The epic snowball flooring project begins

Most fellow DIYers would agree that every renovation project seems to uncover some other project that needs to be done either before, during or after the actual one that’s planned.

The epic flooring project we’re starting in a few days is no different. The hubster and I (and probably all other family members within a 20-mile radius who will answer my phone calls) will be installing solid hickory hardwood flooring in our living room, dining room and in portions of our kitchen.

I have never attempted a flooring project of this magnitude, nor have I done any DIY project this big with a curious toddler in tow. So, needless to say, I’m already feeling compelled to curl up in the fetal position and find the nearest corner to hide. But instead, I’m compiling a playlist of songs to help get me through the project (I’ll share it with all of you after it’s put together). You can bet Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” will make the list.

Last Wednesday, my dad helped me pick up the flooring, underlayment and tools from Lumber Liquidators. It was one of the coldest days of the year so far and I locked us out of the house immediately after we got back with the materials. Praise God, my dad was able to use his Ninja skills to break into the house. 🙂 Now we’ve got boxes and bags all over the place, which has created a fun jungle gym situation for our little man.

Wood-flooring-and-underlayment

The wood flooring is supposed to acclimate to our home’s temperature for seven to 10 days before we can install it. So, in the meantime, I went to work on a repair job that was created as a result of our flooring plans (hence the “snowball” reference).

Perhaps you’ll recall we had a little half wall separating our living room and kitchen areas.

Half-wall

Since the hardwood we’re installing will flow through both of these spaces and we want to have the option of turning this in-between spot into a larger dining area, the wall had to go. Unfortunately, so did chunks of drywall with it, so I had a major patch job on my hands.

Tip: Do not use old joint compound to patch drywall. If it’s chunky or pebble-like, pitch it immediately. Your tears will not make it go on any smoother. Ask me how I know. 😉

Fortunately, I found a bit of Patch Plus Primer lightweight spackling that was left over from the church project to finish the job without me needing to go to Crazytown. This stuff goes on like buttah. Love!

Wall-patch-materials

One trick I just discovered: If the spackling you’re using seems a little chalky or dry when you apply it, spritz on a little water to help it go on as smooth as silk.

I still have to paint the wall and ceiling where I patched, but thankfully, the twitching has stopped and I think I have everything sanded well enough.

Wall-patch

We also have to add some crown molding to the ceiling because it was not originally installed past the half wall (why???). As you can see above, we’re now left with a blank space where it ends (again with the snowball).

I’m crossing my fingers that I can get this wall project done and the crown molding installed before we go to work on the floors.

Until then, if you’ve got any tips for installing solid hardwood flooring, please share!

10 thoughts on “The epic snowball flooring project begins

  1. No tips here. I’m just in the flooring investigation stage myself. I do have a wall patch project coming up, though, and “Your tears will not make it go on any smoother” is hands-down the most clever thing I’ve read in awhile. I laughed at your expense. xoxo

  2. I am not a professional! But we have replaced three family members floors. The whole house,
    Pull staples and nails before hand, sweep the floor, then put a sock on your hand and re-sweep it to make sure all staples are pulled up but I will say no matter how hard I try I always find some I missed. Nails on the base boards also need to be pulled.
    We always pulled the baseboards if possible. Looks professional, neater and cleaner.
    Check doors, these have always been a problem for use. So we pre-check everything before we start. When your in the middle of it you don’t want to be side tracked because the wood won’t fit.
    The most important thing is rooms with a drop off. Pre-level it or you will have to use a transition piece of wood. It leaves a hump in your floor. I would rather add a layer of sub flooring then have a hump.
    Plenty of pencils, and rulers. I kept them everywhere. By the chop saw, I wear a apron and stick both in the pockets.
    Check the wood! Make sure it is uniform, one family member had dark and light pieces and different lengths. I opened several boxes and grouped them according to size and color so the pattern would be uniform.
    It is a mess! But it is the biggest improvement you can make on your home, it’s clean, and beautiful!
    Since I have a cleaning company I would like to ad the biggest suggestion of all.
    Cleaning them isn’t hard. Clean according to your…manufactor guidelines! Don’t use recipes on the internet, never use vinegar, wood soap or anything else unless your manufactor suggests it. We go into a lot of homes that have had steam, vinegar, wood soap, lemon juice ect. And see the damage it has created. For such a expensive investment please care for them the right way.
    My wood floors I use either Bona, but we installed my Mother’s wood flooring and we use Bruce to clean hers, because hers are extoic hardwood and mine are oak. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the finshed floors!

  3. Susan:
    I’m reminded again of what Pastor Lou said…”We live in a broken world, there is hope.”
    No matter the circumstance of how things look (with holes in it) (or how our hands try to make old things work), there is always hope to get us through. You can do this. If it gets too much, call a handyman or someone who has put this flooring done. They can help you get it started and you can finish the job. I’m sure someone who has put the flooring down before will do a better job, but the experience of doing something for yourself can save you $$$ and you have the satisfaction that you accomplished something. However, we all have a choice to fix our brokenness and how we do that may just show some cracks and band-aids in the process. We remodeled our entire house, a lot ourselves, but Don and I both know it was a great experience! Hang in there! Your young and can handle it! The question is…Do you want to live with any mistakes that you make along the way, if you try to fix them? How will it look, compared to the look of a professional’s work of art? Ah…that is the question! Anxious to see photos of the finish product!

  4. We installed oak hardwood in the front foyer, formal living room, kitchen, back hall and a bathroom. Sound like enough? I would never put it in the kitchen or bathroom again. We used a hardwood installer tool, aka “the bonker”. We also had teenage children to help. Water is hardwood’s worst enemy as I have come to find out. Good luck and this is not as bad as you imagine. As with all things in life, this too will pass! You can do it!

    • The “bonker” … I love that, lol! I’m so glad you mentioned why you probably wouldn’t install it in your kitchen or bath if you had it to do over. I purposely chose to leave our kitchen out because I was terrified of what water would do to the hardwood. But I was starting to second guess my decision. You’ve helped me realize I made the right choice!

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