Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Things I learned while laying hardwood flooring

After almost a decade of letting the boxes of bamboo flooring languish in storage, I bravely ripped out the hall carpet and undertook the flooring project. I thought installation would take three days. Silly me. Of course, I've never installed wood flooring before, so I plead ignorance.

The project now nears completion after six days of work spread out over two weeks. I've learned quite a bit. Here are some observations and tips that you may want to consider if you are thinking of installing your own flooring.

1. If the muscles you use for sitting/kneeling/hunkering down and then standing up aren't in shape, they will be by the time you're done.

2. Sore will take on new dimension. Sore muscles. Sore hip joints. Sore knee joints. Sore knee bones.

3. Your fingers will swell so much that you can't get your rings on.

4. The incredibly gooey glue that is used to attach wood flooring to a concrete slab will NOT come off your hands. Ever. Your skin will wear away first.

5. Do not get flooring glue in your hair unless you really don't need all the hair on your head.

6. You will waken in the night knowing you need to take some aspirin. You will lie there in pain trying to decide if moving is worth more pain.

7. Wear clothing that you are willing to throw away when the project is complete.

8. It is VERY difficult to remove a misplaced piece of flooring even when the glue is fresh.

9. When you think you have the flooring pieces in place and walk away, they shift JUST A LITTLE when you turn your back.

10. The glue oozes out JUST A LITTLE into the space under the tongue of the tongue and groove joint overnight and sets up so that you must spend the first thirty minutes of the next work day scraping it out so the next board will slide into place.

11. Even fresh out of the box, not all the boards are perfect. Even if you let the boxes of boards acclimatize as per instructed, they may still be slightly bowed and/or warped. Your mind will acclimatize to that new reality.

Is installing your own flooring worth the effort? At this point, with the hall almost finished, I'll say yes. Ask me again when it's time to do the bedrooms. Next fall.

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