Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Enless Supply of Flooring Stories

Looking over 2011, I only made one entry for the entire year. Considering how the year went, that's not a big surprise, but I have a lot to say, so I hope 2012 is the year of more writing.

To start the year off, I have been finishing up projects that I had started when I worked in Seattle, but could never find the time to complete. For a person like me, stacks of hardwood flooring and unused lumber that haven't been made into what I bought them for is depressing.

I guess I should say that it started a little before the end of 2011 to be exact. We moved all of the furniture out of our master bedroom and into the living room, but my grandmother passed away a day later. Since I co-signed on her condo, I was now the defacto owner and had to clean out all of her belongings, make repairs and find a renter before working on my home projects. So we lived in our living room for a month, but it is done now.

This is our bedroom closet:

This is our Master Bedroom with the finished floors:

The flooring in the bedrooms is a prefinished Birch hardwood, 3/4" thickness with 3&1/4" width. The grain on birch is much more intricate than Oak, which is the standard hard wood for flooring.

We waited until the holidays were over before starting the next room, the family room, which is on the opposite side of the house. This gave me time to find a great deal on a used flooring nailer. Up to this point I had been using my standard 16 gauge finish nailer. A standard finish nailer will secure the floors, but the straight, un-barbed nails are more likely to allow movement which generates sqeaking. Flooring nails are barbed with a big L top, and the flooring nailer attaches them with more than 11lbs of force, where my standard finish nailer generated a little over 3lbs of force. I avoided getting a flooring nailer for a long time because of the cost, but if I could go back and do it over, I would reconsider.

Lucky for me, the used flooring nailer cost me half the price of a new one and works just as well (air tools are awesome because they never wear out). The flooring on the other hand, I had purchased in the spring of 2011, I was just too busy to install it. The family room flooring is a 1/2" oak with a cherry stain. I didn't notice any significant difference installing the 1/2" instead of the 3/4" but theoretically it has probably shaved two or three decades of life expectancy off of the floors (oh darn). I don't think we'll be in this house, or possibly even alive by the time that becomes a problem, so I won't let it bother me.

This is a picture of the bar area adjacent to the family room just after I had finished installing new linoleum tiles the week that Coughlin was born:

Those tiles looked very nice for about a year and a half, but started peeling up shortly after that. I had re-attached many with ahesive, but always knew that they were a short-term solution. I had more than enough hardwood to include the bar area, so there was no question about it. I had to tear up an added layer of particle board to get to the sub floor, but that just made the removal of the linoleum easier.

I would only recommend using linoleum tiles if you are attaching them as a layer over an existing vinyl floor since (even though they are supposedly designed for this) they don't stay attached to primed particle board at all.

Here is the re-re-finished bar area flooring with the new hardwood:

I've been juggling a lot of projects and events, so I didn't get any pictures of this room before we moved back into it, but here is the finished family room with our stuff in it:

The only room left that needs hardwood is now the living room and dining area, which will require about 550 square feet of flooring to finish. All I have to do is find a deal on some pre-finished hardwood that I like and I will be finished with this nasty old carpet for good.

As a side note, a local flooring contractor installed new sheet vinyl in the kitchen and bathrooms for less than I would pay to buy new floors and install it myself, so once I finish the living room and our laundry room we will have new floors house-wide.

More to come I'm sure...

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