Throughout the house hunting process I kept saying the phrase “well, we could take this wall down…” and my dad (a contractor) finally asked me if we could just purchase a house that didn’t need any walls to be taken down. So, color me happy when we found our current house!
But then we received the comps in the appraisal and one of them had an open railing to the ground level room on the right. Nick was already asking about taking down the half wall in the family room, my dad brought up opening the stairs, my mom asked about taking down the center wall and I guess we all figured in for penny, in for a pound.
By the time we closed, our plan was to take down the half wall, the drywall railing and the wall in the center of the room. We were planning on removing the tile in the entryway and kitchen, then weaving in new matching oak 2 1/4 to continue the wood throughout the levels since the area is so open. So, we didn’t think that weaving in new wood over the spot where there walls and railing used to be would be too bad. In fact, we planned on harvesting the tops of the railings to use as the nosed edges to go under the new railing.
But as with the best laid plans that happen during renovation, ours started to shift. The quotes for refinishing were all around $3.50 a square foot – so for the new areas it would break out to about $6 a square foot (new wood plus refinishing). And once the house had become a bare canvas, we started to notice a couple of areas of the floor that had water damage. So we were left wondering, if we paid $3.50-6.50 a square foot for refinishing, and there isn’t a guarantee that it would be exactly how we wanted it—would it be worth it?
I still wasn’t completely on board, in my mind it felt like we were ripping out a perfectly good floor (though, I clearly had no qualms about removing the perfectly fine condition tile). It felt silly and wasteful. But when we broke down the cost, and when Nick showed me a few photos that complemented his vision…I was sold.
The more wood we pulled up, the more damage we found. As a cat owner, trust me, I get it that things happen, and with wood floors urine can be absorbed quickly – if it happens while you’re at work the damage is already done by the time you get home. But so far we’ve found at least three areas of urine and a few more of water damage to the subfloor by the dining room window, kitchen window, chimney and front door (though, the front door was tile). Would we have known about these things otherwise?
(The worst of the worst by the front door, we’ve since pulled up this layer of plywood and the sub-floor is equally damaged)
We had our suspicions in an area by the kitchen, one of the urine areas (we thought it may have been a potted plant?), and our home inspector had his suspicions about the seal of the front door. Additionally we had long suspected some sort of leak by the bathroom had happened at some point, because the garage showed evidence of water damage and when we traced it back, we were pretty sure the water had come from the hall bathroom.
So in the end (though we’re still in the middle), I’m glad we’ve taken the older floors up. If we had moved in, and our cats began marking those same areas, this type of fix would have been way worse once we were all moved in!
Have you removed/installed a floor before?