Whenever you can proactively do a little prep work before you get “officially” start a project is always a good idea. In this case, just moving and pre-arranging boards took slightly more time than I expected. Though, with any project things tend to take more time than expected anyway. I spent about two hours moving and arranging boards, the evening before, into the bedroom from the living room (the next room over). I’m glad I did, because I probably wouldn’t have wanted to “waste” time doing this on instillation day.
Near the “starting point” of first few boards and cleats – the floor was still not perfectly level. Here, Spencer is shimming up some of the gaps with layers of tar paper. More layers for an area that needed to be brought up to level… slowly feathering out fewer layers.
Taping the boards in nice and tight with a scrap 2×4 block. To me, the nail gun is loud, so I wore hearing protection all day. Unfortunately, the head set is probably made for a man: it’s a little too big (on the smallest setting) and pushes down on my ears and sits on my jaw in an uncomfortable way. Its that, or we just bought a cheap pair.
The corners take more time… or at least they give off the illusion like you are making little progress. Cut one board for the wall, lay it down, and turn around and then you have to go measure & cut another for the other wall.
Moving into the closet: We were not only heading into a corner, we also were laying the flooring into the closet… which also was like it’s own little room with more corners. Fortunately, check out how perfectly these boards just pass by the closet door!
So normal flooring installation goes as such:
Arrange boards, measure, measure again, cut, put in place, nail down, repeat.
When using the nail gun, the nail is being set into the tongue of the board. The groove portion sits around the tongue – locking them together… and if there is any obstruction (such as a protruding nail), then the two will not fit together properly and you have a problem.
The solution is to remove the nail without damaging your wood floor. Sometimes this means just pulling up the whole plank (if you can’t get it out) or using what ever tools you can find. We tried a pry bar, hammer, pointy-clamp-tweezer-things, and nippers. If we couldn’t pull the nail out, we tried cutting off or “shaving” down the nail with the nippers. Having to do this slows down the whole process considerably.
Another component to laying down hardwood floors is encountering door frames. In this instance, we had to deal with two door frames for our closet. The best thing to do, when “wrapping around the wall” was to have two boards meet at the corner of the door frame. This meant leaving a blunt end and cutting off the corners of both boards.
We then cut the corner off of the second board and put it in place as well.
Well, this is where we made it the first day in the master bedroom. If you are tired, it’s sometimes better to take a break rather than push forward and make mistakes. We had a lot to deal with in this space that was slowing us down: diagonal corner cuts (x2), wrapping around door frames, and a few bad nails. With a floor that’s laid on the diagonal, it is also kind of hard to tell how much progress you’ve made.
The blue “face nail gun” in this photo is to secure all of the ends near the wall… and for the boards in the corners where we won’t be able to use the flooring nail gun. We will finish the tips of the corners the next day and then we will pull up the cleats and turn around and start working facing into the rest of the room.
In case you missed it, here are the links for installing the floor:
Jacking up floor joists
Leveling out the subfloor
Part 1) How to prepare a floor for hardwood installation
Part 2) Installing hardwood floors
Part 3) Installing hardwood floors
Part 4) What we learned for installing our own hardwood floors