This past weekend we laid a Douglas fir tongue and groove floor, on top of rosin paper, over the floor framing. No subfloor. It took 3 of us to lay the floor (Thanks, Scott!); from 9:30a to 5p including a lunch break. It took me another 2 hrs after dinner to smoosh putty into the floor cracks wearing heavy rubber gloves. I tried other methods but this way was the most effective. We chose Douglas fir because it has a beautiful grain and was far less expensive than the prefinished hardwood floors we had oogled. Until this week when I started to research no VOC finishing options we didn't know that it is the softest wood. We now have a rule that we won't wear shoes in the house so it will look great longer.
Flooring lesson #1: Use the right tool for the job. We had a table saw and thought that we could use it to cut the floor boards. Because we're stubborn it took longer than it would have if we'd just rented a chop saw. It took one of us at the table saw trimming ends while another of us held the other end of the 8' long board in order to get a straight cut. Do yourself a big favor and use a chop saw for this job. We did rent a pneumatic soft wood flooring nailer and loved the tool.
Flooring lesson #2: The first few rows along a wheel well are the hardest and slowest to install. After the first 2 1/2 hours we had only about 5 rows nailed down. After lunch we picked up speed once we got into the groove of things.
Flooring lesson #3: Brute force may not work when flooring so take a deep breath and think of another solution. The milling of lumber is seldom precise so sometimes the tongues from board to board don't align so the groove of the next board won't attach. We loosened the nailing on the lower board when this happened and shimmed it so it won't squeak later. We found brute force didn't help this problem...
Flooring lesson #4: Be prepared to be carded when buying plastic wood which is the putty we used to fill between the floor board cracks. We don't exactly know why we were carded but others obviously have more fun with this putty than I did. Nightclubs sometimes have a 2 drink minimum but we weren't told that there was a maximum on putty purchasing. We used 2 small cans.
Flooring lesson #5: Because we didn't install a sub floor (to save on weight), the floor boards need to be butt jointed and end nailed directly to the floor framing. Jeff had calculated the amount of flooring we'd need but can't remember the formula he used. I can tell you though that his calc was so amazingly close as we were left with only about 4 feet of board left over; all in small unusable chunks.
The vote was unanimous. We agreed that this was a fairly easy job to do. The hardest parts were the backache that came from bending over the pneumatic nailer to whack it with the hammer and lifting of the floor sander onto the trailer with the backache from the day before.
Tomorrow I buy the floor finish and will start to apply it on Tuesday after work.
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