November 30, 2009

Dining Room Floor: Getting There!

The hardwood floor is down. I can't believe we've finally gotten to this point!

Here are a few photos of the process:

Getting started on the hardwood floor.We put down tongue and groove oak, 3.25 inches wide (real width), 3/4 inch thick. The first course was face-nailed next to the baseboard where the nails will be covered with quarter-round trim. This meant holes had to be drilled and the nails hammered by hand. The string served as a guide to get the first couple of rows in evenly. After that we just kept going. We did pretty well because the difference was only 1/8 inch off by the time we got to the other side of the room.

Pneumatic flooring nailer in actionWe rented a pneumatic nailer for this job. It is hooked up to an air compressor, but the nails are popped in manually with a mallet. One side of the mallet is used to tap the board into place (as above), the other is used to hit the "trigger."

Nailer nailsI've never helped put down an hardwood floor before, so I was surprised at the nails used (photo left). They are shot into the tongue of each row and so are hidden by the groove of the adjacent row of boards.

Woe is Rascal
Our snoopervisor was not at all happy with all the noise (compressor roaring and nailer popping loudly). After complaining about it to no avail, he eventually consoled himself with a nice long super-sound sleep.

It was slow going at first, but eventually we developed a rhythm. I set the succeeding rows in place while Dan nailed. Since I had pre-laid the floor, very little sawing was necessary and it went fairly quickly.

Making progress
Coming through the doorway to the hallThe doorway between the dining room and hall once had a door, but it was gone before we got here. We plan to leave it open, so no threshold is necessary here.

It ended up taking us two days to do the dining room and front portion of the hall.

Finished dining roomThe blue ribbon dangling from the dining room light, BTW, was put there by Dan because I kept hitting my head on it when I was laying out the floor. I thought is was a silly idea, but I never hit my head on it again, so it worked!

A view of both dining room & hallwayStill to do:
  • sanding
  • staining
  • finishing with polyurethane
  • refinishing the French and swinging kitchen doors
  • painting and remounting the built-in corner hutch doors
  • finishing the baseboard trim
  • new thresholds between living room/dining room & living room/hallway
As you can see, we have a way to go before we can declare it "done!" Hopefully we can do the sanding and staining next weekend.

Dining Room Floor: Getting There! photos & text copyright 


Benita said...

So, which are more sore, your knees or your back?

Our cat, Neil, complained about all the noise, too, when we put the hardwood floor in my studio this past summer, then he just hid.

Looks great!! What color are you staining it?

Woolly Bits said...

I am just glad we don't have any noisy renovations just now - as the occasionally visiting cat seems to have moved in permanently! are you really going to varnish the timber? I did that once and I just hated the smell:(( over here, we polished all the timber floors with beeswax - no ugly smells and when scratches appear, we'll just sand and re-polish.

Leigh said...

Benita, actually neither :) I think Dan is the one with the sore back as he did all the bending over and nailing.

Bettina, we're going to finish the floor with polyurethane rather than varnish. It's a standard finish for hardwood floors over here and has pretty much replaced varnish as a floor finish. We haven't researched these yet, but I know that the water based urethanes have a mild odor, but I suppose a lot of that is highly subjective!

Julie said...

Its to bad you don't live closer. We have a nail gun for wood floor. I love using it and thought it was great fun!
Your floor looks so good I love the oak!

Renee Nefe said...

It looks great!

I'm glad to see that although your snoopervisor didn't approve of the noise, he seems to approve of the new floor...or is he just checking it for mistakes. ;o)

Theresa said...

Lovely Leigh, looks great.
Water based poly, still stinks. Around about the second coat you will understand why prefinished flooring is so popular. :-) But like all things that require lots of sweat and work, you will be happy you did it yourselves. They have special mop rollers and handles that make it easier. Don't do your coats on a wet day and make sure the room can be heated so your coats cure well. Good luck with Snooper management!

Dorothy said...

Beautiful floor!

We've just had a load of wood delivered for our new kitchen floor ;)

Your snoopervisor is more efficient than ours, Pheobe only inspects when everything is finished and quiet. (Annie doesn't snoopervise, that's a Top Cat job.)

p.s. just for Rascal, I got Phoebe to pose with my spinning wheel ;)


Looks great! I know its not finished but what a difference. I hope you have a mini-vacation planned after all this work you both deserve it.

Robin said...

Oh, PRETTY! Isn't it just the best feeling completing a big task. Once you finish up with the other things you need to do with it, it will be time to break out the bubbly. I always find myself after doing something big just going in and staring at whatever it was. Like I can't believe how good it looks and have to remake sure it looks that awesome. :D

Leigh said...

Julie, I wish you'd lived closer too. As it was we rented that plus the compressor over the weekend so it was a little pricey. Still beat doing it by hand though.

Renee, our Snoopervisor is fortunately very tolerant of mistakes. Unless they affect Himself!

Theresa, we're in the process of researching finishes. I think the one thing I have "against" the oil based urethanes is that they yellow with age. I'd like to keep the color we choose for the stain! I understand the water based ones are more expensive, but have faster drying time. Dan is more familiar with finishes than I am, so I'll trust his judgment in the end.

Dorothy, that's so exciting! What kind did you get? I hope it doesn't sit around your house for four months like ours did. :)

Deep End, actually we're already planning the next project!

Robin, I know what you mean! Even though it isn't finished I just love looking at it. It's a relief to have this much done.

bspinner said...

Your floors are beautiful!!!! We did our kitchen and dinning area. Ok I take that back we had them installed and love them. We're were torn between the laminated type or real and so happy we chose the real wood floors. Add so much warmth to a room.

Leigh said...

Thanks Barb. For awhile I thought we'd end up with laminate floors too, because they are more affordable than real hardwood. It was a real blessing to get a good deal like we did. I can hardly wait to get them finished and get my dining room furniture in there!

Sharon said...

Boy do I wish I had an nth of the skills that you two possess. And the projects just keep coming!

Woody said...

Looks great!

Michelle said...

Hi Leigh,
I just started following your blog,and I love it. I had a question about your wood flooring. How much did it cost and where did you buy it from? At Lowes, the wood flooring from what I saw were already finished, so I thought it would be cheaper to buy it unfinished.

Leigh said...

Hello Michelle and welcome! We found the flooring on Craigslist, from a local man who sold and installed flooring. If I'm remembering and calculating correctly, we got it for about $1.79 per square foot, delivered. We looked at Lowes too, but they were higher. At the time, they did have unfinished hardwood flooring, though they only had 2.5 inch width and we got 3.5.

Of course you have to take into account having to finish the floor: the cost of stain and finish, plus renting a sander unless you have access to one. Plus the time. We finished ours in winter too, so it took forever to dry. We can look back now and laugh, but it was trying at the time. :) I hope that helps. We are really happy with ours now.