First Floor Wood Floors

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May 30, 2010 – Ripped Up Dining Floors
Jun 04, 2010 – Picked up New Flooring
Jun 05, 2010 – More Floor Demolition
Jun 12, 2010 – Underlayment and box opening
Jun 13, 2010 – Started Laying Floor in Living Room and Foyer
Jun 15, 2010 – Living Room Done
Jun 26, 2010 – Dining Room Done
Jul 06, 2010 – Hallway/Powder Room
Aug 01, 2010 – Family Room/Kitchen
Aug 14, 2010 – Nailgun purchase, Trim
Sep 05, 2010 – Almost done with the Kitchen
Sep 12, 2010 – Kitchen Finished!
Oct 23, 2010 – Dining and Living Rooms Done
Nov 28, 2010 – Family Room Finished
Jan 02, 2011 – Family Room and Powder Room

Okay, this is not airplane project related, but I need a place to keep everyone updated with pictures and progress on the wood floors project.

(Okay, okay, it is related…I am redoing the floors while I wait for the wing kit to arrive). Happy?

Long story short, the floors in my house are kind of weird. On the first floor, I’ve got good wood floors in the foyer, carpet in the living and family rooms, vinyl tile-look-alike in the kitchen, and laminate flooring in the dining room that was not installed correctly.

The floors are on order, so it’s time to start. I’m putting these floors in the whole first floor. It’s going to be a big project. I’m going to start in the dining room, move to the living room, then go to the rest of the house. That will have the least impact on the kitchen and family rooms, where most of the day’s activities occur.

May 30, 2010: Ripping up old dining room floors. (I won’t add a ton of commentary…for your sanity’s sake.)

I've taken out the first part of the floors. The person who installed these lined up all of the seams. Also, you could put your foot on any row, and slide the whole row back and forth. Boo.

First row pulled up.

I like to play a game called "will it burn?" (Yes, it does.)

The underlayment actually wasn't in bad shape.

Jack and Ginger: "What the heck is this stuff? Can I eat this?

I pulled the underlayment up and balled it up to throw in the garbage.

All done for the day.

Next up, removing the molding and taking up the crapet in the living room. I’ll update this post later with more progress.

June 4th, 2010:

Hey, I picked up the wood floors today. The guy helping me load them into the 4Runner made a joke about not being able to fit them all into the truck. It was only funny because they fit exactly. I could not have fit one more box.

This seems like it

A side view. I had a ton of extra room. /sarcasm off.

From the front. (Those top few rows would have gone over my head in an accident, I promise.)

After removing 9 or so boxes (30 lb each?) from the back. 38 left. (Arms tired...)

Hey look! All the boxes are inside acclimating! Wait...this doesn't seem like all 47 boxes.

Oh. Here are the rest.

I’m so tired from all of the box-lifting, that I can’t even come up with anything funny to say. Sorry.

(Here’s some funny for you: When the guy from Lumber Liquidators asked when I was planning on installing the floors, I responded “Summer 2010.”)

He laughed.

So should you.

The instructions on the packages say to let the floors acclimate for 24 hours, but I am going to stick with the tried-and-true 1 week waiting period. No use in tempting the wood floor gods by installing them too early. Besides, I still have a lot of demo (demolition…in the form of removing carpet, pad, and tack strip, as well as molding) to do in the living room before being able to lay the underlayment (perpendicularly) in both living and dining rooms (Of course, I am laying the floors parallel to the windows and along the longest hallway, per common practice.)

More later this weekend.

June 5th, 2010:
Not much to see here, just more floor demolition.

Pulling up carpet.

Pulling up more carpet. (In sections, because I have so much crap in the living room.)

Next, pulling up the tack strip...

All done with the tack strip...let's move into the foyer.

Pulling up these wood floors was satisfying. Very satisfying.

Towards the kitchen...

Finally. All the foyer wood floors have been demo'ed.

lastly, I started pulling of the molding, very carefully. We are going to try to save this, seeing as how it is about $1 per linear foot to replace.

Next up, more molding demo (salvage) and then laying underlayment in preparation for laying floor!

June 12th, 2010:
After spending a couple days prepping and paiting the dining room and living room cieling room, I was finally given the okay to really start on the floors. First thing was to really make sure the floors were clean, then start unrolling the underlayment.

