Repairing the Floors

Research & Collections

While a majority of the Madisons’ flooring in the house survived, several rooms had been either completely or partially re-floored by the duPonts. Because the thinner flooring used by the duPonts did not match the wider planks that Madison would have used, all of the duPont flooring was removed. In its place, new heart-pine flooring was installed using period construction details and reproduction nails.

Images of the Floor Repair

A floorboard being shaped, or undercut, to the correct thickness with an adze. Up until the early nineteenth-century floorboards were often individually undercut to ensure that the top of the board would be flush with the surrounding floorboards. The reconstructed flooring at Montpelier was prepared the same way to insure that visitors looking up at the flooring from below will see an accurate eighteenth-century floor system.

An original Madison-era floorboard that was undercut in the eighteenth century. The cut away section of the floorboard shows where the board once straddled a joist.

A carpenter installing the reconstructed heart pine flooring.


Montpelier Restored

Joists being prepared for new flooring. While a majority of the Madison-era flooring survived, the floors in several rooms had been replaced by the duPonts. Once the narrower duPont flooring was removed, the joists were leveled in anticipation of the new heart pine floors.