It’s so hard to believe that I broke my one rule for kitchen renovation and design. I installed hardwood flooring — again! The first time was in our old kitchen, where I learned how to install hardwood flooring for the first time. You can read about my first kitchen renovation HERE.
I swore I wanted tile in this kitchen. That is the whole reason I did tile in the adjoining family room, so the two rooms would match. So basically I herringboned for nothing! Don’t get me wrong I love the tile I installed in the family room, but what a pain in the butt! It actually would have been worse to install in the kitchen because of the uneven, less than sturdy, plywood subfloor. I just wasn’t willing to get into that. Plus, hardwood floors would look so much better because they would flow beautifully with the dining room and entrance hall, which literally connect to the kitchen.
Check out this before shot from shortly after we moved in 7 years ago. Wow, time sure does fly!
The pic below is the same area, but from the other angel. This is the entrance to the kitchen from the hallway. The bottom 3 pieces of wood are in the hallway and were installed before we moved in. Of course they weren’t installed to my satisfaction, but that’s another story. I was able to hunt down more of the Bruce Saddle Oak hardwood floor at a nearby Home Depot. Thank goodness I didn’t put off doing this floor any longer, because sometime after I finished using this same flooring in the upstairs hallway (post HERE) my local Home Depot stopped carrying it. I was told that Bruce/Armstrong stopped making this color. Of course they did. Except apparently today there are 31 cases at my local store. What the heck???
How to Install Hardwood Flooring Yourself — In a Nutshell
- Secure the plywood subfloor — jump around and find squeaky spots, mark them, then go back and screw nice long screws in each spot
- Layout hardwood planks to get a feel for your layout. Then pick all the planks back up.
- Figure out any trouble spots — floor vents, entryways, built-in furniture, stairs, etc
- Organize the hardwood — I open a bunch of boxes, then group boards by length. This makes it sooooo much easier to find just the right size piece of wood!!
- Clean floor and layout felt paper — repeat this step every time you have to come back the next day and “finish up”
- Layout 3-5 rows at a time and MIND THE SEAMS! The biggest mistake in installing hardwood flooring is not staggering the seams properly. Seams should be a good 6″ apart when possible and that doesn’t just mean only on the next row, but for a few rows. So the seam in row #1 should not be near a seam in row #2, #3 or maybe even row #4. Make it happen!
- Install one row at a time — start in a corner, cut the far corner to fit
How I Actually Installed Hardwood Flooring in my Kitchen
Anyway, I always like to lay out the planks of flooring to see if I’m going to end of with a little sliver at one end. In this case, the transition from the hallway to the kitchen had higher priority than the other end of the floor, which was in front of the french doors. The hallway was definitely more visible and needed a full width piece of flooring. The only thing I did for a “transition” was remove two pieces of the existing flooring and replace them with new pieces. Boom.
To the right of the entrance is going to be a wall of cabinets. I decided NOT to put the hardwood under the cabinets because I thought it would be cheaper and easier to use plywood instead. My Bruce flooring is 3/4″, so it was easy to use 3/4″ plywood. The plywood gave me a nice, even, level surface and was easy to screw into place. If you’ve ever installed hardwood you know the first few rows are a pain in the butt because the nailer doesn’t fit between the wall and the floor. The plywood solved this issue and I am glad I went with this option.
The hardest part about getting the floor started was moving everything out of the way. Hubby was on a business trip when I did the hardwood floor install (doesn’t that always seem to be the case!?!) and it was kind of a stretch for me to move everything myself… but where there’s a will, there’s a way. You’ll notice the Keurig was the last thing to be moved.
And then there was this beast.Rolling it over the plywood wasn’t so bad, which is I guess why I just moved it to the other side of the kitchen instead of moving it toward the front door. The bad news is that I eventually had to move it all the way across my newly installed kitchen floor to get it out of there before I could finish the job. Doh!
