Imagine this: a beautiful modern apartment with powdered blue-gray walls, chic whirlpool in the bathroom, and sparkling stainless steel kitchen details. The floors, however, leave a lot to be desired. Planks of heavily grained engineered oak float from the entrance of the apartment to the back. You know the type- typical golden, faded, and drab- seen in many old urban homes. Not the kind with settled grain, these floors are conspicuously rustic (which would be fine if they where closer to a rural area.) In this case, however, they look terribly out of place in a new urban property near the city.
Most of the floors could have been restored by cleaning, buffing and re coloring them. The damaged parts could even have been replaced if the original engineered wood could be found. The owner opted to replace the existing floors with modern looking ones that would harmonize better with the modern structure and details. She opted for a light natural-colored 5”plank engineered Maple. This option would give her an elegant modern floor that would lighten the space as well.
The removal of the glued-down engineering floors can go two ways: either the glue has hardened into a brittle material or it can have a rubber-like consistency. In this case, removal is a grueling task that can take up a lot of chisels, hammers and about a week for only 700 square feet. The final cleanup involves a drum sander to be worked over the cement slab to yield a clean surface on which the new floors can be installed.
The new floors in this property were then installed using a floating technique, where an underlayment is placed (which can also be glued-down) on the concrete slab and the wood is installed on top by clicking each board to the next one. To complete the final job, matching shoe molding was installed along the perimeter of the rooms.
Engineered floors are a good option to attain the feel and look of natural wood when you have a solid cement slab as underlayment. This is common in Northern Virginia’s new walk-up and condo constructions, as solid hardwood need to be nailed down to a wood subflooring. Fortunately, new techniques are being developed to glue down solid real wood on cement. A new breed of engineered floors with a thick layer of real wood is also available which can be treated as solid wood– they can be sanded and refinished. This option also comes unfinished and can be stained to match your existing floors.
If you which to explore your options to repair or replace an existing floor, give us a call at 703-537-9699. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and schedule a floor evaluation.