Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
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CAL
Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
CAL

We recently purchased an 1880’s cream city brick folk Victorian farmhouse in Wisconsin. There will be plenty of projects with lots of questions. We hope to keep it as period-specific as is practically possible. One question in particular relates to the original 4-inch plank flooring. When we had our home inspection, our inspector told us that the ¾ inch pine floors are just subflooring. He validated this by pointing out the raised thresholds throughout the home that were meant to accommodate ¾ inch finished flooring. In addition, he revealed how the flooring bounced when he walked on it. He also pointed out how soft the wood was, as evidenced by the numerous dents and scratches present; which he said was typical of the subfloors back then. Cupping is also noticeable, but more so on the first floor. The floors are a variety of colors. The entire second floor and staircase is painted gray. The first floor looks like it was coated with a solid stain. Originally we were planning on having a wood floor company strip them, leave them their natural color, and then protect them with a satin finish. But now we’re not sure if this is a good idea. So our questions are, what are the best options for these floors and what might you recommend?

Jack
Re: Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
Jack

First may houses of that era did not have subfloors, the flooring was directly on the joists. If it is T&G and tight that may be the case in your home. Pictures would help. In my home, built around 1870, that is what we dealt with, however our's was oak.

Jack

CAL
Re: Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
CAL

The first room(s) of the home were built around the 1880's. However, there have been at least 3 additions that were added at later dates that are unknown. Does that change the possibility of the house having subfloors? I'm having problems attaching pictures, but will keep trying.

Jack
Re: Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
Jack

You can post pictures to a free on line service like Photobucket and post the link or you can e-mail them to me [email protected] and I'll post them for you. Include "TOH PIX" in the subject line and your TOH user name.

Jack

Jack
Re: Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
Jack

Here are the pictures for those of you interested.

Jack
Re: Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
Jack

It's hard to tell from the pictures but I believe what he is calling raised thresholds are actually threshold saddles which was common in houses of that age. Sub floors where usually installed diagonally. If it were me I would refinish and use as is.

Jack

CAL
Re: Can we refinish & use wood subfloors as finished floors?
CAL

Thanks Jack!

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