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  • dry rotted/splintering hardwood

    Hey everyone.

    My wife and I just moved into an 80 yr old rowhome with dingy old wall-to-wall carpeting, with (luckily) some type of hardwood flooring underneath. The boards are half painted (around the exterior, as if there was once an area rug covering the middle of the room), split in some spots, stained, and warped. I was hoping to at least be able to put a nice paint job on it, but was wondering if I should "re-moisturize" or recondition it somehow first. Is this a good idea? If I use a wood hardener and filler to repair it and then paint it, will the dry rot get worse over time?

    thanx,
    johnny

  • #2
    Dryrot is actually a fungus that's caused by moisture. You need to first find the source of moisture to stop the rot from continueing. You also need to ventilate the area to provide air flow. I would guess that you have either a damp basement under this floor or a crawl space. Running a dehumidifier below will help rid the moisture that's seeping into your floors, also the ground around the foundatin perimeter should be sloped away from the house. If you do have a crawl space then the dirt floor should have a plastic moisture barrier covering it.

    Depending on how bad the boards are you may need to replace them. If you can polk a screwdriver into the wood and it's spongy and really soft then I would rip it out and install new, There is a wood hardener made by minwax that can be brushed onto the wood to strengthen the fibers, it may help in your situation depending on how deep the rot is. If the wood is spongy and soft only on the surface, but I'd guess you need to look from beneath to know the extent of the damage. Here's a few links for you to give you details on dryrot and it's prevention. Hope this helps.

    http://www.buildingconservation.com/...es/rot/rot.htm
    http://allsands.com/Gardening/wooddryrot_wtu_gn.htm

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    • #3
      hey, thanx for the great info!
      Luckily the wood isn't nearly as bad as you described, it's not soft at all (re: screwdriver test). I can reasonably assume that I don't have dry rot, just old dry wood in pretty bad shape. The edges along the length of the boards are curling upwards and it is splintering in many areas. I also just realized that my furnace in the basement below is directly under the area of the floor that is the worst, and what appears to be sap is being sucked out of the boards above!

      Aside from these sappy boards having to be replaced and the furnace/ductwork underneath being fixed, is there any need to condition the wood to prevent it from getting worse? If so, what product will do this? I am definitely going to paint the floor now, so I'm worried the paint wont stick if I condition the wood first. Any advice guys?

      Thanx,
      -jOHNNY

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