More in Wood Floors

Restoring Hardwood Floors Under Carpeting

Wall-to-wall carpeting could be hiding a well-preserved treasure — or a mottled mess


Is it possible to remove carpeting and restore a hardwood floor

– Susan, Walkerton, Indiana


Tom Silva replies: Well, it's not easy. You just have to get in there and pull
back the carpet off the floor and hope it hasn't been glued and nailed
down. As far as getting back the original hardwood floor look, you can
get close. It's going to depend on how bad the stain is and what the
glue (which you'll probably find was used) did to the floor. We did a
shingle-style Victorian on the show, where the kitchen floor was stained
and covered with glued-down linoleum. We removed the linoleum, scraped
it away, and still had the back-breaking work of trying to get the glue
off the floor. Then, we had to deal with the staining of the floor from
the adhesive. In some cases, in some areas, we actually had to remove
sections of the floor and patch in a new floor. By patching in the new
floor, what I mean is that we had to find some old flooring that matched
the existing wood — which wasn't easy — and patched that in.

No matter what, there will always be several unforeseeable variables.
You don't know, for instance, what kind of glue they used, how many
nails and what kind they used, etc. If the nails got rusty, you could
find the nail holes all have black marks around them, which are
practically impossible to get rid of. So it can go easy, or it can go
hard, Susan. Good luck.


TV Listings

Find TV Listing for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.