Stripping Wood Floors? Need Help!

At the top of my renovation list to get done before baby is to have the floors stripped on the second floor of our house. The floors are all original wide plank, painted in an assortment of creams and browns.

I don’t know the best process to remove the paint and when I bring it up with Greg he gets frustrated and complains that the floors will be ruined and loose their character if I have them sanded. I realize it was common to have painted floors back in the day and it’s only recently become fashionable to have them stripped to just wood.

So I reach out to my readers because I’m starting to go crazy. I just want the paint off. Can you help? Have you had your floors stripped or whatever method you want to call the process? What’s the best way to preserve them so they don’t loose their old house appeal? Can you recommend someone who does this type of work?

We did strip the paint off the molding in our den using The Silent Paint Remover which works great! But the remover we have is small and overheats quickly when applied straight down which makes the process very labor intensive. If we could find a crew who does this type of removal that would be ideal since it doesn’t require sanding. I don’t need every little speck of paint off but something where most of it’s gone.

I found this list on Whole Living’s website on water-based and natural sealers as well as waxes and oils. I don’t want super slick floors with heavy poly but something soft and hopefully using a natural product.

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Restoring Door Jamb

Snapshot of the den on November 17th, 2011. I still need to finish painting the walls, restore the firebox, line the chimney, strip the floors and add interior shutters.

We’ve never talked about how we restored the door jamb in the den, so here it goes. When we bought the house the original jamb had been cut out and removed on the right side. We assume this was done to fit furniture into the house—the doorways are only 26 inches wide.

We removed the frame and realized the wall was crumbling. Paneling was carefully removed and the wall was gutted to the corner beam. We went back and forth on whether to keep the doorway expanded because it was more convenient and it allowed more light into the space or not. Many of you shared your opinions on this post from January—the widen doorway was more favored.

We found three doors in the basement that were mates for the den. Greg decided he wanted to restore the door and use in the space. I like the idea and thought keeping the symmetry of the room was the right move. When the renovation is complete we’ll be able to close all three doors and light the fire on cold winter nights.

The molding profile that was removed was difficult to source because it didn’t match anything modern. We got a tip that Blue Anchor Woodworks carried many of the knives used to cut historic molding profiles found in Marblehead. We were able to match the molding with a knife in their inventory and bought 32 feet for $200. Having a custom knife made would of been a lot more expensive.

When we replaced the beams in preps for a new ceiling we also built out a new wall and installed the molding. Blueboard was hung in the wall cavity and then plastered over. The molding has been painted and you can hardly tell the difference between the old and new. Well, except that new molding doesn’t have nearly as many dings. I’ve taken care of that and made it more authentic by accidentally knocking it a few times with the vacuum cleaner.

We still need to fix the little gap between the top of the door and the molding. Can you even see that or does it just glare at me? I think the best tactic is to fill the gap with some wood and paint it green so it blends. Below photos of the project.

Den when we first bought the house.

Removing ceiling, stripping paint off molding and removing damaged door jamb.

Doorway expanded allowed more light in but I didn’t like that it threw off the symmetry of the room.

After we removed the ceiling and replaced with new beams we also put the door jamb back in. The paneling in the corner is original.

We had custom molding made for us at Blue Anchor in Marblehead to match.

Making sure the corners line up.

Carefully nailing the molding into place.

Adding molding to opposite side.

Blue board was installed and then plastered over when we did the ceilings.

View of the two doorways restored.

View from library looking into den with doorway restored.

A close-up of the corner after plastering.

Priming molding and painting the walls in the den.

Den this morning on Nov 17th, 2011. I still need to finish painting the walls, restore the firebox, strip the floors and add interior shutters.

Related Posts:
Expanding Doorframe in Den
Base Coat Plaster Ceiling
Narrow Doorway
Fixing Doorway & Ceiling Conversation

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