This is a really wonderful “How To” on reclaiming wood flooring. It is written by JD Elder of Elder Demolition in Portland, Oregon.
On occasion Elder Demolition would hire DeConstruction Services, which is where I got to know some of the Elder folks. They are a great example of how demolition and deconstruction can partner to save resources.
It is also important to note that by crossing the divide between demolition and deconstruction, companies like Elder are important to the reuse industry.
Go read the entire article and learn a thing or two!
Photo by Matt Baume
How to Pull Up Old Wood Floors for Salvaging
1. Use your pry bar to remove baseboards. These may also be reused if you are careful and don’t damage them during removal.
Pry up a board with an exposed tongue. Near a nail, slide the pry bar underneath the board and elevate about ¼ inch. Then move to the next nail and do the same thing. Note: Patience is critical in this process. If you lift too much at once, you risk splitting the board or harming the tongue. For especially stubborn nails, try rocking the pry bar back and forth to loosen. If this doesn’t work you may need to use a reciprocal saw to slice the nail.
Go back to where you started and repeat the above process. Do this until the board can be lifted clean away. Pull out old nails and dispose of them properly, so that they don’t pose a safety threat to tender feet.
Continue to pry away the boards in the room, taking care not to damage the tongue and groove portions. Dinged tongue and groove fasteners will be difficult to reconnect in a new installation.
If there isn’t room to insert your pry bar underneath the tongue of the first board, you can use a circular saw with a carbide blade to plunge-cut between two boards near the tongue side. Once the plunge cut is established, you can use your pry bar to pull up as many boards as necessary to expose the tongue edge.
Finally, know that you may be facing a pretty piece of work in cleaning the cracks between boards, where years of grime may have built up.