That's what I discovered when I started taking up the 2 inch white/red mixed oak flooring in the parlor to start building a hearth. I assumed what I could see from the basement was the bottom of a sub floor that the oak was laid over. But as it was exposed and the rosin paper removed, this sub floor had a finish on it..... huh?? Why would anyone do that to a sub floor? Then it occurred to me could this be the original flooring of the first floor. The more I looked at it, the more it started to make sense. It was 3 inch red oak, and a very similar color to the staircase. But then I started thinking why would anybody lay an oak floor over a perfectly fine existing oak floor instead of just sanding and refinishing the original.
original under later floor
Maybe the original floor was damaged? I did a thorough inspection from the basement and I could not find one spot of water damage or holes other than what was through the second oak floor. So next I had to decide do I go with what I have, or do I spend the extra work and time to expose the original, with the chance of finding it damaged beyond repair. After doing a poll of people, the majority said take the second floor up and go with the original (of course they're not doing the work!). So with fingers crossed I started taking up the floor... and knew there was no easy way of turning back.
original floor exposed
In the end - I got lucky. No damage, in fact probably better than the second floor since it was damaged by pets. And when I reached the dining room, a big question was answered as well. I guess the installers ran short of rosin paper, so they used a few pages from the Chester Times - dated January 25,26 1942 - just as WWII began. So apparently old Lloyd had the floor done for a remodel - but why?? Only guess I have is that the original is not as tightly joined together as the later flooring, other than that, your guess is as good as mine!
what do we have here?
So we have a house with almost all the original trim gone - but two layers of oak hardwood floors! And now 500 square feet of extra flooring to use who knows where - too bad it's not 4 inch wide or I could use it to mill new trim. You never know what you'll encounter next!
original floor in dining room and 1942 newspaper