1846 Homestead Renovation

Success! Installing Hard Wood Flooring in the Old House

Salvaged original floor boards with termite damage

Decisions About Flooring

I wanted to keep the original floors, but the floors made the decision for me.  There just wasn’t enough of it.  We did save it and have been able to re-purpose it in other areas…more on that later.  However, once we realized the original floor was a no-go, we had to start looking at what we were going to put down in its place.  In the end, installing the new hard wood flooring was a success. It went smoothly with Jerry cutting the boards and me installing them.  But the decision on what type of flooring took a bit of work…

The hand-scrapped reclaimed wood was beautiful, but way out of our price range.  We started looking at hardwood flooring at Lowe’s and Home Depot.  There were some that were beautiful, some that looked cheap.  I was still undecided.  Mainly, because the house was so old and full of imperfections.  Laying a perfect floor would look weird.  And so we went to Waco and looked at some of the engineered floors.  They are real wood that has been glued onto a cheaper wood.  I thought this might be what we went with.  Loved the floating floors that snapped together…easy, they seemed.

Alas…that was not to be.  The floors didn’t look like the original boards.  They looked like something that you would find on an old sailing ship.  They were too textured.  Our original floors were square-edged, with a bit of cupping.  Nothing like the hand scrapped boards we were seeing.

In the end, we decided to go with unfinished, white pine T&G flooring from Lumber Liquidators of all places.  Jerry apologized when we made the decision.  It meant installing the flooring (with staples, of course) and then finishing them.  More steps equals more work.  It seemed that the hits just kept on coming.  And they did.

The Successful Installation of Wood Flooring

We successfully installed the wood flooring, about 1700 square feet of it.  The floor in the old house wasn’t completely level.  There is a bit of undulation in the floor.  It also isn’t square.  That meant that when we started laying the floor, if we weren’t careful, the floor could end up being laid at an angle.  Not exactly what we were looking for.

We carefully started at the front door of the old house.  I wanted the flooring to flow from one room to another, but we decided that maybe being able to reset our lines in some of the rooms would help hid any imperfections.  That is why there are thresholds at each of the doors that were formerly exterior doors.  It was our way of giving a nod to the original layout of the house and cheating the wonkiness of the house at the same time.

We worked our way from the front porch, throughout the house, finishing on the newly added space that connected the old house with the new addition.


The biggest thing we learned while installing the flooring was how important it was to have a system.  Jerry cut the boards and I installed them.  I learned that you can hit the staple gun too hard and you can hit it to softly.  I also learned that there must a trick to installing flooring against a wall where you have no room to staple it.  If anybody knows the secret, keep it to yourself.  It is too late for me!

Here are a few pictures of the installation process. 

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