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 underneath?
– 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.