Up to 5 layers of flooring covering the bases of casings and plinth blocks-help! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Up to 5 layers of flooring covering the bases of casings and plinth blocks-help!

Forgive my lack of terminology, I have no experience when referring to woodworking. I am working on trying (operative word) to restore or replace rotted door casings and frames. Our house is c. 1850, and with the exception of the staircase spindles/newel post and rail, all the trimwork in the house appears to be pine. It was built, we were told, as a grand home, but was remodeled in about 1890 for use as a farmhouse (we even have picture fro the early 1900's of herds of cattle in our front yard). We would like to restore the house to its original grandeur, and after removing the first of many door casings, have found that they are all below the floor levels, down to the plank subflooring(?). The former owners, have in turn, removed the smaller width hardwood floor in the front hall, and back hall - I can assume because it may not have been salvagable do to wear and tear over the years. There is a hideous array of flooring, as we have torn up the back hall already. From commercial tiles, linoleum sheeting, other unrecognizable flooring, plywood, etc. I have checked the archival data at our local historical society to discover that the original woodwork was rather ornate, with the casings having a 'column' look, with corner rosettes. Wanting to replicate this style, how do I get the floor issue resolved? Do I do a tear down to the plank, or replace the hardwood, or do I use the current floor height and not recess the casings and linth blocks? Arggghhh - I just want it to look right and last another hundred years! Help please!!!!

Last edited by DuchessWolff; 09-13-2008 at 12:28 PM. Reason: spelling check
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 12:34 PM
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You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. The trim is always put on last during construction, so it should be in remodel/renovation.

If I understand your question, here is my answer. The trim sets on the finished floor. Finalize whatever floor issues you have by repairing/replacing them and then worry about the trim.

Last edited by Daren; 09-13-2008 at 12:36 PM.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you - and sorry about my rambling to get to the question. You understood correctly. So to clarify, since the original trimwork was actually set on the plank subfloor, not the finished level of the hardwood, I should replace the trim and then lay the finished floor, as the original was - right?
Would it be a no-no to put the trim on last instead? Like you said - on the finished flooring? Is that bad? Sorry.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by DuchessWolff View Post
So to clarify, since the original trimwork was actually set on the plank subfloor, not the finished level of the hardwood, I should replace the trim and then lay the finished floor, as the original was - right?

Would it be a no-no to put the trim on last instead? Like you said - on the finished flooring? Is that bad? Sorry.
It would be my guess one of 2 things is going on here. #1 the "plank subfloor" was the finished floor (this was common, wide plank flooring, and is making a comeback BTW and rather expensive) and it was gone over with another layer that you think is the original finish floor. The trim should have been removed at that time of the overlay and reinstalled on top of the second layer.

Or #2 a novice redid the whole thing years ago and installed the floor/trim incorrectly. They took it down to a rough plank sub floor, installed the trim then the finish flooring last.

So to clarify (maybe I can communicate this to you on the second try ) The trim sets on the finished floor. Finalize whatever floor issues you have by repairing/replacing them and then worry about the trim.

Last edited by Daren; 09-13-2008 at 01:04 PM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 12:57 PM
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I don't mean to butt in here but it would make a much nicer look and easier job if the trim was installed after the flooring is in place.

Sorry, we must have posted at the same time.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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I understand. Thank you for your patience, and I am sorry for not undertanding the first time. I do thank you.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 01:02 PM
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I'm another one that thinks I understand your question. It sounds like the existing trim goes through several layers of flooring. If you just plan to replace the trim, cut off or remove the existing trim. That might be cutting off and chiseling flat the existing trim flush with your existing floor. Then add new trim.

As Daren said, trim is applied as the final application. It should fit against the wall surface, and to the finished floor. So, if you plan to replace the floor, remove the trim and get it flat to any of the levels of flooring that will be the substrate for the new floor. Install the new floor, install the trim last.






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post #8 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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After reading what you are telling me, and after letting it sink in - I have a question please:
First: Understanding now, that trim is added last; why would people have put the 2 inch hardwood flooring over the top of the plank flooring? Or, for that matter, remove the hardwood and cover the plank with horrible tile?
Secondly: I would love nothing more than to make the original plank flooring the one that is the finished outcome. Is this advisable do you think? This will create an uneven transition into the rooms that have nice looking hardwood, but the ugly tile has to go! Can I create a threshold that will make a decent looking segway into the other rooms, without making it look too hodge-podge?
I did bring in a contractor who did not want to deal with our old house - he said it would be hard to find anyone today that would know too much about 'the old ways'. I have to hope there is someone out there that knows how 'the old ways' were done.

