Interior surfaces deteriorate due to weak distortion of the structure and the presence of moisture. Sometimes, the problem is further complicated by the use of cheap or improper materials, improper application of wall coatings or floor surfaces, or excessive layers of wallpaper.



Wood floors are subject to buckling or cupping of boards as a result of high moisture content of the boards or wetting of the floor. If the boards are separated, it may be due to shrinkage. This shrinkage is more probable if the flooring boards are wide. If the floor is generally smooth and without excessive separation between boards, refinishing may put in good condition; however, be sure there is enough thickness, left in the flooring to permit sanding. Most flooring cannot be sanded more than two or three times; if it is softwood flooring, without a subfloor, even one sanding might weaken the floor too much. Sanding of plywood block floors should also be quite limited. If floors have wide cracks or are too thin to sand some type of new flooring will have to be added.


Floors with resilient tile may have loose tile, crack's between tile, broken corners, and chipped edges. Replacement of any tile in a room may necessitate replacing the flooring in the whole room because tiles change color with age and new tile will not match the old.



The interior wall covering in older houses may be plaster, but may be gypsum board in more recently built homes. Wood paneling may also be found, but is usually limited to one room or to a single wall or accent area.

Plaster almost always has some hairline cracks, even when it is in good condition. Minor cracks and holes can be patched, but a wall covering should be applied if large cracks and holes are numerous, if the surface is generally uneven and bulging, or if the plaster is loose in sports. The same general rule applies to ceilings.

If walls have been papered, check the thickness of the paper. If more than two or three layers of paper are present, they should be removed before applying new paper, and all wallpaper should be removed before painting.


The paint on painted surfaces may have been built up to excessive thickness. It may be chipped due to mechanical damage, to incompatibility between successive layers, or to improper surface preparation prior to repainting. Old kalsomine surfaces may require considerable labor to recondition so a new wall covering should be considered. Paint failure may be due to application of paint over kalsomine.


Trim should have tight joints and fit closely to walls. If the finish is worn but the surface is smooth, refinishing may be feasible. If the finish if badly chipped or checked removing it will be laborious regardless of whether the new finish is to be a clear sealer or paint. Trim or cabinetry of plain design will be less difficult to prepare for refinishing those that having ornately carved designs.

The problem with interior doors are much the same as those for exterior doors except there are no decay or threshold problems.

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