The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

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senegal_jen
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The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by senegal_jen »

Hi OHW...

Well, it's been a few months. The holidays are over, the tax returns are filed, and its time to start planning for the mold remediation project. I had a 2nd industrial hygienist out yesterday (one not affiliated with, nor gets referrals from, any of the mold remediation companies here in MA). Good news is that there is no visible mold in the attic, nor does he think that there is noticeable mold on the 2nd floor. There is definitely mold in the basement (he's sent some swab samples to the lab) and we have a first floor air sample out for testing as well.

So, the new sticking point is...he thinks the bulk of the 2nd floor allergens are coming from pet dander. (and perhaps the first floor as well). Odd, given that I've been around dogs all my life...but maybe its the bunny, the cat, or the ferret that lived here previously. So, as a first step, I think he's going to recommend refinishing, and not replacing, the hardwood floors. Good news from a historic preservation perspective. Bad news for my renovation planning..since I still have woodwork to strip, electric & plumbing to replace, and a kitchen to rebuild.

So, my question to the collective OHW family....How in the heck do I complete the remaining renovations without killing a newly refinished HWF??? I'm particularly worried about how to strip the woodwork (particularly the baseboards) without affecting the shiny floors. Was thinking once the revarnished floors finish offgassing/hardening (2/3 months) I can tack down cheap carpet in the rooms under major renovation...but it's the woodwork that has me stumped. I don't mind removing the door/window frames to strip outside (if that's what it takes), but the baseboards are firmly jimmied into place.

Waiting to refinish until after the renovations are complete is not a viable option financially. If I don't move out of my generous friends' home this spring, I think she may disown me. And I can't live in the house in its current state. :cry:

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Smelly Jen

sooth
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by sooth »

Oh man, that's a very tricky situation you've got.

For the most part, the baseboards should be removable (they're only nailed in place) but I have an old house with Ash trim, and I know that they are almost cemented in place. You may damage the drywall (or plaster) or the actual baseboards themselves, but they CAN be removed.

As for the floors, would you be able to just sand them and leave them unfinished for the time being? You could just lay down some thin cardboard backing (the type they use under new hardwood floors to prevent squeaking) and then do all your renovations over the next few years. The worst case scenario on this case is that you would need to re-sand certain spots, but you could just varnish them as the last (or almost last) step once all the more floor 'abusive' renovations are done.

I can tell you that no matter what you put over a nicely finished new floor, it will inevitably end up getting scratched (often very badly). I've done many installation jobs (as a cabinetmaker/installer) in high-end homes with nice wood floors, and even with carpet, carefully taped cardboard, plastic, foam, or ANYTHING, really, there will always be spots that will get damaged, either just from the friction of the material, or from small crumbs that find their way underneath. Stairs are the absolute worst. I can't even tell you how badly some new stairs have gotten abused due to poor protection methods or general "non-caring" of other on-site workers.

A second option that I would suggest would be to sand the floors and apply only the first coat (which needs to be re-sanded anyways before the next coat or two).
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moonshadow317
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by moonshadow317 »

Lay down rosin paper (you can buy it in rolls at home depot) overlap the ends and tape it together with masking tape or blue painters tape. When you do the kitchen take all the cardboard boxes that the cabinets new fridge ect. come in and cut them open and lay them on top of the rosin paper-tape the cardboard together. If you can't get the cardboard from the cabinets - you can ask for boxes from your local supermarket- most places unpack at night and then crush the boxes so find out when would be a good time to get them.
As for stripping the woodwork I find that removing them is a PIA you will definitly break them so leave them in place. When you are ready to strip take up the cardboard near the baseboard, leave the rosin paper down and get a roll of tin flashing (cheap at home depot). Unroll it and cut it to fit against a wall and slide it under the baseboard. If it doesn't slid under you will probably have to remove the shoe molding, so check it out before doing the floor and remove the shoe molding before the floors are done. I don't know what method you are going to use to strip the baseboard but it sounds as though you are leaning towards chemical removal. Just my two cents but if they are painted I would buy a heat gun (under $50.00) and give that a try first. It will be easier cleaner and cheaper.
Karen
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senegal_jen
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by senegal_jen »

Thanks for the responses. At least I feel better knowing there are options ;-)

My baseboards are welded into place from settling. I think it would be murder to get them off. Oh, and 99% of all demo is done..walls are open, etc. So at least major debris damage would be minimized.

