Monday, June 14, 2010

What lies beneath

Renovating an old house teaches you a lot of things. Patience. Tolerance. How to shoehorn an unexpected repair into your budget. How to go with the flow.

This last is tough for me. I'm a planner, a scheduler, a researcher. I create lists. I have a contingency plan for my contingency plan. There are times when planning just isn't possible. This is one of those times.

Recently, we discovered that underneath this scarred gray vinyl surface,

lies this original flooring.

An oak floor. Talk about patina! The old black glue (not true cutback we were relieved to discover) slathered over its surface for umpteen years had stained it dark. People pay a premium to have their wood flooring distressed, don't they? Well, here we have it. Authentic distressed oak.

Here's the challenging part. We don't know if we can use it. First, we have to see if the asbestos folks can remove the vinyl flooring's asbestos paper layer while leaving the wood usable. Then, we have to assess the condition of the whole floor.

Even the small area of wood we uncovered has a pine patch, and the wood itself seems very dull and dry.

Once the asbestos layer has been abated, we need to clean the wood and decide whether to replace it with antique heart pine (our original choice) or whether the floor is in decent enough condition to repair and finish. After we've decided original oak or heart pine, we need to source some appropriate wood to give to the cabinetmakers for the hood trim. The timetable for all of this cleaning and sourcing is days, not weeks. DIY, of course.

It's a case of wait, wait, wait, and then freak out! Fun, isn't it?


  1. Wow! Love the floor. I hope you can use it. I know the feeling...we are finishing our basement DIY and it feels like it will NEVER be over!

  2. Exciting. Stressful. Anxiety-provoking. Fun. The whole gamut.

    I really hope we can use the floor too. I'd love to see your basement project! Do you have photos on your blog? I'll have to go look.


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