There are a bunch of special days to celebrate in March… My birthday was March 2, which happens to also be Dr. Seuss’s birthday. There’s St. Patrick’s Day, which apparently was a big let down for my daughter because I didn’t put out a leprechaun trap. [Really? There’s another holiday now where we have to make sh*t up and lie to our kids? I don’t do Elf on a Shelf either. Go ahead, feel badly for my kids. It’s okay.] And my son’s birthday is also in March. We’re having a pool party this year. At the gym. We don’t have a pool. Plus it’s snowing in New Jersey today. Happy first day of spring. Or as my daughter puts it — How are we going to celebrate Spring Begins? For the love. Moving on. Do you know what my favorite day in March is???? I bet you do… It’s bulk trash day! Third Friday of the month! And guess what — it’s today!! It’s better than a birthday!
And for once in my life I had everything out on the street before I went to bed. Well almost everything. The trash guys were so fast I didn’t even get to snap a picture and show off to you lovely people how much crap I got out there last night. I had to hold myself back from tearing out the carpet in my bedroom. Partly because I have no time to put hardwood in there right now. Partly because I couldn’t get to my floor if I wanted to. There’s too much junk in there that’s misplaced from other rooms under construction. So what did I put out for bulk trash? A bunch of stuff from the garage I had thrown up against the garage door in a fit last week when I realized at 6:30am that the Verizon guy was coming in an hour and our Fios box was buried behind heaps of junk in the back corner of our garage. Yes we actually switched back to cable. And yes I threatened my husband bodily harm for not clearing a path to the box.
The other half of the stuff on the curb was from my kitchen. I decided to do it right this year, and instead of demoing the kitchen on a Friday night (tonight) and missing bulk trash day by one day, I was smart enough to do it Thursday night instead. I’ll have to give you an update on the kitchen soon. For now I want to talk about a project that resulted from bulk trash day last March. If you recall, I tore out the carpet in my daughter’s room the morning of bulk trash day (because I usually forget!) and while I was at it, I tore out the carpet in the upstairs hallway too. Well I replaced the carpet in my daughter’s room within days. No really I did. But the poor hallway sat in its plywood state for months. And months.
Installing the hardwood floor in the hallway wasn’t too bad, but it was kind of a PITA. A hallway is only so wide, duh, and you can’t use the floor nailer for first few rows of wood and you can’t use it for the last few rows. See where this is going? I also had to contend with transitioning into 5 rooms, 3 of them are my kids rooms which I carpeted last year. There are also 2 closets, but no transition was needed because the wood continued inside those. The toughest issue is the spindles. And I say is because I still have not conquered that one. Anyway, there were 7 door frames to deal with and they all had to be undercut in order for the 3/4″ hardwood to fit under. I used my Ryobi multi-tool to cut the molding and it wasn’t a big deal. The
annoying funny part is that I ended up tearing out the door casings after I installed the floor. Whatever.
Before I could start nailing down the hardwood I had to lay down the underlayment. I used inexpensive roofers felt as my underlayment. It was $18.50 for a 432 ft roll, so there is plenty left for the master bedroom. I stapled it down with my pneumatic stapler. The underlayment part was easy, but the roll was wicked heavy so I had hubby carry it to the garage when I was finished. Who am I kidding?? It’s in our bedroom. But he did carry it there.
It was finally time to get started on the wood! I used Bruce Saddle Oak because that was what was in our downstairs when we moved in. The online price says $3.99 / sq. ft. but I paid $1.89 at the store! If you can make sense of it (and you care) this is the order I installed the floor. I’m not saying I had this system planned out ahead of time, this is actually how it went down. Hehe.
1) The bullnose piece at the top of the stairs was actually the same piece of wood that had been under the carpet. I removed it, cleaned it up and stained it with the same stain I used on the staircase. Before I could reinstall it I had to build up the area beneath it because it used to sit flush with the plywood and now I need it to sit flush with the hardwood which is 3/4″ higher.
2) I pride myself on my smooth transitions. I hate connectors, reducers and thresholds when they’re not absolutely necessary. Instead I simply used a piece of the hardwood and turned it perpendicular to the direction the floor would run. I wanted to butt the ends up against this “threshold” piece so I had to put it in first. All the other doorways will run parallel to the floor boards.
3 & 4) The first row started in the upper left hand corner of the hallway and I worked left-to-right until I hit the far wall. I had to use my brad nailer to secure the boards until I cleared the small closet, then I switched to the floor nailer. I chose to start in the spot and with a full width piece of wood because it worked out perfectly for where it would meet the spindles on the side of my stair case. (The spindle situation will be a whole nother post!)
I already owned all the other tools I used for this project, except for the Freeman 3-in-1 floor nailer, which I bought for this specifically. It was $159 from Home Depot online and I chose to buy instead of rent because, let’s face it, I don’t complete my projects in a timely manner. I also knew I wanted to use the same hardwood in my bedroom. The Freeman nailer worked very well. I strongly recommend wearing ear protection (a step I often forget) because this thing packs a wallop. I have installed hardwood flooring before, I used it in the kitchen in my last house, but that wood was a lot thinner and I used a floor stapler instead of a nailer. There was no mallet involved which was a little sad. Let me know if you ever need to borrow either of them. 😉 It jammed only once at that was at the very beginning. Here’s me trying to figure out how to get it un-jammed.
6) This is the kind of predicament where I stop and wonder what a professional would do. And then I do it my way anyway. My hallway expands in the opposite direction to how my floor is being installed. In my diagram the hallway expands up toward the bathroom, but I should be installing the floor down toward my bedroom. It matters because the tongue side of the floor is facing away from the direction in which I need to add boards. Not sure if that makes sense. The solution was to add rows of wood behind the ones I already installed. Instead of using the floor nailer, which is shot into the tongue side of the wood, I had to use the brad nailer and shoot into the bottom groove on the exposed side of the wood. It worked, but I’m thinking a pro would have started in that bathroom corner and always work forward. Whatever.I used the nailer whenever I could, even if it was just on the end of the wood. Here I’m holding the wood in place with my foot.
7) I had hubby do this part because no one would ever see the wood on the bottom of this tiny linen closet. Lol. Of course he had to use the brad nailer because there surely wasn’t room for the floor nailer in there!
8) I told you I am very particular about my transitions… Well here is the only other spot where the floor boards will run into a perpendicular piece of wood, this time it’s the bullnose at the top of the stairs from step 1. Luckily I was able to change the direction I installed the boards. I now started each row against the bullnose piece and worked right-to-left, which meant the pieces ran into a large closet. The reason I like to start up against the perpendicular piece is because it’s much easier to get a nice tight fit. I don’t have to worry about rough edges this way either or making exact cuts.This is the closet. It will be getting a bit of a makeover too. I can’t wait to get the stuff out of my bedroom and back in that closet!
And there you have it. It’s all finished EXCEPT for the pieces directly under the spindles. That still isn’t finished…
So I owe you posts on:
- The kitchen demo and new design
- How I handled the hardwood under the spindles
- The closet makeover
- Replacing door casings upstairs
- New board and batten treatment in the upstairs hallway