After laying the first row, moving the flooring onto that row, and laying the second row, I grabbed this shot. The blue stuff in the middle is a flimsy plastic covering for some double sided tape preinstalled on one side of the underlayment. On the other side is that 3″ piece of plastic (you can see on the right). After you line everything up, just pull the tape off through the seam, and they seal together. Nice and easy


Working on the third row.

I have to start in the bay window area, so once I got the third row in, I stopped because I am too excited to actually get some of this stuff down. Here are a couple boxes opened and just scattered randomly.

Nice color and variation, right? We're really happy with it.

Next up is drawing some reference (straight) chalk lines to make sure the seams look good along the longest hallways. Then the saw comes out to get actually started.

June 13th, 2010:
Wuhoo! I actually started putting floor down.

To start today, the girlfriend and I measured from the walls along the back of the house so we could make a series of straight reference lines with a chalk line. I then used one pretty close to the bay window as the starting point, and moved into the window area. Turns out, the front of the house wasn’t perfectly square with the back of the house (and the longest hallway, which we want to be perfect), so there were some rip cuts early in the day.

I shouldn't have started in the bay window area. This was actually hard to measure and make all of these cuts.

See the angled walls? Hard!

Oh man, these look good.

Coming down the stairs is where the look the best.

Due to the overlapping nature of the locking joints I had to extend all the way into the hall closet so I could move further down the living room.

After about 8 hours worth of work, I have the bay window done, and a lot of the foyer. I'm going to lay the last row in front of the stairs (requires some intricate work with the saw) and then finish up the living room before coming back into the foyer to fill into the front door and toward the kitchen.

It doesn't look like much, but that was 8 hours of back-breaking work. Anyone feel sorry for me? (I didn't think so.)

I need a nap. (How bout some wine! That’ll do.)

June 15, 2010:
Living room done.

I'm tired, and my knees and back are sore, but here's my update. Better than carpet, eh?

June 26, 2010:
Foyer and dining room done.

Here's the foyer being claimed by Ginger. (She is also making sure none of the neighbors enter into HER cul-de-sac.)

Here's the dining room, mostly done. I have one very skinny strip to do under the window, but why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?

“But, Andrew,” you say, “why is there a big hole in the floor?”

Well… [deep breath]

Basically, with the lips that are included on 2 of the four sides of each piece, you have to work from left to right, but you can either lay the next row on top of the existing row (if working from top to bottom), or tuck  the next row under the existing row (if working from bottom to top). This picture is sideways from the description, but basically, I was working from the right side of the picture toward the left side, and when I came to the doorway, I could have run the next row all the way through the kitchen and into the family room, thereby disrupting all activities in those rooms, or devise a plan to jump the doorway and continue into the dining room. The way I’ve left this, I can keep laying floor until the single biggest gap (right in the middle) is the only one left, then, I can slide that one row in from the kitchen, and the only violation of the overlapping and locking seams is that one 4.25″ edge right in the middle of the room. (The pieces will still be overlapping, just not locking. The directions allow this by using a chisel to scrape off the locking part of the overlap, then using wood glue to secure.) We chose the middle of the room for this edge because it will most likely be covered by a rug, and if it ever separates (not likely) you won’t see it.

Also, you can see my patented protect-the-floors-from-the-wood-chewing-dogs apparatus. Also, you can barely see the hideous vinyl tile lookalike that was previously in the kitchen.

I’m tired. Time for a nap.

July 6, 2010:
Working on the hallway and powder room.

I missed an internet update for a nice workday last weekend moving into the hallway, but here’s a picture of both day’s worth of (slight) accomplishment. I finally worked my way down to the storage closet and bathroom doors. These door jam undercuts are pretty tough, and you have to chisel off some of the self-locking parts of the flooring and use wood glue to hold them in place, but it worked outl

I'm getting closer to the dreaded kitchen, but need to finish up the storage closet and powder room first.

After moving into the bathroom (I have to go both into the closet and bathroom at the same time), I realized I would be able to put off tearing out the vanity and toilet until later. I can move into the bathroom, and then back out before getting to the toilet, backfilling both of the skipped areas later, when we’re ready to replace the vanity and tackle the toiled thing. For now, I’ll do what I can and move onward toward the kitchen.

You can see I'll be able to go into the bathroom, then work right, then come back out before getting too close to the toilet.

