More in Wood Floors

Can I Save My Hardwood Floor?

Q: "Can oak floor strips be reversed to give the undersides a chance to shine?"

Tom Silva
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

My wife and I are redoing an 1880s house with original oak floors.
Over the years the floors have been worn to the point where refinishing
is no longer an option. When viewed from below, the flooring looks
perfect, smooth with no gaps in the board seams. Is there any reason we
should not pull up the old flooring, flip the boards over, and install
them good side up?

— Carter, Washington, D.C.


Tom Silva replies: It will require a lot of work to take the floor up, pull out the nails, reinstall, and fill the holes. Removing the boards will also leave them pretty beaten up. Personally, I don't think it's worth the
effort. Install a new one, with new wood or salvaged wood, depending on the look you want.


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