First Floor Floors: Repairs

We’re really thankful that our house is set up the way that it is. Work is still continuing on the floors right now. There are just two people here during the day, and basically, the front of the house is completely shut off from the kitchen and butler’s pantry, and we’re using the back stairs into the butler’s pantry, and exclusively using the back door to get in and out of the house. The floorers are using the front door, and we’re communicating via text and messenger, so everything is no contact. And, of course, we’re all being smart and safe. I have always loved floorplans of the past, and loathe open floorplans, and am thankful now that we can continue this project and provide work for others and still be safe.

One thing that I was a bit sad about was not being able to hover and watch the process more closely due to social distancing. But, they have been AMAZING at taking pictures and videos. So much so, that I have to break up the blog about the flooring into several posts, because there are just too many pictures and things. Please know that because of the no contact, I might not know exactly what’s happening in each picture, and I will likely get some things wrong (or, just not try to explain at all). I am also so thankful for Gabe and Everett (Everett has put together the pictures and video) from Virtuoso Flooring for letting me use their pictures and work in my blog. I can’t recommend them enough!

Several spots had water damage from when the house was vacant, and raining inside before we bought it.

This was a spot that we didn’t know about until we ripped up the floor (these are the sub floor boards).

Once everything was cut out, you can see some rot on the joists themselves.

There’s the crawlspace!

Some more blocking was put in to shore everything up.

I’m not sure what this picture is, and I don’t really care. I just think the floor grate is SPECTACULAR and I love it so much.

The bottom step of the stairs has a decent crack in it, and plenty of give. Now, we are ALL about character, and don’t mind the history of the house being there. To that end, we opted to NOT replace the bottom riser. BUT, we wanted to make sure it didn’t get any worse. So, the crack stays, the give DOESN’T.

You can see the thread pulling away from the riser here.

To get to it, we had the empty out the cupboard under the stairs. There is SO MUCH storage under the stairs. Also, this cool handwriting with the city name on it!

Some glue / filler is happening here…..

Shoring up the stairs! Look at those old kerfs!

It’s going to be weird not to have a little bounce in the first step!

The other major repair is in the border in the turret. Remember this gem from SIX YEARS ago?

Well, this is the inside manifestation of that exterior rot.

Here’s what it looks like once some the border was removed. YIKES.


Some of the boards needed to be taken out.

You know what I’m SUPER EXCITED ABOUT?!?!?! Replacing that vent. It’s not an antique size, and so we know it was added. We don’t want to enlarge it (and lose more of the border). I have some go-to places for lovely new registers. Do you have any? Let me know in the comments! Maybe there’s a place I don’t know about.

Subfloor repairs are in!

This whole area is on hold – because they located some old wood to make the repairs, as opposed to feathering in new wood. Stay tuned!!! LOTS more to come.


  1. This is going to be so lovely when it’s done! They seem to be doing such a nice job. And how wonderful that they can keep working during this time. So many tradespeople are out of work.

    On a side note, I don’t know how you’ve lived with that sponge paint for so long! I think I would have just painted it white to get a blank slate, even if that wasn’t the final color. You guys are troopers.

  2. a) It’s so cool to see quartersawn support boards beneath the stairs. The lumber available a century ago was just awesome.

    b) Who, who, who originally cut that ugly modern vent into that gorgeous old border? I am reminded of the 1956 house I used to own that had fabulous wood floors marred by the previous owner’s carpet installers that had stapled the padding right into the wood. After I ditched the carpet, I spent a lot of hours pulling out those staples, and the floors were so good that even with the staple holes and occasional shallow cuts made by a careless carpet knife, they didn’t have to be refinished. The atrocities that have been done in the name of modern progress. Ugh!

    c) I’m so glad your house has you all to put it back together right and keep it going. A+ for all your care and effort. And your floor guys must be awesome!

  3. Your floorers are awesome! I’m so glad they’re able to continue working. Yay for old house floor plans!

  4. The picture with the aluminum track is showing humps in the floor. There were blocks under them that had to be cut down, those are the ones that the new framing was installed between.

    And yes the tread was fixed by getting polyurethane glue down in the crack, then placing a few screws in from the back of the adjacent riser to pull it tight. Same for the 2nd tread where it had pulled away from the newel by about a quarter inch. Should be a solid fix for decades to come.

    Btw we always recommend Reggio registers, but I’m sure you’ve heard of them.

  5. We’ve used Signature….cast iron! I checked out Reggio & they s don’t have the same ones & nothing that matches our existing grates as well.

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