Hardwood Floor Upgrade

Project by Hermando posted 03-13-2012 07:44 PM 2678 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A project I have undertaken by myself has been to remove all the carpet from my main floor and install 3/4” prefinished walnut flooring. I started this project in Nov 2011 and its been quite a challenge to find the time to complete. The total floor will be approximately 2500 sq ft when I am finished. I began in my family room toward the breakfast area then into the kitchen. From there I have gotten as far as the dining room and now moving into the office. Once those rooms are complete I will have a living room and a study to finish.

This has been my first floor installation. I did quite a bit of research to gain enough knowledge of the project. I did run into a few snags in the beginning, but overall I think it has turned out quite well. There has been one draw back from installing prefinished wood flooring or maybe I made a few mistakes. I allowed the flooring to acclimate as best I could for several weeks inside the house. I then began laying the flooring nice and tight, but as we all know natural wood tends to have a mind of its own. Some noticeable gaps have appeared and I am sure it was caused by the settling and dry moisture air from the winter months. Any suggestions on a fix would be helpful. I am hoping that as spring arrives the wood will gain enough moisture to adjust itself. In the meantime with such a dark surface it does show the dust and dirt and requires some vacuuming in the gaps. Over all I think it has turned out great and should last my lifetime if not longer.

If anyone is interested in laying a hardwood floors, I found it was not a good idea to rent the nailer, but instead bought one. Freeman 3-in-1 Flooring Air Nailer and Stapler Model # PFL618BR, which is a pneumatic and has been a great product for under $200 at HD, I got mine from Sears for $150. I did have one problem with the tool and used Porta Nails T cleats that gummed up the striking rod, I contacted the manufacturer and they sent me a brand new one, no questions and suggested I use the Stanley L cleats and have not had one jamb (Knock on Wood) for about 4000 nails so far.

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11 comments so far

View Craftsman on the Lake's profile

Craftsman on the Lake

70 posts in 3577 days

posted 03-13-2012 11:54 PM

Nice, nice, nice. I’ve done a lot of floors, mostly oak. That walnut looks great. I’ll be doing my own floors this summer and it will probably be oak. I’ve looked at the walnut but the cost. And you’ve got a pretty large area there to pay for by the square foot. But the end product look super. thanks for showing us.

-- Tryin'

View Grandpa's profile


139 posts in 2754 days

posted 03-14-2012 02:05 AM

Great looking floor. Thanks for sharing.
Not much you can really do about spaces that are forming now. Drop some stain in them if they are light colored and show.

View Berna's profile


1 post in 2464 days

posted 03-14-2012 03:43 PM

Looks beautiful…..........you can tell you put alot of love into this project….. :)

View JiuDuffSu's profile


9 posts in 2464 days

posted 03-14-2012 08:19 PM

Great looking upgrade! I wouldn’t sweat the gaps unless they’re really bad. I have a few in mine as well and I think it just adds to the character.

-- Ryan - "Electricity is really just organized lightning"

View Hermando's profile


8 posts in 2465 days

posted 03-14-2012 08:49 PM

The only real noticeable gap is where I changed direction in the kitchen. I had to add a spline so I could take the flooring around the kitchen counter. So I had to set the planks groove to groove, but the spline added the tongue side. Another draw back was I had to face nail the first two rows and the last 3-4 rows since the nailer would not allow any other option against the walls and cabinets. The most difficult part was keeping it all straight. When I began the very first row I had my chalk line perfect and at midpoint I tried using a longer plank in front of the slider. I didn’t realize that it was bowed because the ends were on the line. I got about ten rows out and the bow kept pushing the adjoining plank off square and no way to correct it. So I pulled up all the planks and started over using shorter planks and a straight edge to confirm the first row was straight. That was frustrating, because the guy on the you tube video made it look so easy..

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139 posts in 2754 days

posted 03-17-2012 02:15 AM

Those guys on U-Tube always make it look easy. What we don’t know is they never show you the parts they edit out (where there is a problem) I am afraid if we saw the problems they have we might not take the job on. This builds character they tell me. LOL You are doing a great job. This is a BIG job in case you haven’t figured it out.
I worked with a contractor friend for awhile. He would say something about a problem and I would tell him, ” if it were easy then anyone could do it. It isn’t easy so they got us to do this job.”

View Hermando's profile


8 posts in 2465 days

posted 03-19-2012 04:22 PM

In general You tube can give only a small idea of the real projects undertaking. I look for general knowledge and information. To often not much of the internet advice actually applies to the particular job I take on. That is because in most cases the construction and challenges are much different. Like soldering brass pipe. Oh it looks easy and is in most cases, but there have been a number of times the solder won;t take or has to be redone and then with the water off and you need a part late into the evening and the stores are closed. My point being there are challenges and with that self accomplishments when a job is done to the best of our ability.

View BillyJ's profile


258 posts in 3402 days

posted 03-22-2012 02:25 AM

Hernando – beautiful flooring. It makes everything pop. I agree with you – don’t rent it, buy it. It’s worth the few extra dollars to have it on hand. Very nice workmanship.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View Hermando's profile


8 posts in 2465 days

posted 03-22-2012 02:35 PM

Thanks to all for the compliments, the flooring has been one of the bigger home improvements I have undertaken. I am not quite finished and still have 3 rooms to complete. Although it has taken me quite a while to complete, I have learned alot and its been fun. The patience has paid off even through some of the challenges to show case some of my work.

View WalnutRidge's profile


6 posts in 2502 days

posted 03-25-2012 10:43 AM

If the gaps do close up in the summer, maybe running a humidifier in the dry months would help?

-- Josh

View JimmyC72's profile


18 posts in 3560 days

posted 04-15-2012 01:57 AM

Nice floor. I feel your frustration and pride man. I’m doing my own floor and reading your posts is like listening to myself.

-- That tape was just here!

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