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Best material to replace fir porch floor?

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Forum topic by crampon posted 10-08-2020 08:13 AM 523 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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crampon

20 posts in 3366 days


10-08-2020 08:13 AM

Hi folks, I live in Portland Oregon in a 100+ year old house. I think my porch may still have the original tongue and groove Doug fir flooring, but it’s starting to give up the ghost—there are enough spongy spots and damage from years of foot traffic that I’m planning on replacing it all, not just patching.

It seems that I have 3 choices for new porch flooring:
1) new T&G fir flooring which I assume will be looser grain and less robust than the original old-growth flooring
2) salvaged T&G fir flooring—it would be old-growth and higher quality (presumably) but obviously would have taken 100+ years of weather before being deconstructed
3) some kind of tropical hardwood, which comes in the same 3/4” thickness as the existing flooring
4) I’m not really considering composite because I’ve heard so many negative experiences.

The porch is covered but tends to get rain blown in, and the current porch is painted.

My current thought is that I’ll look for salvaged flooring first to see if I can find enough salvaged flooring in good condition. If not, I’m a little tempted to consider the tropical hardwood because I would leave it unfinished and save a ton of time on priming all 6 sides then painting (lazy, I know). Hesitant to buy new fir because I’m not sure it’s possible to get good quality.

Any suggestions?


9 replies so far

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Robert

4596 posts in 2603 days


#1 posted 10-08-2020 02:18 PM

Not sure what the negative experiences are, but for me Composite is a good product I’ve used it and like it—a lot.

That said, there are some things to be aware of, the main one being you need supports 12” OC (IMO) 16” is OK but you may experience some “bounce”. You definitively can’t go 24”. At least this has been my experience.

On the plus side, it is extremely durable, low maintenance and cleans up very nicely. Had to do over I would do the hidden fastener technique rather than screws through the surface.

With the prices of lumber skyrocketing, I suggest you give it some more thought.

On the recycled material if you have to resurface it that will add a lot of time and labor. If you don’t have a drum sander, you will have to rent a floor sander.

IPE and other tropical hardwoods are not getting any cheaper.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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PBWilson1970

214 posts in 516 days


#2 posted 10-08-2020 02:19 PM

Ipe or a similar species will be a lifetime investment. Not cheap but it’ll survive us and the cockroaches too!

The Atlantic City boardwalk was constructed from Ipe and it lasted the heat, cold, wear and salt spray for decades.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

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crampon

20 posts in 3366 days


#3 posted 10-08-2020 04:05 PM

Hi Robert, I’ve heard all kinds of things from people using composite: it absorbed water and swelled, it grew mold, it warped in warm temperatures, it was loud, etc. I would be open to adding more joists if needed, just would be disappointed to install a product that failed shortly thereafter. Is there a particular composite you would recommend?

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Madmark2

2858 posts in 1711 days


#4 posted 10-08-2020 04:16 PM

Lemme unnerstand. Your old floor lasted a CENTURY and you want to know what to replace it with?! The same darn THING!

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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Madmark2

2858 posts in 1711 days


#5 posted 10-08-2020 04:17 PM

Lemme unnerstand. Your old floor lasted a CENTURY and you want to know what to replace it with?! The same darn THING!

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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PBWilson1970

214 posts in 516 days


#6 posted 10-08-2020 04:49 PM

The only issue I’d have with replacing the porch with new fir is what the op mentioned in the first post. The quality of fir isn’t what it used to be. Maybe finding some reclaimed wood or finding some nice quartered stock will help, but it’s going to be far from the tight grained, dense stuff of days gone by. My friend has taken down barns and the wood he gets, even if it’s softwood, is amazing stuff.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

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crampon

20 posts in 3366 days


#7 posted 10-08-2020 05:57 PM



Lemme unnerstand. Your old floor lasted a CENTURY and you want to know what to replace it with?! The same darn THING!

- Madmark2

Ha! Well put. That would be high on my list but as PBWilson pointed out, it’s not guaranteed that I can get more old growth fir T&G flooring.

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crampon

20 posts in 3366 days


#8 posted 05-16-2021 11:48 PM

duplicate post, sorry

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crampon

20 posts in 3366 days


#9 posted 05-16-2021 11:48 PM

Zombie thread reboot! I replaced the old fir tongue and groove flooring on my porch with new fir tongue and groove. I chickened out and had it done by a contractor because I didn’t have the time and frankly thought they would do a better job. During the demo of the old floor, they found some old Budweiser can underneath. One of the contractors had a friend who is into beer memorabilia, and they dated it to 1972, so I did get 50 years out of the old floor, pretty good!

We went with new fir flooring, and the contractor and I were both happy with the quality: clear tight grain, almost as nice as what we took out.

So now my question is about finishing. Lumberjocks, it definitely looks like I failed finishing school. I used Sherwin-Williams Superdeck, in the natural color. It’s a transparent stain and sealer in one. It went on shockingly thin, I only used about a cup for 125 ft². It’s my first time working with this product, and I thought it would self-level and soak in, and neither of those things happened, so now I have some blotches. The stain went on yesterday and now I’m scrubbing out with mineral spirits and rags, but it’s pretty well cured so it’s going to take all night and I’m not getting perfect results, I’m trading dark blotches for lighter blotches. Are there any better ways to approach this? Is the only other option to sand down and refinish?

See images of the crime scene below:

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