We have a Victorian house. We've just uncovered the floorboards in the hall and they're in quite good nick. We were considering laminate (not to everyone's taste, but we've done it before and found it very practical).
Would we be mad to consider sanding the floorboards? Will sanding them kill me? Will I be driven mad by the noise/cold/muddy footprints after?
There is a dog leg in the hallway and DH is concerned that it will be a pain to lay laminate. I counter that by arguing that we would have some insulation if we put laminate down.
Also interested to know what people have done about sealing any gaps?
We have exposed boards throughout and I personally love them - sanding not a nightmare now thanks to dust-free methods (weren't around when we did ours and the dust was hell!). We used something called Gapseal to fill gaps, very easy to use. Could you have a large mat by the door for muddy feet? Maybe even recessed?
I wanted to do our boards but oh dear god the draughts!
People before us had put down vile vile laminate, bright yellowy thin strip maple effect so we were thrilled when we found lovely boards underneath, but we are NE Scotland, on the coast and in an elderly victorian house so as I mentioned, the wind just whistled through the house like a cold windy whistley thing
The tassells on the sofa actually wafted in the breeze whipping around my sitting room.
Lovely foam underlay and wide dark laminate and we are much much more cosy.
It depends on what is underneath and probably the position of the house. We had them in my last house and they were lovely, not drafty at all. You can always live with them before going to the effort of sanding and see how it is.
We are in the SW, so (hopefully) not as draughty as Catsmamma but the house is cold as a rule - single glazed and just, well, Victorian!
I am tending to laminate with some nice warm felt underlay, but its DH who's got to lay the stuff. My other concern with floorboards (and the reason we're not putting wood or engineered floor down) is that I would probably cry if it got scratched and dinted - inevitable really and not a problem we had with the laminate in the last house.
Good idea from wendybird to just leave them uncovered for a bit to see if you like it before going to the effort of sanding.
I didn't realise gapseal was no longer available - it has been great in our flat, and I liked that it was easy to use and could be taken out if needed. Draughtex sounds similar.
Laminates can be really nice these days, can't they? I just rather like floorboards, and the scratches and dints just become part of their history.
Fishfingers - Most companies use dust free now I think, and you can hire them to use yourself also (bona seems to be the main manufacturer), eg http://www.floorsanderhirelondon.co.uk/bona-dust-care-system.html
We've just taken up the carpet in our hall in preparation for sanding the floor and it is definitely noisier. I'm going to buy a runner to deaden the sound a bit.
We sanded the floors in our old place ourselves and didn't do a great job at filling in the gaps which meant it was very draughty round the ankles on a cold winter night. This time round we're having it professionally done and he's going to fill the large gaps with slivers of wood (something like this) and the smaller gaps with a mix of sawdust and a special gluey stuff. You can use sawdust and PVA I think but this is prone to shrinkage after a while.
I was very sceptical about the low-dust thing as it was hideous when we did it ourselves, but I've been assured by people on here and in real life that it really is much better these days.
I am not sure about this but I think the new sand free methods may not be an option unless you pay someone to do it, as the dust free machines are not generally those you hire, but of course its worth checking with your local hire shops. We have had this done in our house - had it done professionally - and it was pretty much dust free (still very noisy though!). It isnt wildy costly to have it done if you compare it with the hire cost and time/hassle factor of doing it yourselves.