Old Carpet & Hardwood Floors & Cat Claws

DH and I (more DH than I) are in the midst of a huge project. Our home, which was built in the early '50s is due for an interior makeover. We haven’t painted the inside since we moved in 10+ years ago. We’ve got lots of cracks over doorways and under/around the valances and such. I found a great product to supposedly fix the cracks called Krak Kote. Something like spackle along with an elasticized tape that says it hides cracks forever since the tape gives when the foundation shifts, which is often since we live on a not-so-stable creekside hill. It appears to be working well, but we haven’t painted yet and I don’t think the house has shifted at all in a day. Has anyone used this fine product and been less than thrilled with it’s performance? That’s question one.

We’re also pulling up all the carpet, which TMK is at least 20 years old. The padding has all but disintegrated beneath. Pretty ugly. The wood floor underneath though is beautiful. We’re wondering what exactly needs to be done to this wood to make it the most attractive. I’m thinking sanding and a nice thick coat of some sort of protectant. When hub pulled up the hallway completely yesterday he used some Olde English, but I noticed that residue got stuck to my bare feet and felt icky. Ideally I think I’d like to spray it with a nice lacquer, but that sounds kind of messy. That’s question two.

Question three is this: with the new cat Poppy (no pics) being a 9 month old kitten and all, she’s a real hell-raiser. Will her claws as she’s sliding on the floor scratch the nice new surface when we’re done? I haven’t even allowed her out of the garage yet, but anticipate that when she finds that her “traction” is gone it’s gonna be hilarious. But we don’t want permanent scratch marks on the wood. How might we avoid this without banishing her permanently to the garage?

And question four, completely unrelated. We’ve had ex-feral Poppy for about six weeks now. Is she able to venture outside the garage and know enough to come home afterwards? I don’t want her trying to find her rescuer, mainly because the woman is over ten miles away. Will she know at this point that my house is now her home?

This is all over the place, and I’m sorry. Didn’t want three separate threads going that I’d forget to check and I don’t like to subscribe to threads.

As always, TIA!

When I refinished the hardwood floor in my bedroom, I sanded it down then stained it, topping it off with two coats of polyurathane (sp?). It has held up very well.

I am interested in hearing of your results with Krak Kote. I’ve never heard of it, but have a crack in the bathroom wall that could use something like that. Since the walls in this house are plaster instead of drywall, there are a few cracks.

As for letting Poppy out…that is a topic of much debate among Dopers. I never let my cats out, as I live near a very busy road. Others do and have had no problems. I, personally, wouldn’t let her out until she had been with you a bit longer.

If you use a good finish on the floor, cat claws shouldn’t be a problem. Dog claws might be, because they tend to be thicker and the dogs can’t retract them.

Good luck with your new cat and your remodeling, and please post an update about the Krak Kote. (I hope it works, but I hate cutsey spellings like that!)

Don’t use stuff like Murphy’s Oil soap or furniture polish. The wax is going to make it hard for later finishes to adhere properly. The way to restore a wood floor is to sand it and then apply a polyurethane coating. The caveat is that there are only so many times you can resand the floor. You can rent a floor sander, but personally I’d get a professional to do the job. Basically it’s sand, apply poly, resand, repeat, resand (lightly), repeat poly.

Good points here. Especially about how many times one can refinish a floor. It can indeed be done DIY, bit there is a lot of labour involved. And some finesse. Hiring it out will get good results including all the little extras that many DIYers overlook. There are some floor prep products that can be used to fill in tiny gaps and slightly damaged wood, plus any nail or staple holes that might be in the floor (due to tackstrip, thresholds, etc from the carpet). Check your local specialty floor retailers instead of the big box stores for more and better options of what products are available in your area. (I’m sure someone will come along and post actual UPCs for certain products they’ll swear by, which is fine, just go to the specialty retailer and ask them too, ok?) Kitty shouldn’t be able to harm a refinished floor by walking, sliding, running, etc, provided it’s done well, DIY or hired out.

If you do end up doing yourself, again let me reccomend pulling the 1/4 round off the baseboards first, then putting it back on and repainting the base. Or, esp if there is no 1/4 round down, get some and stain it the same as the floor before putting it down on the base. This gives a very finished and clean look, besides hiding any gaps from the floor laying.

I’ve never used Krak Koat. What I do is sand or cut (depends on texture or not) a little trough where the crack is. Then I use mesh drywall tape and a quickset mud. When this is set, I finish it out as needed, which normally means a skim coat of regular drywall mud to smooth it out and bring it flush to the rest of the wall, letting that set, sanding and reskimcoating if needed, then texture (if wall is textured) and a couple of coats of paint. Each step takes very little time, but there is loads of downtime waiting for things to set or dry, so try to do one step at a time to all of the cracks at once.

If the house it still settling, tho, the cracks will come back. No escaping that unless you can somehow stop the house from moving. Which I suggest you look into. Regardless of where you say the home is located, that much settling over a short time period is unnerving.

Excellent advice all! I just bought a bottle of Murphys. There are lots of staples in lots of spots on the wood. And to add insult to injury, the carpet was misstretched so there’s bubbles of about 6" around the edges.

Do we HAVE TO do the refinishing? It looks pretty good right now, with a decent sheen. There are a couple of areas of discoloration, particularly adjacent to the bath door. Since we haven’t removed the living room yet I’m expecting similar bad patches where it met the kitchen flooring. We plan on buying a bunch of area rugs (saves money over carpet too!). Don’t tell my husband, but he tends to be quite satisfied with half-ass. I’m happy with no less than whole-all. I mean anally disturbed by cracks, things that aren’t level, etc.

Thanks again for the help. I’ll let you know about the Krak (sic) Krack Kote. This house has been jiggling for many many years now. I just pray that the eucalyptus on the hillside don’t lose their rooting and fall on my house. Few years back the creek swelled so much it was within about three feet of our property. Yeah, it’s scary.

I believe this is a serious violation of board rules. Or at least board precedent!

Get some pictures, and post them promptly.

If your cat finds out that you have deprived him/her of the adoration that millions of SDMB viewers would have provided, there are likely to be serious consequences for you! :slight_smile:

I can’t speak for what a cat will do since I only have dogs, but I can testify that dog claws do wear on the floors. I’ve been in my house for 3 years now, and I have three rambunctious dogs, which means that soon I’ll have to refinish the floors.

But even if I didn’t have the dogs, normal wear and tear caused by walking would make it necessary to do every now and then. I have one doorway which is frequently used (it’s the room we hang out in most often) and you can see a faint “path” worn into the wood now.

Usually, a little Old English to match the color rubbed into the scratches and wear spots covers them nicely, but this is merely a temporary fix. Eventually, you’ll have to strip off the old finish, sand and then put down new finish if their claws have actually dented into the wood. It’s not as brutal as it sounds, and it makes your floors lovely and shiny after it’s done.

The solution is to put rugs in the spots where wear is most likely. (And put non-skid backing beneath so they don’t move.) These areas are doorways, the bottom of the stairs and the like. Every person’s house is different. You’ll have to watch to see where the rugs are needed.

I have runners leading through all the hallways. Dogs (and probably cats, too) don’t like to walk on slippery surfaces, so if they can keep on the runners and rugs, they will. You can hold them in place by using a staple gun. Staples don’t make very large holes and they’re easy to remove if you want to take the rug up.

I’ve used Crack-Coat or however it’s spelled in my old stucco & plaster house, and I like the results.

Results aren’t magic. I did the flaws over a whole bedroom, which had several real cracks in the textured plaster, and then wallpapered using vinyl (flexible) wallpaper, and you can just see two crack traces when you look for them.

The other thing I did was reduce the house movement by putting in French drains to take rain away from the foundations. All the rain from the back yard and roof used to drain pretty much to the back foundation. During the wet season the earth for several feet down softened and swelled, and during the dry it shrank. The whole house flexed each year, and two doors took turns sticking. Not any more.

Oh, and you can’t really stick the cracks together using Crack-Coat so they can’t move when the house does. When you are doing the work, it feels as if it should work that way, and you have to remind yourself otherwise.