I’m Getting New Flooring (Final Answer!)

Well, y’all, I feel like the biggest flip flopper in the history of flip flopping.  Perhaps I missed my true calling, and I should hang up the power tools and become a politician.

After spending the bulk of yesterday sanding down the original wood floor in the kitchen, I’ve decided that I’m going to rip it all out and install new red oak hardwood flooring like what we have in the rest of the house.  And that’s my final answer.

It was really a few things over the course of the day yesterday that led to this decision.  First, I tried to patch the holes where old plumbing lines had been removed.

original wood floor 1

I used my Dremel Multi Max to remove a section of the old board.

original wood floor 2

And then I added a piece of 1 x 4 in its place.  But because the new 1 x 4 wasn’t a tongue and groove board, it sat low on one end, and high on the other.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to be even with the rest of the floor.

original wood floor 3

So that was discouraging, and made me really question my decision to use 1 x 4 lumber in the entire breakfast room.  The fact is that regular lumber just isn’t made to be used as flooring.  It’s not cut perfectly uniform, and trying to find enough straight boards to cover the entire breakfast room floor (which is about 12′ x 22′) would probably be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming.

And I’ve got several boards that are just not in very good shape at all anymore, so they need to be replaced, like this one that’s all warped.

original wood floor 4

And then there’s the area where the sink was originally.  Evidently there had been a leak here at one point (or at several points over the decades) because in addition to the one section that looks like it’s just broken out (and now being filled with the fire extinguisher to keep curious felines from venturing beneath the house again), all of the boards in general are just badly warped.

original wood floor 8

Quite a bit of the floor was covered in this black cutback adhesive.

original wood floor 5

I was able to sand most of it off, but do you see these dark lines about every 12 inches?

original wood floor 6

No matter how much sanding I do, I cannot get rid of those lines.  That means that this floor can only ever be painted.  It can’t ever be sanded down and stained because those lines will always be there, and they’ll always be visible.

And then there are the gaps.  In some places, those gaps are as wide as 1/4-inch.

original wood floor 7

Since it’s in a kitchen, the thought of having those deep grooves and wide gaps seems very unsanitary to me.  So I had planned on filling them with caulk before painting.  However, someone yesterday commented that she did that on her floor, and in about two years, the caulk was coming out.  (Thanks for the warning, Barbara!)   I do not want that headache.

Anyway, I considered very briefly the idea of using plywood cut into strips to patch this floor, and then carrying the plywood strips into the breakfast room.  I’ve seen pictures where plywood floors have turned out beautifully for some people, and I’ve seen other examples where they have turned out pretty awful with unsightly gaps and uneven “boards”, and I decided that I just didn’t want to take the chance.  Plywood would definitely be straighter, stronger, and more uniform than regular lumber, but it’s…you know…plywood.  It’s not something that can be sanded down and refinished over the years because eventually I’d be sanding off the top layer.

With all of those things considered, new flooring just seems like the smartest decision.  Plus there’s the fact that we’re hoping this is our forever house, and while I like to save money and do things as inexpensively as possible, I don’t want to be cheap just for the sake of being cheap and then regret it down the line.  And once the cabinets go in, I’ve pretty much lost my chance to replace this flooring.

So, new flooring, it is.  And that’s my final answer.  🙂

P.S. — Don’t worry about me throwing away this old wood.  I wouldn’t dare.  Just think of all the cool projects that can be made with old tongue and groove wood!



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  1. Yey!! I was so hoping that was your decision! But, are you going to lay the new flooring in a herringbone pattern? I hope so, that was my first “choice” back when you were contemplating painting or new flooring.That new floor is gonna look soooo good with your cabinets!

  2. Sounds like a very good decision even though more costly now, worth it in the end.

    Can you re-use the floor on the walls in the breakfast area? Maybe on one of the short walls.

  3. Sometimes I am sure you and I are sisters. I love the way you are so flexible in making your decisions. Isn’t that the way to live?…….Keeps life interesting! I know you will be happier with the new floor. I made the same decision several years ago and have always been grateful that I chose new floors! I was able to match the original hardwood floors in the rest of the house, and I love the continuity.

  4. You are going to be so glad you made this decision! Every time you think about it, you will pat yourself on the back and deservedly so. I so enjoy your blog because it is teaching me that things do not have to be perfect from the start and not even the second or third time to have a very satisfying conclusion.

