I just bought a 1910 home in new England. The house has a finished basement with a hardwood floors. The floors were in rough shape so we tore them up today. We knew that the hardwood floor that we took up was added probably 40-50 years ago (square nails). What we didn't know is what we would find underneath. We found a very solid "original" hardwood floors, with some rot we cut out from a leaking foundation but otherwise very good shape. It seams however that the floor has a sub-floor and was built right on top of the dirt. The floor we tore up was solid, was not buckling and did not show signs of moisture from under the floor. questions:
1. Our thought was to leave the "original" hardwood, level over it and lay the new hardwood. In this scenario do you put a vapor barrier between the "original" wood and the new wood floor we are installing?
2. How is a floor that is 100 or more years old "original hardwood" still strong, solid and not rotten? They must have an extensive vapor barrier? Any thoughts on how that was done back in the day?
3. Should we cut up some of the "original" hardwood to look at the supports below it? It is not soft but the floor is very unlevel "probably over an inch on ends out of level.
4. Trying to figure out if you put the vapor barrier between teh new and the "original" will that destroy the current ability for the sub-floors to all breathe and will it cause the "original" and old sub flooring to buckle under the vapor barriier and new floor......
LOTS of info here but seems to be a challenging dilemma!!!