Antique hardwood floors are one of the charms of an old house. While it might be easier to simply replace an antique floor that has quite a few problems, restoring the hardwood floor maintains the integrity and history of the original home.
Restoring Your Hardwood Floor
Before you replace, try restoring your antique floor! Here are a few tips to help you do it:
- Clean the floor. Start with water, then progress to a mild detergent. If you have a painted floor, use cleaning solutions that won't strip it away. It's going to take lots of elbow grease!
- Strip the wax. Many old floors have been coated with layer after layer of wax. Over time, the old wax can discolor, making the hardwood floor look dull and dingy. Chemical wax strippers might damage the wood underneath, leading to even more problems for your antique floor. Instead of using chemicals, sand the floor with a sanding machine.
- Mend the gaps. The natural shrinkage of wood over time can lead to small gaps in your hardwood floor. To fill the gaps, cut a small piece of hardwood to fit the gap. Apply wood glue to both sides, place it carefully in the gap, and tap it in with a rubber mallet. Give it a few days to dry before you sand down the spot.
- Tighten the boards. Creaking boards in an old house are part of its charm. If the creaking boards are just slightly loose, enjoy the sounds of history as you walk across them! But if the boards are really loose, they need to be tightened. You can do this by drilling a hole through the offending board into a joist, taking care not to damage wires or pipes underneath the floor. Tap a nail into the drilled hole and push it through with a nail punch. A few strategically placed nails can hold that loose board in place.
- Replace the damage. Sometimes, a floorboard simply cannot be saved. In that case, remove it carefully from the floor. Choose a piece of aged wood that matches your original floor as closely as possible, and cut it to fit the part of the floor you had to pull out. Secure your replacement piece to the joists with nails.
Antique floors build up imperfections and blemishes over time. These add to the character of your home! If you can restore instead of replace, your hardwood floors will collect history for years to come.
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