supports for old second flooring back then so the floors sag more than a modern floor (our rule is, be careful where you step when you're on the second floor!)

    In our backyard there's an old cellar level barn, all caved in, and when we bought it my boys went out and started peeling off the wood shingles and bringing in the newspapers underneath, all dating to the 1890s. It's a great experience, but in reality it's not worth much unless you intend to restore it!
     
  12. Yeti

    Yeti Well-Known Member

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    if you think about when the house was built the owners would have saved money buy not using the nicer woods in the parts of the house the neighbors didn't see. the sitting & living rooms had the nicest things put in tham as well as libraries. I have seen loads of old houses where every floor was diferent for one reason or another. if you ever get the chance go to old James town or Green Field village. the house they have there sound just like what you have. my neighbor two doors west still has his pitcher pump in use to this day. it mounted right in the counter in the kitchen.
     
  13. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Too bad you ripped out the hardwood--that tar comes off with Murphy's Oil Soap.
     
  14. MomOf4

    MomOf4 Well-Known Member

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    Our house also has the 4" boards in the floors. It was built before OSB, so I think the planks are not hardwood flooring, but the original version of a subfloor. We guess our house is from around 1880-1890 based on the saw marks on the floor joists you see in the cellar.

    The problem with leaving the 4" floorboards exposed is it makes it very cold in the winter - there is no insulation below, and it's like just having a subfloor, and air leaks in the cracks in the floor.

    We have found that the best flooring for our house is one that is flexible - ie, vinyl, carpet, etc. The floors are uneven, and laying laminate is almost impossible since we would end up with squeaks caused by humps in the floor.

    Other good options for flooring include concrete overlay (there is a product called flex-c-ment which is concrete, but extremely lightweight due to the acrylic resins it contains).

    We had a foundation issue on the outside wall in our dining room, and had to replace the 8x8 foundation beam, and about 18" of the floor just inside the wall. We miscalculated the depth of the OSB we laid, and the new part of the floor is 1/2" higher than the rest of the floor. When we redo the flooring in there, we are going to lay floor shims to level it out, then lay a product called Weathered Stone (www.weathered-stone.com) - it looks like large tile, but is flexible and bendable, then we will seal with apoxy. We couldn't lay tile in there, since it would be so uneven.

    Good luck!
     
  15. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We live in a very old farmhouse in North Central Wisconsin and, after remodeling and ripping up flooring, nothing surprises us! And, no, nothing is square.

    And, yes, we found that "green" paint too. In fact, we have the door to the wood bin that must have been next to the old woodstove and it's still green. We found that when remodeling the kitchen.

    As for the age, I have no idea. This house has been added to and remodeled so many times over the years that it is impossible to guess.
     
  16. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

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    Square or round nails? If square, are they tapered one direction or both?


    All the original floors in the older part of our house were single layer (when we finally got down to it). Oldest part was built 1870-1880.

    Sure is fun, and you never know quite what you will find underneath everything.

    Cathy
     
  17. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    you can find when your house was built by going to the county registar of deeds and looking up history of the property. Many times old houses have been remodeled so much that little but the framework is original. Our farmhouse is 120+ years old--hand-laid rock cellar with handhewn massive beams. House and barn built from oak, first a kitchen, then the stump of a massive tree found under living area when we replaced floor down to joists...they just expanded out when they needed more room. Original records show place sold for team of horses and a wagon back in 1880's! All our 80 year old neighbors tell us about riding their horses to the one room school house on this property, 70 some years ago. DEE
     
  18. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    Finding records for this place is hard, as local town has had two fires over the years

    As to the nails, they are round modern 3" finishing nails. The boards are face nailed.

    Here is another odd thing we found. We know that we need to rip it up, put in real sub, and then new(er) wood, but we will keep is as is for about a month.

    While wife was scrubbing the floor, she found very very faint numbers on each board, all numbered in order.

    My only thought is that someone pulled it up for whatever reason, then put it back in place.
     
  19. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    YA know unless there is a reason you don't have to pull that floor up. You could save some money and run 1/2 plywood over the top of it. Save some money and a lot of cutting.
    As for the numbered boards. There is also a chance that the house was moved to your location. Use to be that it was done like that a lot. They could have been numbered when it was taken apart. If you take apart other areas in the future and they are numbered then its very possible that the house was moved there.
    Or if they are stamped then they are probably mill marks
     
  20. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

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    When we converted the dining room to the kitchen, we originally were going to put new flooring over the old. Then we seriously thought about refinishing the boards. Final decision was to pull it all up and rebuild the floor.

    This floor had more then a 4" difference in level, and had one really spongy spot.

    First step was to pull up the old pine long strip - only a few strips were pieced, the rest spanned the 14' width of the room.

    This pictures shows the floor with about 1/3 of the pine boards removed. We found an old access opening. This section had been moved on the property, so the opening was probably used at the first location. No reason here as the crawl space hardly had room for a cat.

    [​IMG]

    Next we removed the subfloor to expose the joists. This was fun because this room is central to the house. So to get from the bedroom to the bathroom meant balancing across the joists.

    [​IMG]

    Next we installed new joists next to the old ones. We added cement blocks to help brace the floor. The old joists each had one rock in the middle for support, except one, and that was where we had the spongy spot.

    Though you can not see it in the picture, the sill is supported by rocks.

    [​IMG]

    Then we put down 3/4" sub floor.

    [​IMG]

    Then we made a mistake, and didn't put underlayment down. Would have been ok but we installed laminate and it didn't give it quite the stiffness we wanted. But then we decided we don't like the laminate in the kitchen, so we'll pull it all back up eventually and put it somewhere else.

    We've already removed part of the floor and put down carpet. We'll replace the rest before we install cabinets, but that will be a year or two.

    Next week we start on the laundry room (another floor rebuild project).