We worked to clean and restore old salvaged hardwood floors that we removed ourselves from our very own little fixer upper cottage.
One of the exciting things about buying an older home is all of the wonderful treasures and gems we have been able to uncover such as the old original hardwood floors in our Little Pine Cottage. In the very beginning when Nate started to pull up the flooring, he tried to save as much as possible. A lot of it was warped and damaged beyond repair. But, he did his best to salvage as much as he could.
SALVAGED HARDWOOD FLOORS
He salvaged all of the original hardwood flooring from every room in the house practically. He began to remove nails from them to get them ready to clean and restore. Initially, he used Borax to clean them, but later found that TSP worked out better.
This was in the very beginning when we first bought our cottage and by that time we were about a couple months into renovations. It was time for Nate to go through the pile of wood that he salvaged and start to restore it and preserve it so that we could reuse it. That was quite a task though! But we were so excited to be able to do something like this~ restore our own salvaged wood!
The original hardwood flooring was the only flooring that was in the house and there was no plywood underneath it! And it was just nailed right onto the floor joists. There were several layers on top of the original hardwood that we had to previously remove from almost every room.
These outdated layers seemed to have saved and preserved a lot of the wood. It was like a protection over it. You could even see some of the layers that were on top of the wood still stuck on it like the kitchen linoleum. The nails that Nate was removing from the wood also looked really old and something we could maybe add to our historic museum of our cottage one day!
CLEAN AND RESTORE SALVAGED WOOD
As Nate was working on all of the wood that he salvaged from our house, he would also try to clean, organize, and use as much of it as possible.
He began to work on how he was going to restore it and kinda started a system to get it done efficiently and as quickly as possible. We didn’t want to spend too much time working on that. It’s really old so that is something nice about having things a little worn and not perfect anyway. Check out what he was able to do!
If you are in the process of trying to get some salvaged wood yourself or restore salvaged wood that you have found for your own projects, whether it’s in your house or from a neighbor or Facebook Marketplace, maybe this will help you in your restoration journey as well.
Nate was washing the wood for the first time he thinks, which is almost one hundred years old! He was washing away all the old dormant mold and organizing a pile of the wood that was already cleaned. It was looking so good!
METHOD TO CLEAN AND RESTORE HARDWOOD FLOORS
Check out the step by step method that Nate came up with to restore the old salvaged wood that he found right in our house as we were ripping everything apart to renovate it from the ground up. It took him some time to kinda get a groove with it and figure out the best way to clean all of the old wood even when it was rotted and moldy.
I’m sure some people might have thought to just rip it out and dump it out~ you know, like off to the landfill! Yet we saw the precious treasure and gem in all that we could salvage. Especially the hardwood floors because first of all, it’s expensive if you buy it new. And it’s really hard to find the old style of wood that was originally in the house.
Here are the steps that Nate came up with to clean and restore our old salvaged hardwood floors, which have tongue and groove edges.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- Stack several pieces of the wood on top of each other.
- Make sure the tongue edges on each piece of wood is resting in the same direction and do the same for the groove edges.
- Tie the stack of wood with a string to keep it all together.
- Wet all sides of the stack of wood with a water hose so that it begins to soak.
- Lay the stack of wood on either the tongue or groove side.
- Use a five gallon bucket with a strong scrub brush that has a pole on it.
- Make a Borax or TSP solution to clean the wood (Nate actually preferred the TSP solution better).
- Scrub the tongue or groove sides and flip it to get the other side.
- Rinse everything off and remove the string from the wood.
- Lay the pieces of wood upside down in a row next to each other.
- Rinse the pieces of wood with water.
- Use a putty or drywall knife to scrape the gunk, junk, or layers of crap that are suffocating your precious salvaged wood.
- Rinse the pieces of wood with water again.
- Scrub each piece of wood with a lot of elbow grease then flip and scrub again.
Now you’ve cleaned both sides of the wood including the tongue and the groove edges!
Tip: Nate preferred to clean the wood over a cement surface because it made hosing the wood with water much easier.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS
Thanks for joining us on this journey! We hope that you will find inspiration watching us learn as we go while we’re attempting to renovate and rebuild this old small historic cottage mostly on our own. Stay tuned for more progress updates ahead!
You can also watch a video about this here.
To see more adventures of our tiny fixer upper journey, click on the links below.