Saturday, June 02, 2012

Office Floor Demo

Alright, I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I LOVE demolishing things. I've really been itching to tear out all the crappy laminate and sub-floor (plywood) on the main floor (Office, Living Room, Dining Room).

I started tearing out a few of the laminate "boards" last night (even though I still had the bed and the computer desk in the room). So this morning (just a few hours ago), I removed the bed, and other items from the room, but I left the computer desk (which is currently just a folding card table), and a rolling "under-bed" box full of art and paper (it weighs a ton and I can't lift it alone).

Lucky for me, they had a lot of pieced-together sections for the sub-floor, and I was able to just move things over to pull out the floor. I was also lucky that the plywood pieces were just barely tacked down with a few nails (6-7 on a 4x8 sheet).

The only down sides are that the floor is coated in adhesive (looks almost like dried yellow glue, but I'm sure that's not what it is, and that the floor gaps are fairly large in places (most are 1/8 with some as large as the full tongue ~3/8).

Otherwise the floor isn't too butchered (I know for a fact that the dining room floor will need a bunch of repairs). There's one place with a saw cut about 12" long, but it's with the wood grain and I can putty it and hide it.

I also pulled the rest of the baseboards.

Here's where I decided to grab the camera. 90% of the laminate is off (some left at the bottom), some foam sheets still there, and 1/4" plywood showing.

First peek at the original birch hardwood floor. Note that there was also a sheet of 1/4" fiberboard (similar to a light MDF) under the 1/4" Fir plywood. Neither was hard to remove, with just a few ribbed drywall nails holding it down.

Two detail shots where you can see the adhesive, and the original orangey birch peeking through. You can clearly see that this stuff was spread thinly with a notched trowel. I have no idea if this was for some kind of carpet, linoleum, or laminate.

Here you can see where I just dragged the desk over. You can also see the new phone and cable outlet that I had installed months ago for the PC hookups and/or TV if this later becomes a media room (or if I switch back to cable internet).

Eventually I'd like to get one of those big old oak desks for the computer. The kind that's made of nice wood and built to last.

All the plywood removed, but one piece of baseboard left. Also note that the original paint colour in this room was a very deep reddish brown. Almost a crimson. It was also painted before the baseboards were put in, since you can see the brush marks. Yep, that's right! The entire room/house would have originally been painted with a 4" bristle brush. Pretty wild that paint rollers weren't around at that time yet. I also can't quite imagine how dark this room would have looked. Dark red with dark orange woodwork, and a deep reddish brown ceiling to match (the beadboard ceiling were dark reddish-orange brown).

Some areas are bare wood, others have some kind of papery residue, and there's traces of adhesive everywhere.

Overall the floor isn't too bad. It's not nearly bad enough that I'd cover over it again, but I definitely want to try to fill the gaps with something before refinishing them. I know the filler will likely crack or crumble, but I really want fewer gaps in the main floor. Upstairs bothers me less because it's painted and will get less traffic.


  1. That looks like it will be a challenging project! How are they installed? Could you uninstall the boards and slide them closer together to close the gaps and fill the edge? Just a thought.

    1. Hey Shasha, It's not too bad if I can use a special filler on the cracks. I'm not looking for perfection. I did scrape the glue off about a 4'x2' section and the wood looks pretty good. There are some stains near the centre though.

  2. I'm not sure If I'm writing the owner "KristenS" of an old Geringer and Sons lamp or someone who just commented on the owner's string (on Old House Web) last April, but I have a similar lamp!!!! I just took it to get appraised by a woman who tours with Antiques Roadshow - she told me the company was renamed to Gramercy Park Lighting in 1915 (Yeah- you found that out too) and was out of New York. She valued my lamp at about $300. We were hoping it was worth more, but oh well.

    Was just wondering if you ever did hear back from the now-named Landmark lighting with any more information about your lamp?


    1. Hello Abby,

      I have several old lamps and light fixtures, but I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm on Old House Web as "sooth15". I don't have any lamps with "Geringer and Sons".

  3. Thanks - I see that Sooth was not the original poster, just a commenter! Thanks and good luck with your house!

  4. Scraping adhesive is a pain but totally worth it. Looks like the birch is in great shape!