Restoring Antique Floors
If you’re familiar with DC, then you’ll notice that DC has some historic districts. Some of these districts include U street, Georgetown, Capitol Hill, and many more. The majority of the time, we come across heart pine floors, specifically Douglass Fur floors, and they’re usually found in Georgetown and Capitol Hill. While working in these districts, we do our best to salvage the precious floors. We ensure that each plank is carefully salvaged and refinished. Here’s how we do it.
When arriving at a job site, we like to do a walkthrough to understand exactly what we’re dealing with. We gather details such as how old is the house, if there are any severe damages, how big the area is, and if the entire house contains the same wood throughout. Once we provide a quote to the client and they approve that’s where we can begin to look at the planks from underneath. If the planks are fine then, we can continue with the sanding and refinishing the floors. However, if there is any damage, we need to remove them and replace them with similar planks. After they’re replaced, the sanding process can begin.
After sanding the antique floors, if there are any gaps, we can begin filling them. However, filling gaps is best done during the summertime rather than the wintertime. This is because wood expands in the summer and contrast in winter. While humidity is higher during the summertime, you will be able to see the actual gaps in between the floors and will make it easier to fill. If you fill them during the wintertime, you will notice the filling stick out during summertime.
Now that sanding and any fillings are made, it’s time to stain the floors. Preferably, we suggest keeping the floors with a natural look to give the house a rustic look. However, if you prefer darker colors, they do hide any imperfections, but, do know that darker stains are prone to dust and footprints being more noticeable.
Finally, using polyurethane to protect your floors is necessary. You can go with an oil-based or a water-based one. Oil-based does take longer to dry, ambers over time, and has a strong odor. Water-based takes less time to dry and has little to no odor. We suggest an oil-based finished to keep a rustic look on the floors and show how beautifully aged they are.
If the antique floors have any damages, the restoration will be a long process. It is a meticulous process that you have to ensure you do not damage the wood. Some prefer to keep the imperfections and some prefer to hide them. It’s all about the aesthetic of your home. If you think your floors may need to be salvaged, consult with a flooring professional beforehand. We can best determine if the floors can be salvaged or if they only need to be refinished. Check out our gallery to see the process of the before and after pictures for this project.