A Great Surprise – We Need Your Advice

Author:  Spring (Jordan)

A while back I gave you a tour of our Florida room.  You can read about it here.  This room has great potential, but it is an eye sore.  We love the light this room brings into our house.  We recently put in new windows, and now it will be a little warmer in the winter.  When the weather was nice, we didn’t want to do any projects inside.  Nice weather is valuable here in Syracuse so we were outside.  Now that it is starting to get colder, we wanted to start one of our winter projects:  the ugly tile floor.

View before

Here is a view from our stairs.

Another view

We took this picture last winter, and you can see all the snow outside.  That will be here before we are ready for it.

Close up

We have no idea when the tile was put in, but it is just not our style.  Plus, the moment we walk in, it is right in our faces and not in a good way.  We were hoping hardwood was underneath.  When Gracie was a puppy, she decided to start the demo in that room and removed a couple of tiles.  We took out a couple more pieces and were bummed because it didn’t look like hardwood, just the subfloor.

Then last week we started our official demo of the tile.  There were no issues on removing it.  The tile was a breeze to remove.  And things got better.

Demo of the tile

Could it be hardwood underneath?  We got closer, and I started cheering.  We hit the jackpot.  I guess the corner that Gracie removed was not in good shape so we couldn’t see it.

Room Demo

It is hard to tell because it was at night when I took these photos, but you can see the hardwood.  The problem now is the stuff the tile was attached to on the floor.

Floor surfaces

Here you can see the state of the hardwood right next to the Florida Room.

Original Hardwood

Before we started removing the tile we found a hardwood that matched our current floor and priced it out with to do it ourselves.  Overall we were happy with the price. It would be around $450 by the end of the project.  However, we are changing directions since this discovery.  But with all of the gunk on these floors, we do not know if we can save them.  It is a lot to sand down, and we are not sure that would do the trick.

Florida room

So what would you do – try to save the old floor or rip it out and replace it?  Keep in mind that a lot of sanding would be required which would make the flooring much thinner.  Here is the Florida room in it’s current state.  We are doing research but are kind of at a stand still.  Let me know what you think the best option is.  We know that there are a lot of seasoned DIYers out there, and we value your expert advice.

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  1. says

    Have you rented a belt sander before – the large kind the size of a wet/dry vac? It is very inexpensive and would make this small job a breeze. We belt sanded six floors in our first home, which was 200 years old – took the old stuff up with no issues.

  2. Ann says

    We had a similar problem in a house that we renovated. The house had old lineoleum in the kitchen that adjoined an old service porch and living room at opposite ends. The floors were different heights as well. We tried to strip the lineoleum off of the wood but it was a disaster. Ultimately, we installed a new pre-finished hardwood floor in the service porch area and kitchen. Then we refinished the existing old floor to match the new floor. We have been so happy with the results. It was a little pricey but so worth it. Hope this helps.

  3. says

    It’s hard to say unless you do a test area to see how the floor looks after sanding. It’s not an easy call. Good luck with your project.

  4. Deb McK says

    Check out “The Lettered Cottage” blog. Layla and Kevin recently removed flooring and I think they used a wet sander to get rid of the glue. They show all the steps they took. Good luck.

  5. emily bass says

    Your floor has been like that since before 1979, the year we moved in ,down the street. We uncovered a similar floor in our kitchen and refinished it. It looked great even with all the sanding……

  6. says

    It looks like you’ve gotten some great advice from some experts, which is good, because I haven’t had to do that particular job before. I think I would probably try the sanding, first. Good luck!

  7. says

    I would agree try sanding a small section first and see what happens and if it is too hard go with the new flooring. Can’t wait to see it finished.
    Just what is a Florida room by the way, is it like a sunroom?

    • says

      Thanks for the suggestion I will keep you posted. We have just called it the Florida room from day one. It is filled with windows I guess you could call it sunroom as well. Stay tuned to how it turns out and thanks for stopping by.


  8. says

    Wow, what a great surprise! Although why someone thought that tile was an improvement over the hardwood is beyond me! Can you spot-try a couple of methods (i.e. sanding, wet sanding, stripping, etc.) to see what might work best and/or if the damage is just too much to repair? Does the $450 include installation and staining/sealing? If so (and maybe I just feel this way because I just refinished our bedroom floor this summer – what a job!), I’d be tempted to purchase the new floor.

  9. says

    Tough call; if you want to keep it in budget, do a test strip. If that doesn’t work, then you’ll have your answer and will have to lay new. Good luck! I’m just jealous of all that light!

  10. tess says

    We moved into our 60+ year old house (we are in Utica…hello neighbor!!) and had our oak floors redone professionally (we had the whole house done-big job!) and they are beautiful. They had never been refinished before and came out just beautifully! Give it a try and if sanding doesn’t work, you have Plan B at the ready! Snow will be flying here soon!!! ; -)

  11. Jaybird says

    We had the same problem you are facing. We took the floor boards out very carefully and flipped them over. A light sanding and stain and we were done!
    Good luck with your project.

  12. Beth Harper says

    Jordan, I sold flooring for 12 years. That glue likely has asbestos in it. Our guys wouldn’t touch it. I’d advise ditching it for new.