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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
Way off topic, I know.

I was looking at doing some hardwood floors in my house. There are enough videos on YouTube to put me in a comfort zone. Question, are there any tools or tips that I am going to find handy when I am stuck in the middle of the project? You guys usually have some good answers on alot of stuff so I figured I would ask.
 

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Make sure the 1st row of hardwood you install is square to the room. Once you've got that squared the rest is simple. If not squared it'll look terrible.

Don't use hammer directly on end of strip laying down. If you need to hammer in place, use a scrap piece by placing it against it and then hammering the scrap piece of wood.

Enjoy ! It's not that hard.
 

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Addicted Since 2010
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What he said. A crow bar helps to have too. If you have an air compressor rent a pneumatic hardwood floor nail gun. Makes the job a lot easier.

Make sure to stagger the seams correctly. A seam shouldn't be equal with another board unless it is more than 3 boards away

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Harley Rider
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Are you going to use solid or engineered wood? Float or glue down? Is this a concrete slab or wood sub-floor?
 

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Try'n to behave
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Chief, you gonna get this one or do you want me to? :dunno
 

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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, thanks for the tips so far!

It is a wood sub-floor and I am undecided as to which wood to choose. The room is on the main level. I have a basement and an upstairs. The room I am going to do is about 20X40. There is currently carpet in the dining room and I have a 5 month old, ughh. If I get orders I will rent the house out so I think durability is my primary goal.
 

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Harley Rider
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Durability wise, engineered wood will be more durable. Take a look at the Shaw woods with the epic core. They are very resistant to moisture as well as having a scrape resistant surface. Make sure you prep the floor with some kind of feather finish to ensure the floor is good and flat. Your prep is the most important thing. If you choose to do anything in the basement, make sure the product will install below grade.
 

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THE Yuppie Outlaw
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Most important thing in the world, if you nail it down, is to rent a proper wood floor nail gun from Home Depot.

A regular gun will not work.


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I did about 700 sq ft in my house a couple of years ago.

I have buddy who does it for a living (or used to actually) He came over and showed me how to start.

You can't really "square it to the room" because most rooms are not square. You have to measure the room a few times and understand how out of square it is and react accordingly. You really end up "balancing" the out of square so that it is not too obvious along any wall.

Also, you want to know where you are going to finish before you start - just like doing tile. You may have to rip down the first row to keep the last row from being a very narrow strip. Measure it and lay it all out in your head before you nail down a single board. Otherwise, you'll end up with a goofy looking finish in a place you don't want it. You want to make sure you are working (or at least thinking about) the seams, transitions and such that will be in the most highly visible areas. They have to be the most right.

We snapped a chalk line across the floor for reference. This is especially important if you have to reverse your direction to work around an island or if you are going to have to merge your fields back together.

The chalk line also allows you to measure every few rows to make sure you aren't getting cock-eyed. It's easier to do than you think.

One of those little hand-sized nail-pullers is a must. If you are using real hardwood, you'll certainly get some that are slightly warped. You can get that nail puller to bite into the sub-floor and pry the boards into alignment before you nail them.

It's not super difficult, but it is a LOT of work. It was much more tiring than I anticipated it to be. It probably took me 30 hours to do mine. I did all but the first 4 or so by myself.

A chop saw is pretty nice to have as is a table saw. The table saw is pretty nice if you have to rip down several feet of the flooring. It'd take longer and be a lot harder to keep straight with just a circular saw. Fortunately, I have both a chop saw and a table saw.

Also, I wouldn't even think about doing it without the pneumatic floor nailer. The spring/manual ones absolutely suck. Plus, after 4-5 hours you're just too dang tired to hit it hard enough to get the fastener to countersink.

If you also have or can borrow a pneumatic finish nailer, it'll come in handy. You have to flush nail and putty here and there in places you can't get that big blind floor nailer into.
 

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Call me Gig.
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The collective wisdom of this forum amazes me on at least a weekly basis.

If I'd known HD owners were this damn smart I wouldn't have waited until I was almost 50 to become one. Maybe some of the smarts would have worn off on me.
 

