March 26, 2012

New Kitchen Floor

We made progress last week on the kitchen floor. Whew.

Preparing to cut boards to fit around the wood cookstove hearth

Previously, I told you about the problems we had with the original hardwood floor, and how we were dealing with some of those. The old floor became our subfloor because previously, there wasn't one.

We put the vapor barrier down as we went. I was glad to cover all those cracks between the old floor boards. We used leftover asphalt roofing shingles as shims (above), to level individual boards that needed it.

The boards are 9 inch wide Southern yellow pine planks. It's #2 grade, which means lots of knots. Perfect for a rustic looking kitchen floor.

This is the second wood floor we've installed (1st one was in the dining room), but we had problems with this one that we didn't have with the first. One, was that the boards weren't all the same width, varying by a quarter of an inch. Those we were able to use where we only needed one board's length. More significantly, the ends of nearly all the boards weren't square. The time we saved by not having as many boards to nail, was lost because we had to check and then trim almost every one.

The most challenging area was the wood cookstove hearth, because of it's not-square shape....

The good news is, the wood cookstove hearth and new floor are even! No worry about tripping over it.

Any gaps (both around the hearth and elsewhere) as well as knotholes, will be filled in with wood filler. Dan secured the hearth border with countersunk screws. The holes were later filled in with half inch dowels to look like trunnels. Trunnels are tree nails, i.e. old fashioned wood nails, or, dowels. We did the same at the ends of all the planks....

Face nailing with cut nails is a traditional way of securing plank floors. We were concerned about nails potentially working their way out (even though cut nails rarely do that), so Dan opted to countersink screws and fill with dowel as he did around the hearth. Even though they are tongue & groove and therefore blind nailed, this stiffened up the "give" in the floor from the wider planks. We like the look this gives the floor.

Here's what it looks like so far. One view...

Cat approved

.... and another.....

It feels wonderful underfoot and the whole kitchen seems so much cleaner and secure. Of course, we made lots of dust in the process, so that's somewhat of an illusion.

There's still a lot of work ahead of us. We need to fill knots and gaps, sand, stain, and finish. Then there are the thresholds and baseboards. After that we can install base cabinets! And do the plumbing! Yay!

I do have one resource to recommend, a Taunton Press DVD with Don Bollinger, Laying Hardwood Floors. We borrowed it from our county library, and found it to be excellent. There is a companion to that one, Sanding and Finishing Hardwood Floors, which is equally good.

Hopefully this is the last hardwood floor we'll have to install. It's been fun, but laying hardwood floors is definitely not our calling. :)

Next: Choosing & applying the stain


  1. They look great, you all are doing a wonderful job remodeling!

  2. You did an awesome job! I love hardwood floors. THanks for sharing.

  3. What a project to undertake! We just did laminate wood floors here and I thought THAT was hard...

    Your floor looks amazing. Isn't it wonderful to have something that looks good and feels good to walk on? I'm so glad the cat approves. :)

  4. How's Dan's back? It was a loathsome job here, but then again we had the whole house to do. Your floor looks wonderful. I love the light colored pine. When we have to refinish our floors I want to bring them down to a much lighter shade.

  5. Outstanding job. It looks wonderful even at this point. Every step completed makes you want to do cartwheels, doesn't it???

    Thanks for sharing. Watch the cat, fresh wood and cat claws = outdoor kitty..;)

  6. It's absolutely gorgeous! Great job to both of you. You are going to have this house looking like your true home in no time at this rate:)

  7. Beautiful! Can't wait to see the finished floor. And can't wait to show DH your progress so I can "guilt" him into finally starting OUR wood floor!

  8. Interesting that you had to do so much trimming and the ends weren't square. Is that normal or did LLiqdrs screw up? (I've never laid hardwoods) Gotta hand it to you do great work! Do you think you'll be in by canning season?

  9. They look fantastic and the nail ends really give a great look. You must be so happy to have them in!

  10. A wee bit of an improvement on what you've been looking at for so long, wouldn't you say? ;o)

    Eager to see what it looks like completely completed!

    You two are true wonders in the remodeling world!

