"This original American chestnut floor was covered for years by carpet, linoleum, and who knows what else after more than 170 years," says David Runyon, owner/operator at WoodMan Flooring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The clients who owned the circa-1840s home in Shenandoah County wondered if it would be cheaper to just cover the floors with Pergo, but Runyon couldn't bear the thought of that. "I gave way too low a price because I simply couldn't imagine the horror of snap-lock going over this diamond in the rough," he says. The most challenging aspect of the job, he says, was the fastener removal due to the many previous floor coverings. Then he sanded and coated using three coats of polyurethane. The job had a special meaning for Runyon, whose father was a silviculturist for the U.S. Forest Service and taught his son about the tragic story of the American chestnut. "The lost agricultural, environmental and economic value of the American chestnut tree, decimated by blight to near extinction, was often repeated and reinforced," Runyon says. "It was a rare treat to find one I could save!"
Wood Floor Rescue: Preserving a Lost American Icon
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