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The Hardwood Floors, during

May 12, 2014

Last Thursday I blogged the first of three posts about our hardwood floors – the before. Today is all about the during! Images in this post were taken with both my camera & my phone. I kind of just grabbed whatever was closest at the time 🙂

The first step was to pull up the carpet, carpet pad, carpet nail strips, and staples. You can imagine that was a tedious task. Don’t let the images foul you… there isn’t one step of this project that wasn’t tedious! Which could explain why it took us two months from start to finish! Underneath the carpet we found particle board in the living room and hallway and old brick patterned laminate roll out “tile” in the dining room.


Yes, Neil created a make shift TV shelf so that we could still record our TV shows during the whole process! It definitely came in handy… we watched TV while we worked and that made the work not seem so… tedious!


Did you know you shouldn’t lay hardwood over particle board? You can’t. So we pulled up the particle board and found several broken/rotten planks of solid wood sub flooring. I’m surprise this 45 year old house didn’t have more than that! Easy fix! We replaced those boards but very carefully – there was a possibility that the laminate flooring had asbestos! A week after sending a piece to analyzed, the results were negative! Yay!


Under the particle board and laminate was tar paper, which was falling a part. Again, 45 year old house people. We puled that up, ripped off the baseboards, and cleaned cleaned cleaned.



Next was the (first) tricky part… instead of purchasing engineered hardwood or paying someone to install unfinished hardwood, we decided we would MAKE our own! Yea, we’re crazy and genius like that 😉 Introducing high grade plywood! I was incredible meticulous in choosing a 3/4 inch thick plywood with a grain that I loved. We cut the sheets into 6 inch planks because it’s what I’ve always dreamt about! Our garage is still a mess from the project!


My favorite part is up next! Nailing the planks down with a nail gun! I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did!


We used hardwood spacers between the planks and walls and a line of wood nails between the planks themselves. This was a personal choice, btw. I’ve seen some tutorials that used a larger spacer and some that didn’t space them at all. I’m very happy with my decision – I think it adds a little country and age to them.


Half way done with the living room…. It’s so beautiful!!




Believe it or not, the easiest part was sanding! We closed up the kitchen and the bedrooms and rented a vacuum sander. Took about an hour to sand the whole floor and we only had to sand twice! Once before we wood puttied (where it was needed) and once after.


We vacuumed and damp mopped the floor after sanding the second time – this is important!


This was the part we disliked most: staining! In order to get a consistent stain, only one person could stain at a time. And it took forever! Luckily, I’d picked a stain that was the color I wanted with just one coat!


I started, Neil gave me a break, and I finished the next morning.


The stain can suggested we wait 12 hours before applying polyurethane… we applied three thin coats…


And then sanded with finishing blocks.


Part of the floor was sanded with a dry wall sanding poll and finishing sand paper. BAD IDEA. Don’t do it, no matter how tired you get of sanding on your hands and knees!


This is what will happen! The sand paper and pole do not bend or give or flex at all so any minor rises in the wood will have the stain sanded right off! We caught it in time and I added the stain back with a q-tip but it could have been a big mess.


We vacuumed, damp mopped, and scrubbed the dust out of every single nail hole (with a tooth brush and water no doubt! What can I say, we’re dedicated!!!) before applying a fourth thin coat of poly. It still wasn’t where I wanted it. Perfectionist, I know. So we did one last thick coat and allowed it to dry for a full 7 days before we moved furniture onto it. Here’s a sneak peek of the after, which I’ll be blogging soon!