Thanks again for your patience!
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 01:20 PM
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I understand. Thank you for your patience, and I am sorry for not undertanding the first time. I do thank you.
Not a problem, that is what we are here for . I was not being impatient or trying to sound rude in my 2nd reply, I just like to joke around. If you stick around awhile you will find more knowledgeable ladies and gentlemen who will be glad to help without being silly like myself. If you get board do a Goggle search for "wide plank flooring", you may have a little hidden treasure there under all that other junk. IMO it would be a shame to cover it up again if it can be refinished instead. Here is one company that has many pictures, maybe your "subfloor" looks like some of them ? http://www.wideplankflooring.com/index.aspx

EDIT: It seems I was typing as you where asking other questions. (and I am on the way out the door so your on your own with the rest of the bunch this afternoon) By all means like I said before this edit, if you can go back to wide plank do it. Transition thresholds are easy to make, I made 16' for a guy last weekend who was laying a laminate. If the old floor is sound and really a wide plank floor all it would take would be a guy with a floor sanding machine to refinish it (a FRACTION of the cost of a all new flooring and like I said IMO way more attractive) Why it was covered up . My house had the grossest looking carpet you have ever seen throughout...just underneath that was beautiful hardwoods. I ripped that ugly carpeting out the day i bought the house and refinished all the hardwoods

Last edited by Daren; 09-13-2008 at 01:27 PM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Not at all - I love a person with a good sense of humor! The fault is completely mine, as I feel so dumb where this subject is concerned. I did not think before I wrote, or reasked. You did not offend, nor did I take any offense - on the contrary, I felt as if I annoyed you with the reiteration of a question you already answered in full! For that, I apologize. I want to learn as much as possible about how to save my house and its original features! So please, keep it coming, and don't forget the humor!! As an archaeologist - humor is the one thing I can count on the get me through the frustrating patches.
-DuchessWolff
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post #11 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuchessWolff View Post
After reading what you are telling me, and after letting it sink in - I have a question please:
First: Understanding now, that trim is added last; why would people have put the 2 inch hardwood flooring over the top of the plank flooring? Or, for that matter, remove the hardwood and cover the plank with horrible tile?
Secondly: I would love nothing more than to make the original plank flooring the one that is the finished outcome. Is this advisable do you think? This will create an uneven transition into the rooms that have nice looking hardwood, but the ugly tile has to go! Can I create a threshold that will make a decent looking segway into the other rooms, without making it look too hodge-podge?
I did bring in a contractor who did not want to deal with our old house - he said it would be hard to find anyone today that would know too much about 'the old ways'. I have to hope there is someone out there that knows how 'the old ways' were done.

Thanks again for your patience!
DuchessWolff I have about 15 years experience restoring antique homes. I admire you and your husband for taking on such a challenging task, but I can tell this is work a of love for you both or you wouldn't have started such an undertaking. What ya'll are doing takes much time and patience but it can be very rewarding also.

My thoughts about why the previous owners put oak flooring over the original flooring was to make the home up to the times as the home started to lose appeal with age. I would guess the other flooring was for the same reason, although, I could be wrong.

I have a question for you. If the flooring was removed back down to the original flooring how much difference would there be from the original to the nice oak flooring there now? If there is too much difference in the height the transition would not be smooth and could cause someone to stumble. Have you considered installing maybe antique heart pine at the same height as the other floors?

In many of the homes we restored, the original floor was too far gone to use because of dry rot and other factors. We installed random width heart pine flooring and had the flooring finishers scrape the joints to give them an older appearance. Once the floor was complete, one could not distinguish it from an original floor.

If heart pine isn't what you want, there are different types of antique flooring for you to select from.
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post #12 of 12 Old 09-13-2008, 03:25 PM
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Duchesse,
I just finished a couple of kitchen renovations in houses dating back to around 1840. The original wide plank pine flooring in both these homes was laid right over the floor joists. When people add new floors over time, in many cases they go the cheap way and don't tear out the old floor, as you can see in your home. It depends how much work you want to put into it, but the right way would be to tear out all the layers of flooring that don't belong there and start over. In the house I just finished, the owner was laying a new white oak floor. He was going over the original pine floor. The white oak floor he bought came out of the New England area. He found the add in Fine Homebuilding magazine. The planks varied in width and included 4,5, and 6" wide boards, tongue and groove milled to provide a somewhat snug fit between boards. He has used this upstairs and it didn't require sanding after installation, just staining and finish coating. I would recommend finding a local millwork shop and get to know them. They can reproduce any shape molding for you in what specie of wood you want. If you attack one room at a time it isn't too bad. Nothing of this sort is cheap however, even for the materials. Good luck, keep asking and when you are done, Ol' Bessie' will be good for the next hundred years.
Mike Hawkins
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