I don't have to refinish the floors right away...I was thinking it was probably best to let them 'offgas' for at least a couple of weeks to rid them of any old animal smell anyways. If I put rosin & cardboard down over the raw floors (and cover that up with my lovely areas rugs) am I at great risk for gouging or any major issue? If not, maybe that's the way to go. I thought I would leave my one set of stairs unstripped, since I don't think the animals probably spent a great deal of time there. And those would be hard to not only cover, but there's a heck of a lot of wood on the staircase risers, etc that needs to be stripped (boo).

The other thought was trying to do the first pass at baseboard stripping before the mold work happens (I probably have 1-3 weeks). I need to do the strip testing, but I'm pretty sure they put oil over shellac...its only 2 layers (at least on the door & window frames) and its completely bubbled in the corners...I can scrape off big chunks with my fingernail. I don't know if the baseboards are the same way. I'll have to check tomorrow. But I'm a little tight on time, and I think looking at the potentially half-completed stripping job might drive me crazy. Particularly since the willpower to complete these tasks after the medical & mold year from heck...is lacking...

Karen...I like the flashing idea. I have no shoe molding. But how would I get the darn stuff under baseboard??? Would I try to insert it between the baseboard & the end of the T&G flooring, then fold it down to cover up the last few inches of HW? Heat gun I have (gift from Dear ole Dad...). I just need to find my mojo, particulary after this really crazy Boston winter.

Thanks all...keep 'em coming!

Smelly Jen

moonshadow317
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by moonshadow317 »

But how would I get the darn stuff under baseboard??? Would I try to insert it between the baseboard & the end of the T&G flooring,
Flashing is paper thin and stiff you should have no trouble sliding it under the baseboard, no need to fold it. Once it's there it will protect the floor and double as a heat shield. It should be a piece of cake taking that paint off with a heat gun 2 layers of oil over sheelac is good. You can use green scrubbies and de natured alcholol to get what's left of the paint after the heat gun (leave the flashing in place for cleaning). Do one area at a time. Keep the gun aimed at the paint as you go so as not to burn the wood underneath. The paint will bubble- scrape and move on. I find paint removel with a heat gun soothing and addictive :mrgreen: An added benefit in the winter is it keeps you nice and warm :D
Karen
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rehabbingisgreen
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by rehabbingisgreen »

Could you use a dewaxed shellac on the floor surfaces for now and either reshellac if need in spots or poly over the shellac after the trim is finished. I only mention this because it might be easier to mend any areas that need it if damaged from any other projects.
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sooth
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by sooth »

I've read that poly over shellac is no longer recommended.
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rehabbingisgreen
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by rehabbingisgreen »

sooth wrote:I've read that poly over shellac is no longer recommended.
For those of us who haven't heard, why?
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sooth
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by sooth »

Some of my info is from here:
http://www.routerforums.com/finishing-t ... ellac.html

The main issue with Poly is that it doesn't stick well to anything non-porous. You have to sand very carefully between coats because it doesn't even stick well to itself.
JC
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moonshadow317
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Re: The Smelly House...Part Deux. Floors or woodwork?

Post by moonshadow317 »

My opinion about the floor -because you asked- is to refinish the floors- sand them and give them a couple of coats of shellac. The shellac will seal in any smell left. They will be done and if they get damaged you can just give them another coat when you do the baseboards. Make sure they are dry- wait like a week before you cover them.
Leaving them unfinished will leave them susceptible to gouges and scratches that will not easily sand out afterwoods. I am pretty sure that if you cover them with the rosin and cardboard you won't have a problem. I just covered my finished kitchen floor with cardboard when we demolished it. It's a walk though to the back yard for people and 3 large dogs. The floor was pristine 2 months later when we uncovered it and we installed the kichen cabinets with the cardboard in place. I just cut the cardboard where needed.
Karen
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