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Patching and Caulking Old Hardwood Floor

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Patching and Caulking Old Hardwood Floor

    G'day! We have a house in the country, some 2 hours SW of Sydney, the old part of which was built, we think, some time in the 1880s. The original cottage was three rooms - bedroom, living room, kitchen with overall dimensions of 9.9m by 4.6m. This is now one room.

    The construction is post and beam. The posts were originally tree trunks that were planted 4 feet into the ground, and squared off above ground level to 200mm by 200m. There were 200 by 200 floor level beams as well around the perimeter. Joists were round tree logs, adzed flat to take the floor. There were stumps supporting tree log bearers as well. At 2200 mm above the floor, there are 125 by 125 beams with a 20mm slot cut into the middle of the lower side. The walls are ironbark (or at least a very hard red hardwood) slabs that vary in width from 160mm up to 290mm. They are rough hewn, probably adzed, although there are signs of circular saw marks on some of them.

    Anyhow, the problem that we had was that the stumps had all failed, and the house was now resting on the bearers, on the ground. Of course, the brick fireplace was still at the right level, but one corner had settled by 200mm. We engaged a house mover (we couldn't find a re-stumper in NSW for some reason, though google showed plenty in Victoria and Queensland) to restump the place. We took up the hardwood floors (150 by 19mm) and excavated down to 600mm below the top of the joists. We put the place on temporary piers, and then cut all the post, excavated the holes, put in concrete footings, ant caps etc, and then lowered the house back on to the piers.

    This is a bit of a long preamble, but the issue we then had is that the contractor put the floor boards back. We had recorded the position of each floorboard, so we knew that each board was in the right place. However, the contractor declined to use a floor jack preferring to line the boards up as best he could. Anyhow, the result is that we have quite a bit of patching to do, and there are gaps between some of the floorboards that get close to 1cm. He argued that we should just get in a bloke to patch the bigger holes, and then use a stained cornice cement based caulk to fill the gap before sanding.

    The floorboards have rather big nail holes, so the contractor used screws to hold the boards.

    My question is whether it is OK to do as he says, or whether we would be better to pull up the boards and start again. Given the already rustic look of the place, we are pretty relaxed about a somewhat rustic floor, but I thought that I should seek the advice of experienced blokes in this forum before we go much further.

    THanks in advance for your comments.

  2. #2
    Hwd Flooring Manufacturer glock40sw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Grafton, N.S.W.


    I'd be more inclined to sheet over the old floor with 12mm ply and then glue and nail a new 12mm overlay solid wood T&G to the ply.

    I hope Dusty, Gazza or Larry see your post and may have some better ideas than mine.
    Regards, Trevor

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