The next big task is tearing up the carpet and tack strips from the storage closet. That is hard work in a small space. Boo.

August 1, 2010:
I didn’t really update this page much during July (and for that I apologize), but I was working on the floors here and there.

I didn’t get any pictures of me pulling out the carpet and tack strip, or actually laying flooring in the storage closet, but that took me awhile.

Instead of pulling up everything in the kitchen now, I decided to “turn the corner” into the family room, and work upwards toward the wall. This way, I could get a big chunk of room done without interrupting the family using the kitchen on a daily basis.

After pulling up half the carpet and rolling it up into 4′ sections (your welcome, picky garbage person!), I slaved over a crowbar and hammer pulling up the carpet tack strip. Then, I carefully removed the trim, labeled everything so I know where it goes, and cleaned up the concrete floor.

I'm pretty sure the builders painted all of the quarter-round on the concrete floor here. Nice.

After laying down my underlayment, I laid some temporary rows (the ones with the holes in them) for alignment, and then started building up toward the wall.

When I’m ready to connect the kitchen and family room, I will remove the temporary rows and replace them with “real” rows.

This is going to look very nice with the trim done. (Oh, and the rest of the room done.)

Today (Aug 1), I started in on the kitchen. First thing, I turned the corner into the pantry, and then started backfilling the dining room pyramid hole.

After a pretty difficult cut to get around the wall and door jam (had to buy a new tool to cut the door jams properly, wuhoo!), I put some more underlayment down and got the pantry knocked out.

Pantry done.

Then, I turned another corner (I only point this out because these are the hard cuts) and moved into the fridge area.

Fridge area cleaned up.

Fridge area done (enough to put the fridge back). I'll need to pull it out again to put the trim in, but it's good for now.

The next work session will be a big one, I’ll be laying floor all the way into the family room.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that is exciting for everyone. Even you…right?

August 14, 2010:

Well, I finished up a closet and pantry in the last few days, so it is off to Harbor Freight to buy a brad nailer to put up some trim. (We have to get the trim back up before putting stuff back in the closets so the garage can be cleared out enough for the wing kit to arrive.

Here’s the nailer I bought for $20 or so.

Doesn't it just ooze "high quality?" (Please note the sense of foreboding.)

Huh, looks like it should work okay. (More foreboding.)

After shooting about 6 brads, I was thinking to myself, “this thing is pretty nice.”

Two more, then it jammed….doh!

I took it apart, cleared the jam, put it back together, shot two more brads, and it jammed again.

Once again, I have learned my lesson about buying cheap tools. Some tools are fine to buy cheaply (like the 4 adjustable wrenches I got for $10, which are awesome), but something like a brad nailer really needs to be nice quality.

I returned the original unit to Harbor Freight and headed over to the Aviation Department (I mean tool section) of Lowe’s, and picked up this nice Bostitch brad nailer.

Much better.

Alright, so the walls aren't straight, and the trim is showing some gaps. That's what caulk is for! (I am very unhappy with the quality of the trim. I think early next year I will pay someone out to re-trim the whole house.)

This is a really nice, high quality unit. Highly recommended.

September 05, 2010:

So even though I don’t appear to be getting a lot done on the floor, I really am progressing rather nicely. Over the last few weeks, I connected the dining room, kitchen, and hallway into the family room, and almost finished the kitchen.

If you remember from awhile back, I had left a few rows out of the dining room so I could finish the dining room before having to rip up all of the flooring across the length of the house. It’s time to finally fill that hole. I thought it would be easy to just slide a few pieces into the last row, but I was WRONG. Apparently, when the top AND the bottom of a row are locked in, it is pretty impossible to slide them left and right.

I was able to do 1 and a half boards manually before getting stuck. Hmm. What to do?

Can't slide these in any more. Hmm.

Ooh, I have an idea. Let’s use some airplane tools!

This is going to be fun. I have to get 4 of these in here.

It absolutely worked, but it took forever. Here’s a ridiculously oversized video file to help you see how it worked.

Nice, huh?

Looking good.

Okay, then, a few weeks passed, and I was bad with taking pictures. Anyway, I moved around the island, under the oven, and finally started converging on the back door.

Wuhoo, it's coming along!

And after another hour or so…just a few rows left in the kitchen.

