Floor to the Door

After having 2+ months off from home ownership while we’ve been chilling in our little apartment, I’ve gotta say there are some nights when you’re longing for a glass of wine and an episode of Mad Men. And a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Yes, all of those things. Although fixing up houses is seriously my jam, some projects are just grueling any way that you look at it. Our kitchen demo/floor install falls into that category. We’re definitely attempting to take things at a more comfortable (sane) pace this time around, but every once and a while you come up against a deadline where you’ve just got to bust it out and make it happen.

The deadline this time, our tool rental. So it was ready, set, 24 hour rental, let’s go!

Before we went to grab the nail gun (our rental), we had a few minor things to do to get the space all ready for the next round of flooring. If you’ve been keeping up with our little adventures, you’ll know that we removed all the old flooring before, so that the new wood would match up with the old flooring we already had in the dining room. But, since we’d removed a wall in the process, we had to create a clear edge as a starting point for the next row of flooring.

Removing Existing Wood Floor to Add Flooring

Luckily, this took all of 2 minutes, since we literally just came through with a circular saw, cut through the last row and then grabbed a crow bar to pry the loose pieces out, like the photo above.

We knew we’d be under a tight 24 hour timeline, so we did everything we could to prep for the flooring installation before the tool was actually in our hands. By the time we were done getting the room ready, it was looking like this – mighty empty.

Prepping for Wood Floor Install

Other than the tools we knew we’d be needing, we made sure to have everything completely cleared out of the space (along with having it swept clean to avoid any conflicts with debris and the new flooring). I also started a new tradition with this reno. Since I knew it would be a beast of a task, and that Jay, well, might be reluctant to make the magic happen – I made an executive decision to resort to bribery. From this point out, I’ve started budgeting an extra $20 bucks into the equation to buy this fella some nice beer that he can sip on to help stay motivated (ahem, wash away his sorrows and pain). For one, it makes Jay the happiest husband ever, and for two, happy husbands are just a very good place to start a project. Since y’all, it usually heads down hill rather fast with a reno 😉

How to Bribe Your Husband

But before we even got to this point, we had to purchase our 200 (or so) square feet of wood that we’d be laying down. When we moved into town, we immediately noticed that there was a lumber liquidators over by our new apartment, so we thought purchasing the unfinished wood we’d be laying down would be easy peasy. I knew the wood had to acclimate to the house for a few days, so I called about a week out from when we planned on installing the floor and was told that 1) they didn’t have the wood we needed in stock, and 2) that it was on backorder – indefinitely. Errrrkkkkkk. Brakes, people.

After a considerable amount of progressively desperate antics from me, the sales guy mentioned that they did have 204 feet in stock – but it was 200 miles away. Mmmmm, eeerrr – ok. Problem is, desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures, so my friends, you bet I got into our little Prius that could and crossed over the state line into Virginia to get me that wood.

How to Save Money on Wood Flooring

Turns out the $30 to fill our tank was totally worth the trouble, since the wood we wanted was only .88 a square foot, vs. over $3 a square foot for their premium grade oak. We did some research and found out that although the wood we were getting was lower quality stuff – if we were willing to deal with a few knots here and there, and some inconsistencies in quality, than we could save upwards of $600 on our flooring. So, we rolled the dice, and decided to save our similions.

Overall, we were pretty pleased with the quality of the wood. It definitely had some serious jankiness with some of the pieces, but since nearly a 1/3 of our flooring in this room will be covered by cabinets, we decided to just be strategic about it and hope for the best.

Laying Down Tar Paper for Wood Flooring Install

The first step to laying the wood flooring down (after we had cleared the debris, and cut the final row to match up), was to lay down some tar paper under where we would be laying down the new flooring. After the first cut was down, I eventually took over this job so that we could multi-task a bit and get some more done. In theory, laying down this paper should help to insulate the floor and minimize any squeaking as well.

From there, we just tapped each piece of wood into place with our mallet, and than came back through with our trusty rented nail gun. Lucky for us, our only cut for each row was a straight cut at the end. Heeeeelllll yeah – that definitely sped things up! 😀

How to Install Wood Flooring

To start out, Jay was in charge of installing each piece of wood, and I would come through in front of him to “pre-lay” each row of flooring. Since I knew I cared about each piece a bit more (i.e. not wanting wood knots and mis-colored pieces front and center) I took over with laying down each piece preemptively, so he could just grab and go.

Prepping Floors for Wood Install

Now, given the fact that we went the cheap route and opted to use the chipper chicken wood, we did have to get creative at times. After putting all of the seriously ugly wood under where we knew cabinets would be, we still had some improvising to do. I.E. the hack-a-wood-a-thon. Take the wood that’s jank, and cut it so it ain’t.

Removing Imperfections in Wood

You can see that I definitely tried to use the worst off pieces first though, to cluster along the edges of the wall, where we will be placing our cabinetry. Anything that was deemed to dark, or had lots of knots got placed right along our new cabinet base locations.

Installing Wood Flooring

In addition to bribing Jay to bust this beast of a project out with beer, I also decided to redeem a sweeter than life coupon we got from Whole Foods for a free dinner (say whaatt??). We totally got a free coupon in the mail as a welcome to the neighborhood type of thing and I got this, for absolutely nothing!

Whole Foods Coupons

I may or may not be Whole Foods biggest fan now 😀 Seriously, as anyone that’s been through home renovations knows, things like making food tend to take a back burner, so having this plop on to our doorstep was a very welcome addition. (Added bonus, that whole meal is normally only $16 bucks (including the salad…), and we got 3 meals out of it, so that ain’t bad either)

When I came back from the grocery store, and saw Jay bird crouched in the fetal position, I knew it was a good time for a food break anyway 😀

DIY Wood Floor Install

The next day, after we’d returned our nail gun to Home Depot, we came back through and did the final round with our normal nail gun. Unlike the rental, this one had different nails in it that technically, aren’t meant for installing floors, but since we were unable to fit the rental in that small of a space (since it was too close to the wall), it worked in a pinch.

Installing Unfinished Wood Floors

Now instead of a big, vast, open space, we’ve got some matchy, matchy floors going down in our kitchen. Well, at least we will once everything is sanded and stained. Can’t. WAIT! 😀

Adding On Wood Flooring