That’s right, we finally moved in!
I’ve grown to hate moving, not because I’ve had a particularly bad moving experience, but because I’ve done it almost every year for the last eight years. However, I am happy to report that this was by far the easiest move I have ever done, not to mention hopefully the last for a while. I’m guessing most of it has to do with the fact that we have amazing friends who volunteered their time, strength, and large vehicles to help us. We had 11 people, 3 trucks, a suburban, and a large car, and we moved everything in three hours!
However, enough about the move. Let’s rewind about six weeks, when we had just finished the drywall and painting.
The next project on our list was one that both Steve and I were pretty excited and nervous about…installing hardwood floors! We were excited because it was really going to start pulling things together, but nervous because neither of us had ever actually installed hardwood floors before. After watching countless hours of HGTV and a few YouTube videos, we figured it couldn’t be too hard, and we jumped right in.
The first thing we had to do was make sure the floors were really clean and level. You don’t want dust or other debris under the floor because they will cause your floors to squeak in the future, and the same is true for uneven floors.
Before we could start putting the floors down, we had to put down a vapor barrier to protect the floors from moisture. It reminded me a lot of putting tar paper on a roof. You simply roll it out and staple it down to the floor.
A big concern when installing hardwood floors is making sure that your boards run straight. It was an even bigger concern for us given that we were going to lay almost thirty feet of flooring. If we started going crooked in the beginning, you can only imagine how much the crookedness would be magnified by the end.
To ensure a straight start, we measured a board’s width (plus a little bit for an expansion gap) away from the wall at both corners of the room and snapped a chalk line. This was going to be our starting line.
However, it wasn’t just as simple as lining up our first board on the line and nailing it in. We had to do a little bit of back tracking because we had to put floors down in the doorway near our new sliding door. We lined up boards on our chalk line and worked backwards, measuring and cutting the boards that would fit in the doorway. After we did a dry fit to guarantee everything fit the way we wanted it to, it was time to nail them down.
Steve was looking forward to the nailing part of the floors because it involved playing with a bunch of different air nailers. You know what they say about boys and their toys! The primary nail gun we were going to use looked like this:
It is specially designed for nailing hardwood floors. It fits right in the tongue of the floorboard so the nail shoots diagonally into the floor in just the right place. It also has a handle that allows you to stand while nailing, instead of getting up and down off the floor a million times. To activate the gun, you simply hit the designated button with a mallet and BOOM, you have a nail.
This nail gun was an absolute miracle. I’m not sure how they used to install hardwood floors before they were invented! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use it near the walls. Instead, we had to use a smaller nail gun and put a nail through the top of the floors, commonly known as face nailing. After we finish all of the floors, (Spoiler alert: We haven’t actually finished all of the floors in the house…but we have finished most of them) we are going to go back and fill all these little holes in with wood filler and stain them the same color as the floor.
The first few rows were the most tedious, both because we wanted to ensure we started straight and we were still learning how to do it.
However, once we figured out our rhythm, there was no stopping us.
By the end of the weekend, we had about two-thirds of the main floor finished. It wasn’t quite as far as we’d hoped to get, seeings as my dad was coming the following weekend to help us install the kitchen cabinets, but it was far enough that we could finish the floors and have enough time to install the cabinets while my dad was in town.
All in all, our first flooring adventure was a success. It is definitely a very physically demanding job; when I woke up on Monday morning, my legs were very sore from getting up and down off the floor so many times.
Steve and I have a pretty good system down, and the few floors we have left will be a breeze.
Until our next renovation update,