    My husband is always hearing about “that lady DIY blogger from Texas.” We are both jealous, although GA is nice, as a physician he would rather be in TX!

    1. I’m not the lady blogger….I have neither the smarts nor the ambition :^). I do live in Texas, and can never tell you how great it is!!! I’m not from here, but I got here as fast as I could!!
      Come on over!!

  5. Loved the idea of the painted floor, but can totally understand your decision. And it’ll look great!

  6. You made a good choice…the floors will be lovely and you will be thankful to have easy upkeep!!

  7. I don’t know why I’m relieved by your decision but I am. I couldn’t comment on your post yesterday because I didn’t really want to discourage you from your journey. I’m glad you decided to take the other fork in the road.

    1. If you’re not going to use the wood, consider having someone haul it to one of the Habitat for Humanity resale stores and take the tax deduction.

  8. Just today I was sharing with my husband about this DIY blogger down in hill country (we’re in the Texas panhandle) about your kitchen re-model and how you tackle most of it yourself so now HE’s reading your blog too (I know this, because we work together and I walked past his office and noticed he was on your site checking out the header you installed)

    Good idea about replacing your floors – you’ll love them!

  9. Great decision. It wouldn’t be DIY if you couldn’t change your mind. We had a small, older house where the kitchen originally had linoleum. It had to go and we put in hardwood to match the rest of the floors. So much more flow and made the space look bigger. I think you will love the consistency. Then you can use cool rugs too!

  10. I think this is a great decision. You will enjoy this floor. You are not wishy washy, by the way. You are flexible. There is a difference.

  11. LOL! Decisions surely do change when you get into remodeling an older house! While I love painted floors, and think it would have looked great in your kitchen, I also can see one continuous floor throughout the house. I did that in my house all the way from the front door into the kitchen and family room, and I love it. It gives a flow that allows the eye to move up and really appreciate the other elements of the rooms.

    At some point, the demo will end and the rebuilding will begin, but it’s important to get the foundation right (literally and figuratively) before going forward. I think we’ll all be as excited as you will be when that point arrives!

  12. I agree with your change as well—and I agree with Colleen F who said that this was being flexible! Being pig-headed is the opposite of flexible, and that means doing what you started out to do in spite of all the signs that said NO.

    BTW, another reason to be wary of using construction lumber in projects (other than construction) is that it is seldom—if ever—dried completely, so it warps a lot.

  13. Yay for you! The oak will make a beautiful transition into your breakfast room. I absolutely loved your painted floor idea, but I think the oak will be gorgeous as well. And the projects you can make with the old tongue and groove! Very excited to see what you build with those!

  14. Good choice Kristi! Your kitchen has ended with a complete gut job, with everything being replaced new. I think new flooring is the best choice. Then your done with it. Sometimes the old just has to go! So many great uses for old wood flooring……….:) keep up the great work! Love your blog!

  15. I think you’ll be happier with all new flooring in both rooms. It’ll be easier to work with and last longer. Will you still be painting it or will it be stained? I’m also glad you’re saving the old flooring because Pinterest has LOT of great ideas for dcorating with it. You might be able to use it at a ceiling or short wall somewhere else in the house.

  16. I’m so happy with your choice. You would make anything fabulous, but now everything will be new and very long lasting. I have severe withdrawal symptoms while my laptop was in the hospital. I’ve read everything this afternoon.

  17. I agree with everyone here Kristi, I think you’ve made the most sensible decision. Ultimately, who knows, you might have grown tired of a painted floor, and it’d be nice to have everything uniform throughout the house. Gives a nice basis of continuity. You aren’t alone in flip-flopping though! I reckon we’re all with you on that one! Really looking forward to what Kristi does next!

  18. Great idea, youv’e done so much already. Will you be putting it in yourself or having it done? I admire so much the work you have done . When I was younger I could make something out of nothing but not the way you do.!!!

  19. You probably feel a lot of relief coming to that conclusion, Kristi. A new floor is a great way to go. I’m sure once you rip up the old board, you can stack them neatly in your garage or wood working space and make a bunch of cool projects for the future, perhaps some things for the garden, or even planking a wall or a ceiling in one of your rooms? I’m excited for your new floor and cannot wait to see it once it’s installed!