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Harley Rider
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If anyone is in need of flooring advise, I own a flooring store here in Bryan.
 

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Addicted Since 2010
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I did about 700 sq ft in my house a couple of years ago.

I have buddy who does it for a living (or used to actually) He came over and showed me how to start.

You can't really "square it to the room" because most rooms are not square. You have to measure the room a few times and understand how out of square it is and react accordingly. You really end up "balancing" the out of square so that it is not too obvious along any wall.

Also, you want to know where you are going to finish before you start - just like doing tile. You may have to rip down the first row to keep the last row from being a very narrow strip. Measure it and lay it all out in your head before you nail down a single board. Otherwise, you'll end up with a goofy looking finish in a place you don't want it. You want to make sure you are working (or at least thinking about) the seams, transitions and such that will be in the most highly visible areas. They have to be the most right.

We snapped a chalk line across the floor for reference. This is especially important if you have to reverse your direction to work around an island or if you are going to have to merge your fields back together.

The chalk line also allows you to measure every few rows to make sure you aren't getting cock-eyed. It's easier to do than you think.

One of those little hand-sized nail-pullers is a must. If you are using real hardwood, you'll certainly get some that are slightly warped. You can get that nail puller to bite into the sub-floor and pry the boards into alignment before you nail them.

It's not super difficult, but it is a LOT of work. It was much more tiring than I anticipated it to be. It probably took me 30 hours to do mine. I did all but the first 4 or so by myself.

A chop saw is pretty nice to have as is a table saw. The table saw is pretty nice if you have to rip down several feet of the flooring. It'd take longer and be a lot harder to keep straight with just a circular saw. Fortunately, I have both a chop saw and a table saw.

Also, I wouldn't even think about doing it without the pneumatic floor nailer. The spring/manual ones absolutely suck. Plus, after 4-5 hours you're just too dang tired to hit it hard enough to get the fastener to countersink.

If you also have or can borrow a pneumatic finish nailer, it'll come in handy. You have to flush nail and putty here and there in places you can't get that big blind floor nailer into.
Yes...
Just yes...



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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #16
.... BEER. check!

Damn Chasarms, great detail. Thanks! Tmike, I will ask for sure if I hit a problem.

Thanks all for the input. I do avionics systems on helicopters but can be pretty talentless when it comes to stuff like this.
 

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All you realy need is a pile of wood your going to nail down, a carptners square, tape measure, sharp hand saw, 16oz hammer, nail punch, and time, lost and lots of time.

Wish I still had the photos of my old house I put tounge and groove boards on the wall.
had a great optical ollution going on.
North wall boards at 45 degree angle pointed up, East wall boards horzontal, South wall boards 45 degree angle pointed down.
People would stare at the walls for hours trying to figure it out, would always have to tell them to look at the direction each wall was pointed.
 

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09 Dyna Super Glide
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1,691 Posts
I'm a custom home builder by trade. Rent a compressor, hose, and a pneumatic flooring staple gun or nail gun. It makes an enormous difference in both the quality of the workmanship and in the time that it takes to put the floor down.

The real trick to hardwood flooring is not in the installation, that is fairly straightforward, it's the sanding that takes some skill. Again you can rent the sanding machines from your local rental store; they usually sell the sanding belts or disks there too. In a lot of cases it is worthwhile to install the hardwood and then hire a subcontractor to at least sand the floor for you. Having them finish the entire floor is not a bad idea either, though the new waterbased floor finishes are a piece of cake to work with.

Pete

Way off topic, I know.

I was looking at doing some hardwood floors in my house. There are enough videos on YouTube to put me in a comfort zone. Question, are there any tools or tips that I am going to find handy when I am stuck in the middle of the project? You guys usually have some good answers on alot of stuff so I figured I would ask.
 

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Guitarslinger
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3,316 Posts
Sounds like good advice so far from everyone. I'm assuming you are buying pre-finished wood?

As said before, layout in the beginning is the important step.

You really need to check the moisture content of your floor before you purchase wood.

BTW, Have you considered Laminate? We sell a lot of it and it's a great product also and a little cheaper being you might have to rent later.
 
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