Reusing tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring from buildings such as offices, factories, and homes has been popular since the middle 1800s across North America. However, tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring got made during an era when more plentiful supplies of quarter-sawn wood, which is far superior in quality to the more commonplace flat-sawn wood, were available for flooring. So can you still reuse tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring?
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Tongue and groove flooring have notched edges. Tongue and groove describe joining two similar pieces into one continuous surface by aligning and joining their edges. Because of the way they interlock the original two flat planks into one seamless piece, this technique of connecting hardwood pieces is powerful and effective.
How To Safely Lift Tongue-And-Groove Floorboards
Removing tongue-and-groove flooring is not a test of carpentry prowess, even though it can be tedious and time-consuming, especially if they glued together the boards. It would help if you gave yourself plenty of time to remove the boards carefully, as doing so requires systematic work.
Hardwood floors glued together are usually beyond the point of reuse. Still, those that have only been nailed down may be usable in another setting or sold to a business specializing in secondhand construction materials.
Safety Measures When Removing Tongue And Groove Floors
Using A Pry Bar, Remove The Baseboard
Use a pry bar to remove the baseboard that lines the floor’s perimeter. If the area is caulked, use a utility knife to cut through the caulk so you don’t peel the paint. Using a hammer, gently tap out the nails as you remove each section of the baseboard.
Locate The Final Installed Row
To remove a floor plank in the middle of the room, insert a pry bar between the wall and board, hook it under it, and pry it up.
Stack The Hardwood Boards As You Pull Them Out
Get the rest of the boards out of that row, pull out the nails, and stack them outside. All subsequent boards should come off with less struggle. To keep the boards in good condition for recycling, we should store them in a cool, shaded area.
Take Out The End Boards
Insert the pry bar under one nail in the next row’s end board and pry it up to remove it. Once the nail head has emerged, use a crowbar to pry it out. Lever the crowbar on the subfloor rather than the plank surface if you intend to reuse the planks.
Repeat For The Rest Of The Boards
You should follow this same procedure to pull up the remaining floorboards. After you’ve moved away from the wall far enough to swing a hammer, pound the pry bar under the floorboards. You will need a hammer, a crowbar, a utility bar knife, and a pry bar to accomplish this task.
If they glued together the boards, you can still pry them apart, but be aware that the boards may crack and chip as you work. Use a chisel to remove some of them from the basement floor.
It is advisable, to begin with a rotten board and work for the last one if you are still looking for the last one installed. Protect your feet from errant hammers and splintered wood by donning a pair of steel-toed shoes, gloves, goggles, and other safety gear.
Installing Reclaimed Wood Floors
Concerns Regarding Reused Floors
If the flooring you plan to reuse was initially installed in a location with partial sun, the boards will probably have slightly different shades. In addition, warping is likely if there is a lot of humidity or frequent, drastic temperature shifts. Also, the flooring in an older structure was probably sanded many times, leaving it too thin to be reused.
Getting The Flooring Ready
You can better understand the color differences and layout options by laying the flooring on a flat surface. You may need to bleach the floor after sanding for severe staining, but if it’s limited to just a few boards, you can try separating them and blending them into the rest of the floor.
Separate the straight boards from the warped ones, and use the straight ones in the essential parts of the floor, like the first course. The boards must be de-nailed, and any damaged or warped ones must get disposed.
The first course gets laid along a wall. You can also do this down the middle of the floor, usually, after we have stapled the moisture barrier down. This course serves as the floor’s foundation and thus requires the straightest boards.
Nail the first course through the faces. The remaining boards can be blind-nailed through the tongues with a flooring nailer. Be careful where you put the nails so that you don’t puncture the wood or make more holes.
Polishing and Sanding
When refinishing flooring, it is essential to sand the boards down to remove the finish and ensure they are all at the same height, and this is vitally important if cupped or curled. Next, apply bleach if you choose after the initial sanding with coarse paper, fill any holes or cracks with floor filler, and finally, sand to a finer grit.
Installation is complete after staining, and we have applied clear finishing to the wood. We can finish used floors with either oil or water-based coatings. You should plan on using three coats.
Even though removing tongue-and-groove flooring can be a laborious and time-consuming process – made even more so when the boards get glued together–safely removing the boards requires careful, methodical work.
Reusing the flooring you already have in your home can save much money on your remodel without sacrificing style. We can install recycled flooring the same way as brand-new flooring, but checking each plank for damage is crucial before you start.
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John Thompson, Writer and Commentator, EvolutDesign.com
Soldier, writer, researcher, consultant, and bon vivant, John Thompson is the author of numerous columns, op-eds, reports, briefs, short stories and books as the “Felicity Files” and “Spirit Over Steel: A Chronology of the Second World War” (version III). Often found hunched over his computer, or in his garden, and now often found doing both. His diverse talent has led him to work in industries and projects such as energy, security and home construction and renovation.