Sunday, January 29, 2012

Installing Hard Wood Floors = Self-Flagellation

 Good bye carpet. Hello weeks of second thoughts and sore knees.

Each one of these bundles is 20 square feet of "rustic" 
solid oak tongue and groove flooring. A total of 240 square feet. 
We ended up buying 60 square more to finish the project. 
About 25 percent of the boards were "junk" and could not be used. 
Remember, if you decide to put your own wood floor in, 
it's very important to let the wood sit in the room it will be 
installed in for at least a week. The wood needs to acclimate
 to its new environment before you nail it down.

We started against the wall where the majority of foot traffic will be so the
 floor would appear to be straight for the main walkway. I had to pour a
 leveling cement on the floor to raise it 1/8 of an inch before we laid the 
red "rosin" paper against the wall. The stacks on the left are ordered 
by the quality of the boards. The farthest stacks are the best boards 
which we used in the walkway and other highly visible areas, 
while the imperfect boards are used against the wall
 and other out of the way places.

Here is Dara fitting the boards in a row so as not to have any of the
 seams next to each other. You should have at least 3-4 inches in
 between the end of the board and the end of the board in the 
previous row. This can be a frustrating process but necessary 
so you have a tight, unmoving floor. 

This device is a manual nail-gun. This throws a 2 inch tapered nail 
at an angle through the tongue and into the floor when you smash the
 piston down with the rubber mallet. If you don't hit the piston just right
 the nail doesn't go in fully and needs to be pulled.

This is the last nail in the last row! I estimate I used at least 4,500 nails
 putting the floor in. It was very satisfying pounding this nail in.

I rented a belt sander to sand the majority of the room. I rented an 
edge sander for the spots the belt sander couldn't reach. All the spots
 in the image are dust particles that I am sure are still in my lungs. 
Wear a mask when you do this!

 Here is the stain we chose. I ended up putting two coats down. Once that
 dried I put down a polyurethane coat to seal the floor. 

And this is the finished project! Maybe in five years or so when my knees
 and back forget about this, I may consider doing another room.

P.S. If you really want to test your relationship install a hardwood
 floor together. If you make it through it, you were meant to be.


  1. It looks great. When we moved into our house, we pulled up the carpet. Hardwood underneath. I really need to refinish it, but I'm kind of afraid I'm going to destroy it with the sander.

  2. As long as you have enough of the wood left to do another sanding I think you should. The sander is very easy to use and doesn't really take off that much wood. You could sand, stain and seal in a long weekend. The only problem would be if the wood has been sanded almost to the tongue, then your stuck.

  3. Um.....where is the glue? Your floors are going to creak in a few years.

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