Each piece has a tongue on two sides and grooves on the opposing sides. This tongue and groove system ensures the planks fit together nicely and the finished floor remains level without any serious bumps or wood tips rising above the floor. This is especially nice since I found out that the new addition that was added about 15 years ago has settles somewhat. This resulted in the floor not being entirely level across the entirety of the room. If I had used a basic plank system I would have encountered serious trouble where the original construction meets the addition.
The wood flooring I used is a product made by Armstrong from their Bruce line of hardwood flooring. We went with the butterscotch coloring of Red Oak flooring. This particular flooring is ¾ inch thick and comes complete with a durable finish. Other than lining up the boards and nailing them down there is no extra sanding, staining or sealing work to be done.
We went together to pick out the wood to use. We thought briefly about using a laminate wood flooring but we knew that if we wanted to do the job we should do it right. I've seen too many laminate floors that just do not hold up as well as solid wood does. I put laminate wood in the same category as electric heat: It's cheap to install but will cost you more in the long run.
This is the single most important tool I used; the pneumatic floor nailer. Because I don't plan on installing hardwood floors a lot in the future I rented this one at a local rental shop for about $70. That price included enough nails to do 200 square feet of flooring.
The nailer also requires a compressor to work. The compressor I borrowed from a friend, as well as his brad nailer and a few hours of his time. I thought those few hours of time would be enough to complete the project but I was wrong, very wrong.
Because the carpeting covers a wood floor in the living room I decided to run the wood floor not just in the bedroom but also into the small hallway that leads to the living room. Eventually we will pull up that carpet and refinish the living room floor.
Running the flooring out in to the small hallway was fairly simple, the only complicated part was getting the flooring to match up with the old wood. A few measurements with a tape measure and a couple of cuts with a table saw and I had a short piece ready to fill in the gap.
For the most part we cut the bottom of the door jams off so as to better hide the cuts in the flooring we made to work around those areas. When we came to the bathroom the wood flooring was about one eighth of an inch higher than the tile but it was within tolerances for the door to close after nailing the old brass sweep back in place. Yes, I cleaned those black marks up before putting the sweep back!
After the second package of wood (seven more to go) almost eight hours had gone by and it was time for my friend to leave. My dream of having the room done in one afternoon were quickly shown to be just that; dreams! He agreed to leave the tools overnight and I got to work pounding out the rest of the job.
I took a few short breaks over the course of the evening but I did get the job done before the 9:00 AM cutoff time for getting the tool back to the rental shop. If I had kept the tool any longer I would have had to pay for another day of tool rental.
By the time morning rolled around I had completed the floor. I think I spent about 20 hours in total laying the floor. I spent another four hours doing the prep work. Was it worth it? You will have to judge that for yourself. Check the pictures below to see some more photographs of the process and the final results.
With it all done it took me a few days to recover from the all night work party. I did a lot of bending and kneeling getting those boards into alignment and I had aches and pains for days afterwards. Some people mentioned hiring someone to do the job but that would have tripled the price of the job. The one good thing is that I was able to waste very little wood and brought one box of wood back to the store for a refund. Which I then used to buy a new faucet for my bathroom sink…