What Lies Beneath

Removing the carpet was only part of the job of exposing the hardwoods. As it turns out there were not one but two tack strips along all the edges. Ugh. I’ve slowly been prying them all up, which has taken a long time.tack strips

What I’ve discovered after spending many hours getting up close and personal with the floor is that my floors are not nearly in as good of condition as I first thought. Not only is there quite a bit of damage from the tack strips, there were staples all over the floor from the carpet padding, and there is evidence that there have been many other layers of carpet installed over the years and there were a lot rusted nails and old staples still in the wood from those previous installations. The nails they used were not regular nails either, they were bulb-shaped with ridges to keep them in the wood and they leave a hell of a hole when pulled out. In the picture below you can also see some darker wood. It’s right by my fireplace and I initially thought that maybe furniture had been there blocking the sun and the rest of the floor is faded, but upon closer inspection I’d say that wood is damaged. It’s weirdly less dense or something, almost like it’s dry rotted? I can’t figure it out, but it ain’t good.

strip damage

There were some fun discoveries and some mysteries, however. Below you can see the edge of the bathroom floor. Old school linoleum! in a cool green marbled pattern! Not sure how intact it is because my personal theory is that the bathroom layout was changed at some point, but it’s very cool nonetheless. Also, this is a ridiculous number of layers of vinyl tile. It’s got three layers of vinyl tile and floating backer board, and a layer of plywood. They all appear to be floating and not adhered to the linoleum. I’m a long way from re-doing the bathroom, however, so now I’m stuck with this ugly exposed tile and backer edge now that it’s no longer covered by the carpet transition.

bathroom floor

The picture below is the slate entry way. The slate in front of the fireplace is level with wood and they are different sizes than the ones by the door so I’m sure this was added much later. But why?

entry floor

As you can see the tiled area extends past the door by about 8 inches. Though I can’t be sure about mu house, my neighbors next door said that when they moved in they had a planter box/room divider next to the door that they ripped out. If mine had that too and it was ripped out, that would have left a strip next to the original entry floor with no wood or tile floor, just subfloor. And the sub floor in the dining area is level with the wood floor so maybe the sub floor was level with the wood here and to add tile they had to build it up an inch. Then they extended the tile over the entire entry floor to make it all level. Just a guess, but I’m trying to figure it out. If this is indeed the case it leaves me to believe that the original entry floor is underneath this tile, whether that be wood or slate or whatever. Someday I’ll expose that, but for now I’m ok with leaving this alone. I’m also not sure how it will affect the front door and whether the front door was shortened to get over the high floor.


Speaking of shortened floors, you can see below that there is now a gap between my wall trim and my wood floor. Quite a sizable one, in fact. It’s crappy new trim which is easy enough to replace, but they did the worst thing ever. They actually cut into all the door jambs to make room for the carpet under the jamb because I guess it was easier than trimming the edge of the carpet around the door jamb, they wanted a nice straight line. Why?????? now I have a 3/4″ gap at the bottom of my door jambs.

trim gap


The picture below is from inside a closet. This is the most mysterious part. You can see the nice original trim but you can also see that the trim around the door was removed (and FYI this jamb was uncut because they didn’t have carpet between the tile and the closet). From what I can tell the trim around all the doors was original because the lone original window that wasn’t replaced had that trim, as did the doors and in some places around the giant picture windows. It really seems seamless with the door jambs, etc. But if that trim was original, how would it have fit against the floor trim in the below picture?? You can see the trim goes all the way flush to the wall. I’m very confused. I wish I could talk to the guy who originally did these remodels. There is a possibility that the trim around the doors was not quite original, just old, but it looks exactly like the trim I’ve seen in pictures from that time, I think if it was from later it would look different and it just seems too ubiquitous in the house in the un-redone areas. Mysteries. Bah. It stresses me out because I’m realizing that there is no way for me to do some of these project individually. If I want to paint I need to remove the gapping trim, but if I replace the trim I need to replace the door jambs where they are cut, which means replacing the doors because they are gapping too and integrated with the trim. And I’d need to re-do the floor at the entry at the same time to get it flush and if I’m replacing the shitty new trim in one part of the house I need to do it in the whole house so that the stain on the new stuff all matches, which means since I’m planning on redoing the kitchen/dining floor I should do that at the same time because the dining room has no doorway between it and the front room where the wood is. And I’m no where near ready for re-doing the kitchen. So how do I do this????? I can’t stand the thought of living with falling off, dirty, gapping trim for years and not painting over this gross beige.old trim


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