Install a Salvaged Hardwood Floor
LESLIE: Alright, with everybody going green out there we’ve got Kim in Missouri who’s repurposing a gym floor in the home. How can we help?
KIM: We purchased an old gym floor and it’s actually a gym floor that my husband and our children’s grandfather had played on.
LESLIE: How cool.
KIM: And we built – we’re building a new home and we want to put this floor in. I pulled the nails out of probably a 2,300-square-foot …
TOM: (chuckling) Oh, man.
KIM: … and I want to know am I supposed to plane it or install it and sand it. What’s the best way to take care of it?
TOM: Well, are all the floorboards about the same thickness?
KIM: They’re pretty much all the same thickness and they’re …
TOM: OK, so here’s what I would do.
TOM: I would put it back together the same way it was taken out of that old gymnasium; board for board nail it back down. And then what you’re going to want to do is – and I would recommend you don’t do this yourself and I’ll tell you why – and that is to hire a floor sander. These guys that work with the floor-sanding equipment every day know exactly how to handle it. Even though you can go out and rent one of these big, 12-inch-wide belt sanders to sand the floor, if you like hiccup while you’re sanding that floor …
LESLIE: You get like a major divot.
TOM: … you will divot that precious gym floor that sounds like you’ve had three generations of your family that it had been a part of their life. So I would recommend you hire somebody to do the sanding and that will even it all out, pull out the old finish, give you a fresh start. And then on top of that you’re going to apply three coats of polyurethane. And the way you apply that polyurethane is not by brush but by something called a lamb’s wool applicator. It’s like a …
LESLIE: It looks like a mop.
TOM: It’s a kind of buffing pad that you use when you’re polishing a car …
TOM: … but it attaches to the bottom of what looks like a mop and – like a sponge mop; not like a stringy mop – and you use a regular paint tray and you apply, with this lamb’s wool applicator, three coats. Make sure you leave plenty of dry time in between. Wait for dry days. Don’t do it on humid days. Don’t do it on rainy days. You know, really plan it out. And that’ll do it. And when the floor is all done, for the first couple of weeks, put down some rosin paper or some craft paper to try to sort of take it easy on the traffic on the floor because it really does take a couple of weeks for that stuff to really cure and get hard before it’s really ready to take some punishment. So just be gentle with it. Be careful when you place the furniture back on and that floor will take care of you for another couple of generations.
KIM: Alright, I greatly, greatly appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, Kim. Thanks so much for calling us at …
KIM: Thank you. You guys are awesome.
TOM: Well, thank you. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.