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Removing Tar Paper from Hardwood Floors

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: John, what’s going on at your Money Pit?

    JOHN: I’m talking about an old Victorian that’s been in the family since the ’20s and ’30s, probably built by an aunt in Cumberland, Rhode Island here. And it has a kitchen and a breakfast nook area …

    TOM: OK.

    JOHN: … that have an old rug that’s, you know, so dirty that I can’t stand the sight of them anymore. (John and Leslie chuckle) Under it appears there’s linoleum but under that linoleum it appears that somebody put down – decades ago, before they installed the linoleum – I assume like black tar paper on top of the hardwood flooring.

    TOM: OK.

    JOHN: And I took off the old rug; the linoleum lifted right up. Some of the black tar paper came off but large spots were like from the – I guess from the pressure of the traffic over 30, 40, 50 years maybe – almost like bonded to the – you know, to the hardwood floor and I’m getting it off but it’s like hard rock labor; like one square inch at a time on my hands and knees.

    TOM: Well, you’re going to probably end up refinishing that hardwood floor, aren’t you?

    JOHN: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Well, then I wouldn’t worry about it because when they come – when you come in with a belt sander, the floor sander which is a 12-inch-wide belt sander that runs across the floor, the grit on that is very, very heavy – usually start with a very, very heavy grit like a 40-grit or something like that – and you will cut right through that paper and right through whatever is on top of that floor. So I would just get the most of it off – the loose stuff off – and then let a professional come in and floor-sand that. I generally don’t recommend that people do their own floor sanding because it requires, you know, sort of some – the touch.

    LESLIE: An evenness.

    TOM: Some practice.

    JOHN: Yes, I know. I tried that once.

    TOM: Yeah. If you don’t practice and you don’t have the touch, what can happen is you’re going to really damage that floor. So I would – I think you’re doing the right thing. Just get the most of it off that you can and then have a floor sander come in and do the rest of it.

    John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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