The last incarnation of flooring in the house was carpet. Everything was carpeted. When you put in carpet, especially if you’re doing it on the cheap, you go through and patch any holes with plywood, and create mostly a flatish surface. Then you’ll cover the whole thing with a carpet pad and carpeting. As you walk over it, you might notice uneven floors or bumps, but for the most part, you probably won’t think about it. This is a common and cheap flooring fix to do in rental properties where you’re just trying to get it filled with tenants as quickly as possible. By the time we got there, the carpet had been ripped up and taken away. Maybe disposed of, maybe transferred to another property (not as uncommon as you might think).
Without this covering though, there’s all kinds of interesting things to be seen on and in the floors. One of the most curious was a bit of pipe coming up from the floor in some rooms. It was cut flush with the floor so you’d never know it was there if carpeted over. As we cut away walls, we discovered that this pipe was a pretty heavy iron piping that ran through most of the floors and many walls. Then one day Em commented that it might be radiator tubing. The house has duct work for forced air heating. The duct work is relatively new (put in sometime in the last 15 years or so).
I hadn’t even considered what had existed in the home prior to the forced air furnace. Being from the south, I have little experience with some of the more interesting heating systems. I’ve had apartments up north with radiators, but I’ve never even seen an oil furnace or one of those big octopus looking manifolds. Sure enough though, all cast piping probably fed a system of radiators in many off the rooms in the house. Like with the old wiring, when the HVAC system was upgraded, all the old conduits were left, unused in the walls since there was no good reason to cut away plaster and wood to remove it. For us, we’ve been pulling that piping out because it might be really neat to integrate into some kind of decorative feature in the house. Worse comes to worse, we’ll scrap it and maybe get a few bucks. But like with the plaster, it’ll be a few hundred pounds of dead weight we’ll be pulling out of the house.