The Report from Days 295 – 315: Hard Wood

On day 295 we began to lay down our beautiful rustic maple hard wood flooring. We picked maple because of the light color and the excellent durability — this stuff’s hard as rock! Maple’s expensive (as is most hard wood) but we found a great price on some rustic maple (read: full of mineral streaking and knots – which we actually like!) in 2 3/4 inch wide boards. It’s Canadian! The company milled our order specially just for us and sent it our way. The whole operation was fairly straight forward except for a goofy move where the trucking company had the wood stored in Manassas and they put it on the truck 11 times to deliver it but never made it to the house. Chris eventually had to go pick it up with the flat bed truck.

Just the begining

The boxes of wood were stacked in the house for a few weeks to help the wood acclimatize to our weather and relative humidity so that it wouldn’t warp after we nailed it to the floor. Then they got unpackaged, laid out and nailed down!

The Belle builds stairs in the middle of the living room

While the process was simple enough it was still hard work. Luckily, Ev found a pneumatic flooring nailer on CraigsList being sold by a guy a few towns over. It was expensive, but a worthy investment as it cut way down on how hard Ev had to hit the nail gun. At roughly 11,000 nails Ev only had to hit the gun once or twice for each one, instead of repeatedly.

Since this was a job that Ev, Chris and I could do ourselves we mostly plugged away on it in the evenings, after Chris and Ev had already spent a whole day working. We’re cheap labor, if slow, and any time we don’t have to pay the whole crew to work is money saved.

Ev and Chris work at night in the living room/dining room

Living/dining room finished -- it's so shiny!

The Belle enjoyed some dinner and TV time while we worked

One thing that frustrated us about the floor was how unevenly the wood was boxed. The first 10 boxes or so were mostly short pieces, all under two feet long. Since you don’t want any rows next to each other to have joints that line up it was a slow going patchwork puzzle to make them all fit right. This is right up my alley and I thought it was great fun. So I would rack and Ev would nail. We weren’t speedy, but we made a good team. Eventually the crew took over so we could get finished faster, but mostly it was me, Ev and The Belle.

Stacks of wood in the library, ready and waiting

Lots of short pieces also meant that many, many boxes had to be opened at once and the boards sorted by length so that we don’t accidentally end up with rows and rows of all one size board. Eventually we began to find longer pieces, most of which ended up in the last room to be finished, our bedroom. Lots of knotty pieces mean that some aren’t fit for high traffic areas. Those pieces get sorted for use in closets and along the baseboards.

From the bedroom door, across the hall and into the kids' rooms

The view from our bedroom door, across the hall and into the kids' bedrooms

Ev nails floor in our bedroom

... While I rack

Ev uses the handheld nail gun for the last bit of hard wood in the house

It was a lot of hard work, and we spent many evenings for weeks crouched on the floor, but the result is beautiful and should last forever!

Finished dining room in all it's maple glory

Daddy and The Belle enjoy a fnished and empty living room

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