Remember a few months ago when I hauled in the hardwood flooring to save it from the nasty weather? Well, for a couple of weeks it sat in the upstairs bedroom to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of our house. This is a very necessary step…if you skip it your hard work installing the floor could all be ruined by buckling as the wood expands and contracts.
While the flooring was acclimating, we had plenty to do in the bedrooms. Dylan tore out all of the old carpet and padding. We left the linoleum tiles for a few reasons. It would have taken a lot of time to remove the tiles, given us a lot more waste, and most importantly, could have exposed us to asbestos. By leaving them undisturbed, we avoided letting asbestos get airborne, which is when it becomes a hazard.
Dylan took a Friday off work and spent the day finishing preparing the rooms for installation. He removed all of the baseboard and used our multitool to cut all of the door casings so we could slide the flooring underneath them. We could have done even more before installing if we had time, just to make it a bit easier later (like filling and sanding holes, painting the ceiling and walls, etc.), but the installation weekend was upon us before we knew it.
Here’s a shot of the future master bedroom from the door, all prepped and ready to go.
Don’t you just love the floral curtains in the above picture? We decided to keep them. Kidding!
Here’s a view looking back toward the door, where you can see all the way into the other bedroom.
As was recommended on multiple websites, we opened up our boxes of wood and stacked them as pictured below. Some people said just to open the end of each box to let air in, but others said that opening the boxes and stacking them ensured that they would fully acclimate. After spending big bucks on this floor and installing it ourselves, we weren’t taking any chances that the floor would buckle!
Finally after all of this prep work, we nailed in the first piece at 5 pm on a Friday. It’s really important that the first row be perfect, since everything else builds off of that row. The first two or three rows took the longest, but before long we were moving along at a good pace.
The first true test was when we got to the dormer window…we were nervous to see if our rows were perfectly parallel to the dormer wall. And they were! Phew.
See our miter saw on the sawhorse table? Totally worth it. Last time we installed hardwood flooring we just left it on the ground. Trust me when I say that after all of the crouching and kneeling you’ll do, you definitely don’t want to do that when you’re cutting your flooring too. Also? A nice quality miter saw is a major plus, especially one with a laser. We got this miter saw last fall, and a nice miter saw is on my top three tools list (along with our circular saw and assortment of drills).
By 10:30 that night, we were most of the way across the room.
The next morning we started bright (or something) and early, hoping to finish the rest of the flooring that day, since the baby was spending the day at Grandma’s house. It wasn’t going very quickly, because we had a lot of cuts, a closet, a doorway, then the hall.
Then we ran into this part. We hadn’t really thought about what we would do with the top of the stairs, which took a couple of hours and a quick trip to Lowes to pick up a new oak stair tread.
Because the new flooring was higher than the old carpeting, we needed to raise the top tread a bit. Fortunately, a piece of 1/4″ plywood was perfect.
After carefully cutting the tread to size (and using the multitool to hack up the baseboard at the top of the steps so we could slide the tread in place), we were finally ready to go! We secured it with some liquid nails underneath and a few nails from above. Later we’ll use some sawdust from the tread mixed with a bit of wood glue as wood filler, sand it, and stain it to match the flooring.
Once we got through the tiny landing area and into the next bedroom, we were really moving. Dylan’s parents came that day and between Dylan’s dad, Dylan, and I, we cranked out the second bedroom. We did the second bedroom in only about four hours, with Jules’ bedtime looming over our heads.
I can’t believe we actually got it all done! From start to finish, it took 27 hours, working for about 19 of those.
Totally worth it though. The floor feels so solid and looks great! Well, it looks great when it’s clean anyway. 🙂
Here’s a look into the future just so you can see how pretty the floor looks when it’s clean.
Seriously, I love these floors. This post is getting a bit lengthy, so I think I’ll save the “whys” and “hows” of our hardwood flooring adventure for another post. Stay tuned!