  11. The floor looks amazing, how thrilling to have that to walk on first thing in the morning! xo

  12. Clint and Lisa, thanks!

    MamaTea, we've never done laminate floors so I have no idea about those. Who knows, they might be harder to install!

    Theresa, back and knees! I like the light color too, but we plan to stain it quite a bit darker anyway. I'm thinking that will hide some of the dirt, plus many of the flaws. I have figured out though, that darker colors are okay if they have a more reflective finish. We'll see. There'll be no turning back once we get started!

    Rob, thanks! Yes, it's true about getting something this big accomplished. I have to admit that a bigger problem than cat claws, is me dropping stuff!

    Stephanie, I hope so! At the moment, we're a bit tired of the project, especially with the lovely weather continually beckoning us outside. :)

    Carolyn, ha, ha. Maybe he'll be so impressed that he won't be able to wait to get started. :)

    Tami, I'd have to say that our overall experience with LL was not a positive one. 1st we thought we'd never get our order, and when we did, it looks like somebody else's rejected junk. :( Even if we're not in by canning season, canning will still commence! That's one of the reasons why I moved my electric stove to the back porch. :)

    Candace, thanks!

    A. Wright, that feature did turn out well, didn't it? We're quite pleased.

    MamaPea, oh just a wee bit! I don't know if we are the wonders, be we're usually wondering about the whole thing. :)

    Sherri, it's truly a blessing!

  13. looks like you made a lot of progress with your kitchen! it takes a lot of time to make all those corners and edges fit properly - putting the floor down in an empty, square room is easy:) it looks brighter somehow - and very inviting:) as long as the cat likes it *wink*

  14. Yay! It's so exciting to see your beautiful new floor! I love seeing the progress that you are making. Very cool!

  15. looks great! Glad that the cat approves...

    Um problem I see...keeping kitty prints OFF the floor when you seal it.

  16. Most excellent job around the hearth!

  17. That is going to be such a pretty floor!

  18. It's really starting to come together! I can just imagine how much better it feels with a sturdier floor. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  19. Looks beautiful! Can I hire you when I eventually buy a house?

  20. Bettina, it feels like we're reading a milestone, but there's still a lot to go.

    Poppy, thanks!

    Renee, that's one reason why we're going to stain it darker. I'm afraid it's too light for all the stuff that we'll put it through in years to come.

    Serenity, Donna & Janice, thanks!

    Badgerpendous, it is, finally! And it does feel much sturdier.

    Jocelyn thanks!

    MTS&M, oh, but then you'd miss the adventure and pleasure of doing it for yourself. :)

  21. Oh Leigh---I've been watching the progress of the room with your woodstove, and BOY does it look amazing with the new wood floor. Kudos to you guys for the lovely job! Have I told you that I LOVE your cookstove? :swoon:

  22. Looks great! I have been following your blog for a while, but I don't think I've commented before. Your remodeling projects have inspired some similar ones around here. I'm in the (very) slow process of putting down new floors in the living room and bedroom areas, also atop hardwood with no subfloor. I'm doing the click lock bamboo, however, as I don't trust myself with that much nailing.

    Thanks for sharing your projects!

  23. Wow! I'm SOOO drooling! That floor is the most beautiful I've seen in a long time! I thought wood floors were out of our reach anytime soon, but maybe not. You've given me hope!

  24. Kristi, thanks! The stove was better than we could have hoped for. A real blessing.

    Sue, thanks!

    Cassandra, I'm delighted you decided to comment! I appreciate your kind words. I'm sure you're floor will turn out super!

    Michelle, maybe not! At least I hope you can get your wood floors soon.

    Project Girl thanks! (Not sure how fun it was though :)

  25. Well I'm impressed. Your floor looks great...and I'm so in love with your woodstove...I could just admire it all day long.

  26. Ooh, the flooring is going to be a tough one since hardwood is used. That cat probably enjoyed playing around with that flooring on. Also, that cooking stove is pretty unique. It matches the hardwood flooring quite well. Prioritizing the flooring or the walls is advisable, as these basically serve as the backdrop of the other designs in the kitchen.


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