Subfloor nailed to hardwood

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  #1  
Old 04-24-13, 09:52 AM
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Subfloor nailed to hardwood

Hey guys, we bought this house almost 2 yrs ago and ive finally decided to pull out an island in my kitchen. I've discovered the original hardwood flooring under the tile and subfoor that was put on top. My problem is i would love to keep the hardwood as its throughout the house, but ive just realized that they nailed the subfloor to the hardwood. How do i pull up the subfoor without damaging the hardwood underneath?
 
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Old 04-24-13, 10:17 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

I have a similar arrangement in my home, hardwood floors under other flooring throught the house.

Given that you are probably going to want/need to sand down and refinish the hardwood, you should be able to fill the nail holes with a wood filler. I know my one floor had this done (by a previous owner) and it looks good and hardly noticeable.
Hopefully one of the pros will pipe up with product recommendations.
 

Last edited by Northern Mike; 04-24-13 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 04-24-13, 01:43 PM
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How do i pull up the subfoor without damaging the hardwood underneath?
Very carefully

I wouldn't worry about it too much, just don't go crazy prying it off of the hardwood. As noted there are stainable fillers that can be used during the sanding process or you can just leave the nail holes and call it character
 
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Old 04-24-13, 03:18 PM
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How do i pull up the subfoor without damaging the hardwood underneath?
If the installers used ring-shank nails, as they should have, or coated nails, they're going to tear the surface of the hardwood if you try to pull them up. A better technique in that case might be to remove as much of the subfloor material as possible, including under the nail heads, then cut the heads off the nails and use a nail set to sing the shank of the nail below the face of the hardwood.

OTOH, if they used smooth-shank, uncoated nails, just use a flat bar to pill them up. Protect the hardwood by slipping a thin drywall knife under the end of it to pry against. Carefully, as Mark said.
 
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Old 04-24-13, 04:06 PM
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Not sure of the wisdom in the "protect the hardwood with a thin drywall knife" idea. The hardwood is under the old subfloor the OP wants to remove, so it will be protected by same.
 
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Old 04-24-13, 04:57 PM
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Devils advocate......

Keep in mind that someone decided to cover a hardwood floor with tile. There always is the chance that the tile was installed to mask a defect in the then current floor. Just keep your ears up. I would inspect the underbelly from the basement or crawl to check for signs of moisture damage or such before venturing on restoring old buried hardwood.
 
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Old 04-24-13, 05:38 PM
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Once the subfloor is torn off of the hardwood floor, it will surely leave lots of nails in the hardwood. Rather than using a drywall knife to protect the floor from dents and dings, I'd probably just keep a scrap of wood to put between the hammer/prybar and the hardwood. It will also give you more leverage. Invest in a 36" fatmax wrecking bar. It will be well worth it if you have a lot of nails to pull.

I agree with Nashkat that if the nails don't want to come up, or if they blow up the face of the hardwood when you try to pull them, that you'll be better off to cut them off flush and drive them in with a nail set.

It will make it easier to remove the subfloor if you first cut the subfloor up into manageable sized pieces with a skilsaw. Small pieces will pry up easier than large pieces. But you would have to be very careful that you set the depth of the saw correctly so that you don't cut all the way through the subfloor. You want to cut most of the way through, but not all the way through.
 
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Old 04-24-13, 06:08 PM
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Not sure of the wisdom in the "protect the hardwood with a thin drywall knife" idea.
I thought I'd suggested cutting most of the way through the subfloor first. I see now that I forgot to do that. Fortunately, XSleeper had my back!
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 04-24-13 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 04-24-13, 06:14 PM
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Nashkat1 wrote:
remove as much of the subfloor material as possible
You just have to read between the lines. LOL
 
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Old 04-24-13, 09:35 PM
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You just have to read between the lines. LOL
Yeah.
remove as much of the subfloor material as possible, including under the nail heads...
but not cutting most of the way through the subfloor.

I guess I was thinking that part was obvious. But it's not. Particularly the part about needing to set the blade depth to be less than the thickness of the subfloor.

You'll only ever fail to do that once, I promise.
 
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