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psmith13
Hardwood floors with a strip of concrete down the middle
psmith13

I live in a condo that is part of a 1980's conversion from a home for women into condo units. The building was built in 1901 and walls were removed and put up to create unique single level and bilevel living spaces. Shortly I am having the floor refinished in my bedroom, which is currently covered in carpeting. When I pulled back the carpeting in the bedroom, there is a 4 inch strip of concrete down the middle where a wall used to be. I am looking for ideas for creatively keeping the concrete or if it needs to be removed, what would that entail? Any downsides to keeping the concrete? The refinisher is suggesting removing the concrete and matching the floors, however he has not done anything like this before so is unsure how long it might take.

Also, there is a 4' x 4' piece of concrete in the corner of the room, which could have been part of a hearth, that I plan to keep.

Any advice/ideas are very welcome!

A. Spruce
Re: Hardwood floors with a strip of concrete down the middle
A. Spruce

While the concrete could be ground flush and flooring laid over it, this will likely be both expensive and certainly messy. I would caution against chiseling out with a jack hammer, as this may cause cracks and weaken the floor.

If you like the detail of the concrete, then keep it. If you but the hardwood against the concrete strip, then double the normal gap on the wall side to allow for expansion, OR, install a transition molding along the strip to give the flooring some expansion room.

Jack
Re: Hardwood floors with a strip of concrete down the middle
Jack

If you like it keep it.
Jack

Mastercarpentry
Re: Hardwood floors with a strip of concrete down the middle
Mastercarpentry

Before altering that strip physically you need to determine if it has a structural use other than supporting the now-absent wall. If it's carrying floor joists you'd want to be sure enough will be left for it to continue that job, and you'd want to remove the material gently (see below). Alternately you could stain or paint it to blend or contrast to the finished flooring. Concrete sealers are made in a variety of sheens.

To remove enough of the concrete so that a flooring strip can be laid I'd make a series of longitudinal diamond saw cuts in it from end to end. Reduce the dust by first wetting the concrete thoroughly for a half hour before sawing with a paintbrush, renewing the water as it is absorbed. Have a helper 'chase' the saw with a large shop-vac, stopping to clean the filter as needed. Make these cuts about 1/4" to 3/8" apart and about 1/16" deeper than needed. Break the resulting 'pillars' off with a wide chisel struck at an angle, not straight down. Use a regular hammer, not a hand-sledge or power tool. Clear the remnants similarly. At the ends where the saw can't reach use a carbide-tipped masonary drill to get as much of the mass as possible before chiseling. Sawing or drilling concrete like this is going to create a LOT of dust so if you can, tape up temporary plastic walls to help contain that and all persons exposed to the dust need to wear at least a high-grade form-fitting dust mask though a respirator is better. Set-up and clean-up will take as long as the cutting itself; in other words this shouldn't take more than a couple hours at most start-to-finish. Most importantly it avoids all heavy impact to the concrete which could lead to cracking.

Phil

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