The other bad news, was that I had to stop and figure out how to disconnect the water line from the fridge. It wasn’t too hard, as there was a shutoff valve in the basement. The real bummer here was that our refrigerator provided the only running water in our kitchen. For months. And I just turned it off. Sigh.
I had to make room for this glorious plywood. You can see I had to cut around the crazy HVAC. This will be covered by the toe kick area of our cabinets. I ordered cabinets without a toe kick and built my own platform, so this was not an issue. Crazy that there was already a recess for the refrigerator to be pushed back… it was not used effectively in the previous kitchen setup. I was planning to build my own recess, so I could get a full depth refrigerator but have a counter depth look. Yeah baby!
One of the many other issues I had to plan around was the step down into the family room. (Find all the family room renovation posts HERE) I planned to use the same bullnose I used when I installed the hardwood in the upstairs hallway (read about that HERE), but it had to be ordered from Home Depot online. I was totally bummed all over again that it cost $75! Anyway, I had a small piece of bullnose left so I used that to figure out how much room I needed to leave to the bullnose.
I trimmed back the existing jagged overhang.
And attached this piece of wood as a guide so I knew how far over to run the hardwood planks.
The install worked flawlessly… But when the bullnose came it did not fit perfectly up against the wood. There must have been too much flex in the piece of wood I used as a guide. We live with it though. Anything I can think to do to fix it will just make it look worse. Whatever.
I bought my pneumatic floor nailer to do the upstairs hallway and it was a smart investment. Home Depot online for $120 is way better than renting one. If you know me at all, you know that I work on projects a little here and a little there. Renting and I wouldn’t get along. Spend the $120 if you’re anything like me! (When I put hardwood in my last kitchen I used this floor stapler because the boards were narrow and thin, definitely less than 3/4″)
So la-dee-dah I’m installing the floor. My guide is working by the step, the plywood is genius as a place to store crap while I work, the fridge is moved.
And then we hit the dining room side of the kitchen. The side that already has this same hardwood flooring. And unfortunately for me — the planks are not going to line up. What’s a girl to do???
So I decided to add a perpendicular piece of wood as a transition. But because the wall there is so freaking thick, 10″ I think, I decided it would look better with a double wide transition. So I added two perpendicular pieces side by side. First I had to clean up the edge of the existing wood. I HATE TRANSITION MOLDING! So using any type of T-connector was out of the question.
Not too shabby, huh? Then it was back to business.
The guide for the bullnose piece (which still had not arrived) worked well enough.
I was able to remove it and test fit the small piece I already had.
Then it was more flooring. After I passed the step area, I switched gears and started each row on the left side of the room. This meant the last piece would be installed under the half wall cabinets, which was easy because I could run the hardwood under the cabinet and not even have to worry about cutting it. What I did need to worry about was moving the damn refrigerator. My friend Melissa loaned me a dolly, which was a lifesaver, because I couldn’t get the damn wheels to adjust enough to just roll it out.There is a floor vent under the piece of plywood seen below. It took me a few months to move the vent. I wish I were joking. So we got used to that plywood. This is as far as I got before our annual Halloween/birthday party for my daughter. The year before I was struggling to get the herringbone tile finished in the family room (read that post HERE). Needless to say my friends are not surprised to walk in and see a half finished floor.
We did manage to get the new fridge in before the party. And I must say it was nice to have running water in the kitchen again. Even if that was only through the refrigerator door. In case you’re wondering, this is the Samsung 27.8 cu. ft. Food Showcase French Door Refrigerator in Stainless Steel (#RF28HDEDBSR). And for the love of Pete it was nice to finally get this thing out of our dining room and actually installed in the kitchen. It only took 11 months from the time we first ordered it.
And it sat like this for a few weeks before I finally finished. I’ll talk to you about how hubby and I moved the floor vent away from in front of the door and over to the wall. Yes, I actually let him help me. Lol
In between posts you can keep up with me here:
Read all about the kitchen remodel by clicking on the boxes below: