Issues with Tongue/Groove on Old Hardwood

Old 09-13-17, 08:14 AM
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Issues with Tongue/Groove on Old Hardwood

Hi everyone,

We have been refinishing the 1870 pine hardwoods in our house. When we 1st saw them under carpet, they were poorly painted and had large gaps between boards. Since the room had no subfloor, we pulled all the boards up and removed 4 coats of paints off of each.

Our hope had been by pulling them up and reinstalling, we would eliminate the gap issue by pushing the T&G together and nailing through the tongues. However, that does not appear to be the issue. When we went to reinstall, the tongues do not go into the grooves properly. Not sure if the boards warped over 150 years or what the cause is.

What would be my best way to install so I don't have these gaps between boards where the tongue wont go in the groove? Could I cut the tongues off and butt the boards up against each other? Then how would I nail them down (don't want to face nail). Or should I try and remove sections of tongue from each board to try and eliminate the bad areas? Finally, is sanding the tongues down or making the grooves bigger an option? Or could this cause issues with movement between the T&G once nailed?

Please let me know any suggestions you have. I can also provide pictures if that would help.
Old 09-13-17, 03:01 PM
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You have a very unique situation and I can only say that flooring boards without tongue and groove would be very susceptible to squeaking as the weather and humidity change.

It would be possible to remove one or both and re-mill but the amount of work that would take is huge!
Old 09-13-17, 03:06 PM
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You don't have enough wood for the whole house since these gaps add up to potentially several feet in total. Where are you going to put that gap when you're done if you find a way to tighten the boards together?
Old 09-13-17, 05:17 PM
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Time for plan B, remove the old flooring, add a new subfloor of Advantech subflooring and new flooring of your choice.
Old 09-14-17, 02:10 PM
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

Advantech subfloor has already been installed. So we are on the same page there

I am not too concerned about not having enough wood. Part of this project was dividing this room from 1 large bedroom into 1 smaller bedroom, a laundry room and new bathroom about a year ago. So when we did the bathroom, we ripped up that 1/4 of the room of hardwoods and didnt reuse them since we did CB and then tile. So those could be used on one side if we need to. We also gained a little room as the boards previously did not have any wall gap for expansion.

What I ended up doing was cutting the boards to make them shorter. Previously most of the boards were 8-12 feet long. I have cut them down to the 3-5 range and the T&G seems to be working better now. Still not perfect, but I have been able to reduce most of the gaps to a miniscule amount.

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