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Gatcomb Painting

Hancock, ME

What’s New Is Old Again

Gatcomb’s challenge was to make the new floor look like its worn and trampled predecessor.

It’s great when you can really do something you enjoy, and this creation by Gatcomb Painting and Design let proprietor Erick Gatcomb put himself in the spotlight. “This was one of those jobs that really let me shine as a craftsman, as it entailed work that I love and am passionate about… but work that usually falls outside the purview of a painting contractor,” he said.

“The floors throughout this home were comprised of 100-plus-year-old reclaimed pine, with the notable exception of two first-floor bedrooms, which were carpeted. The new owners tore out the carpet and contracted me to install new pine flooring… with the special request that the new pine match the heavily worn existing flooring,” says Gatcomb.

A floor over 100 years old has its own character, along with a century of footworn issues, and Gatcomb’s mission was to distress the new flooring to match it, with well under a century to get the same look. “Another challenge was the deadline,” he says. “The homeowners intended to spend the holidays at their recently purchased home so all work had to be done by Christmas Eve.”

It was up to Erick to figure out how to create the old look, so he had to have a plan before he got started. “I took meticulous notes,” he said. “I used digital calipers to measure and document all joints, seams and gaps. I noted inconsistencies on the nailing, wear patterns, etc., and used these notes to map the layout of the new flooring.”

He took some more measurements, then brought a sample to the local Sherwin-Williams store in Ellsworth, Maine. “After a lot of experimenting with tint and fading, they were able to almost perfectly match the color of the existing stain,” he reported.

Gatcomb went out of his way from here, sourcing local random-width pine (Maine being the pine tree state) and profiling each plank to match the flooring’s shiplap profile. “The new pine was lightly distressed on-site and hand-planed as needed. To add to the authenticity, I face-nailed the planks using period-correct 8d cut nails from Tremont Nail Company. The new flooring was stained with oil-based Minwax Performance Series before receiving topcoats of Minwax polyurethane.”

Because... every painter deserves his place on the floor.

New floorboards were given a distressed appearance.
The finished project, ready for walking

Key Products

  • Sherwin-Williams Master Hide
  • Sherwin-Williams Cashmere
  • Sherwin-Williams ProClassic
  • Zinsser B-I-N
  • Minwax Performance Series oil-based stain
  • Minwax polyurethane
  • Tremont Nail Company 8d cut nails