Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Remove & Reuse thin oak flooring?
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Re: Remove & Reuse thin oak flooring?

For removal I'd use a 10" fishtail prybar/nail puller; it's much thinner than a wonderbar. It can remove all moldings and pull finish nails. A wonderbar has a very dull edge, but a grinder could fix that to make it more suitable for being driven under the thin floor strips.

Re: Remove & Reuse thin oak flooring?

If you want to take it up faster, use a plug cutter around the nails, then lift the boards off the floor, and use a hammer or pry-bar to remove the plugs and nails. Keep one piece of flooring to cut new plug to fill what ever holes are not cut off when you reinstall..You'll also find you have a much higher salvage percentage.

Atomic Ranch Rehab
Re: Remove & Reuse thin oak flooring?

So, the final outcome of this project is refinished thin red oak that stayed in place rather than removing. Getting the 3 layers of various laminates off was challenging, and the particle board stapled every 4" or so was a big exercise in patience. I used some heavy duty strippers (methylene chloride based) and a laminate removing tool like a hoe that had been flattened out.

Due to the challenge of keeping the my cat out of this nasty stripper, I decided to try one of the softer products.

3M's Safest Stripper worked well, it just needed to stay on 10-12 hours. I covered it with plastic wrap and it was fine. No gloves needed, no burning skin or volatile fumes. Also, the consistency is great - like mayonnaise. I'm using it now on unpainting the brick fireplace and it has terrific vertical cling. Safest Stripper is cost comparable to the other products and is soap & water cleanup. Nice.

Re: Remove & Reuse thin oak flooring?

just as mentioned above, light sanding wont really do much. and as for the underside . hardwood is milled so it has "grooves" on the under side which allows it to expand and contract a little more and keep a small air space between it and the subfloor which can reduce squeaking.

if you do take it up, you can run the boards through a thickness planer to take off the old finish. just make sure you check every pc for nails because they will destroy the planer knives. doing this can make for less sanding

Atomic Ranch Rehab
Re: Remove & Reuse thin oak flooring?

Hi Jkirk,

The strippers (and a bit of patience) really did the job to the point where sanding the floor was feasible. Careful drum sanding with 30 grit for the spots needing it, then 60 and 100 were all it took to get the floor in shape.

I didn't know about the grooves for expansion/contraction - that's useful and interesting!


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