Here, it was 5:30, (HALF AN HOUR INTO COCKTAIL HOUR!!!!) and I was being summoned to make drinks. I have all weekend to lay these last few rows. (Next weekend I should be able to finish up the family room.

I can taste the finish line, and it tastes like Rum and Coke…(oh wait…That’s just cocktail hour.)

September 12, 2010:

Wuhoo! Finished the kitchen. Sorry about the pictures, they were taken before the floor was mopped clean, but they still give you an idea of how much they’ve improved the house.

The final kitchen corner done. (The girlfriend was amazing today and took it upon herself to mop all of the floors. They look so good now!)

Then, I decided it was high time for all of you to get a look back at the rest of the kitchen. We used to hate the white cabinets, but with the right paint color, I think they will balance nicely with the granite. (You can see our existing paint color to the far left. The color just left and right of the range is the proposed new color. It will be dark, but it really plays nicely with the granite.) Okay. Now that I’ve said that, you can have one of my man cards.

Starting to look decent.

Now all I need to do is replace the dishwasher and microwave with stainless. Oh wait. I bought a new dishwasher on Labor day.

Real conversation:

Me: {struggling to install new dishwasher…} This is hard work. I thought Labor day was supposed to be relaxing.

Girlfriend: Why do you think they call it “Labor” Day?

Me: {pensively podering}…touché.

Beautiful new dishwasher.

All I have left is half of a family room…and all of the trim.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…

October 23, 2010:

So it’s not like I haven’t been working in the last month or so. I have been busily putting up trim and shoe molding.

Here’s the hallway done.

I like the rug.

Dining room done.

Living room done.

I guess I took another picture of the dining room. Oh well.

Up next, finish trim and shoe molding in the foyer.

November 28, 2010:

Well, over the last couple months, we’ve been putting up trim and shoe molding in all of the rooms. I don’t have any pictures, but we have the dining room, living room, foyer, hallway, and both closets completely done.

Today, the girlfriend is going to paint the trim in the kitchen while I FINALLY get all of the flooring layed. (Except in the powder room, which we are fully renovating…in a few weeks.)

I moved all the furniture off the remaining carpet.

(Last night, while we were drinking amazing wine and eating blue cheese and carmelized onion-topped NY Strips, I kept trying to get the girlfriend to sing that goodbye song ("nah nah, na-na-nah nah, hey hey yo, goodbye") to the carpet. It didn't work.)

After pulling up the carpet and padding, I went to work on the trim and tackstrip.

Fast foward 3 hours, and the rest of the floor is down. Wuhoo!

If you want to know about the white splotch on the wall, ask my dad.

All done! (I’ll put the trim and shoe molding back up in a week or so when we have a chance to sand and paint it, but we’re done!)

Most of the furniture back in the family room.

The only thing that is left now is the powder room and the trim in the family room.

January 02, 2011:

Well, I thought I’d be done by now, but I am pretty darn close. I got the trim and the shoe molding up in the family room, and we’re basically putting the final touches up (still need mirror, hardware, and faucet) in the powder room.

Trim and molding is up in the family, which of those 4 colors to the right is your favorite?

Check out this powder room.

See, still need mirror, new light fixture, and faucet.

This green is totally awesome.

Not much more left…

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5 Responses to First Floor Wood Floors

  1. Emily Zachar says:

    What a project! Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.


  2. Emily says:

    Looks fantastic!

  3. Emily Zachar says:

    I am the only one who ever replies. Looks GREAT. It is 2:24 into cocktail hour here in London, but ALAS I’ve given up alcohol for the month of September (boring medical reason – I’m on an anti-fermentation diet or some such silliness concocted by my British GP). If I were imbibing, however, I’d be toasting your floors. Thank God September has only 30 days.


  4. Andrew says:

    Yikes. No fermentation? That is silliness. My Chinese Dr. told me in July (in heavy Chinese accent) to place an onion…(“I’m sorry. What?”)…yes, an onion, in every room of the house to ward off infections.

    Crazy docs.

  5. MOM says:

    WuHoo! Floors look great. Can I hire you to do a few projects in Florida? Will you bring your special airplane tools?

    Just had a great dinner at Niu. Mangotini. Sorry, Emily. Proud of you though. We’ll be in London Nov 10 to toast with you. Hopefully, Andrew will be done with the floors by then and we can toast him, too.

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