In our last post, we covered some easy ways to find out if your house is hiding hardwood floors. Finding hardwood under carpet can feel like a big win; however, it may not be quite the blessing homeowners are hoping for. Just because there is hardwood doesn’t mean its worth revealing. Here are some things to consider before just ripping up that carpet: Before removing carpet or other flooring (ex. linoleum) there are health concerns to be aware of. Depending on the age of your house and the materials, ripping up the flooring may expose you to lead paint or even asbestos. Wood floors are great but they aren’t worth ruining your health so be careful, proceed with caution! If there’s the chance for exposure to harmful materials, especially asbestos, consider hiring a professional. If you are determined to proceed on your own be sure to wear protective clothing including a protective mask. In the case of asbestos you’ll want to remove that clothing before coming into contact with others in order to protect them from second hand exposure. It’s a good idea to try to get a sense of what condition the hardwood is actually in before going crazy and ripping up all of the flooring. Try pulling back the carpet in a couple of corners and taking a look or removing small sections of the flooring at a time. Remember, those hardwood floors are in all probability not going to look brand new. Someone else lived with them first and styles have changed over the years. If you think the hardwood is in good enough condition to see the light of day go ahead and rip up that floor. The floor will probably need some TLC in the form of refinishing. You can refinish the floor yourself but if your short on time or not a DIY guru there are plenty of professionals that can help you out. Be prepared for the fact that some old floors are beyond repair. First, a floor can only be refinished so many times so if your hardwood has had a rough life even professional intervention may not be enough to restore it. In addition, floors that exhibit a lot of movement between boards are typically very difficult to refinish. Another terminal condition? Floors with structural issues which require the hardwood to be removed in order to repair the subfloor. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Save yourself time, money, and frustration by calling in a professional when necessary. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to get more than one opinion or quote - especially when the life of your historic hardwood floors is on the line. Finding hardwood floors beneath the carpet in your home can seem like a wonderful gift but sometimes it can be a more of a curse. There is the potential for health issues, high cost, and a large investment of time. Prepare yourself to call in a professional and to possibly have to say goodbye to those hardwood floors even though you just found them a short time ago.