We ripped up the rest of the carpet, and determined that the rest of the old floor looks pretty solid.
So the decision is… sand it down and refinish. We’ll continue using a strip of wood to level the fridge. There’s a small hole in one floorboard where there used to be a gas line, but we can figure out something to fill that in, and it’s an area that will be covered by the refrigerator.
I really like the idea of keeping the old floor, and although it will be a lot of work to refinish it, it would be even more work to rip it out, level it, and put in a new floor. Plus, if we did that, we’d probably also widen the exterior door from 30″ to 36″. Even more work and expense. Besides, if we refinish the old floor now, we could always still replace it in the future if we decide we don’t like it, or if we have a problem with it.
We’ve talked about doing this for years, but Larry was sure that once we ripped out the existing floor, we’d find some real problems underneath that would be much more work than we were expecting, and it would end up being a massive (and expensive) job. So we were extremely pleased and relieved to find the old floor still intact and strong.
Besides the slope in the porch floor itself, something had also been done so that the mudroom floor sloped up into the kitchen doorway, but we had no idea what was done or why, though we figured it was just to eliminate having a step there. We could tell that it was soft and spongy under the carpet, so we guessed there was just a lot of extra carpet padding under there, but it was just one more unknown that might be a problem. Fortunately, when we ripped off the carpet, it did turn out to be just some extra wood strips and carpet padding to build it up in that area.
There is a bit of a funny story that came out of this.
The previous owner of the house bought it in the early 1990’s. At the time, it was in such terrible shape that the guy’s sister (a real estate agent) said she cried when she first saw it. But he fixed it up, and later bought the neighboring house and fixed that one up too. Larry had come to Utah about the same time, and met the owner through a mutual friend. In fact, he actually did some electrical work on this house for the previous owner, as well as rewiring the neighboring house. After the previous owner died in 1997, Larry ended up buying this house.
We still see the mutual friend who introduced them occasionally, and in fact, he was over at our house last week. He stopped by again yesterday morning, before we ripped out the remaining carpet. It turned out that he was the one who had remodeled that room and put in the subfloor and carpet over the old floor. He told us that the floor had been the only part of the room that had been in good shape, and that he remembered it was pretty solid. He also said that the reason he had built up the floor at the door to the kitchen was that another friend of the previous owner used a wheelchair, and they wanted to eliminate the step that had been there previously.
We knew he had done some of the work on this house, but in all these years, never once did it occur to either of us to ask him if he knew anything about what was under the floor. Sheesh. If we’d known there was a good floor under there, we’d have done this years ago.