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Hardwood flooring gets installed Weds - any cautions?
Old 04-05-2009, 03:35 PM   #1
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Hardwood flooring gets installed Weds - any cautions?

The final phase of our kitchen renovation is set to take place this week. We are having our 1990 vinyl tile replaced with prefinished hardwood flooring in the kitchen, eat-in area, hallway and laundry room. 480 square feet in all.

On Tuesday, the 1990 vinyl tile and "underlayment" will be taken up, and the shoe molding removed from the baseboards. On Wednesday, the new flooring will go down. (It has been sitting in our family room, "getting used to" the temperature and humidity in our home).

Husband interviewed four or five contractors to find one he liked, and I checked out the references. I spoke with the contractor also, and while I got a little bit of a "salesman" vibe, nothing really raised my hackles.

At this point, we have asked every question we can think of, and have paid 50% to purchase the flooring material--so we are committed, and I just wondered...any cautions for husband on take-up or installation day? (I will be at work).

Thanks,

Amethyst
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:59 PM   #2
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Your new floors sound gorgeous. What color?

No advice re cautions for your DH (if my DH was home, the contractor would charge us extra for DH's "help," but yours might actually be helpful).
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:00 PM   #3
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I'll offer no opinion on the choice of flooring. As you've pointed out, you've made that decision.

Underneath the underlayment you could have boards (probably on a 45 degree angle to the joists), plywood, or OSB. After the underlayment is pulled up, the contractor can inspect that floor. Hopefully, all is well, but this is when there could be some surprises: termite damage (floor or joists), dry rot, water damage from the inevitable overflows, leaky drains, drippy valves that always (eventually) happen in kitchens and laundry rooms. Obviousy, you'll want this done right (and you especialy don't want the contractor to just slap down the new prefinished wood over an unsound floor), so it would be good if you or hubby could actually see the floor once the underlayment is pulled up. Also, if there are any squeaks, this is the time to address them. They should put down 15 lb (minimum) felt paper or rosin paper before installing the new flooring material.

Make sure you end up with extra flooring material for later repairs. I wouldn't let them throw anything away that is longer than a foot. You don't want to have to try to match the stain, finish, and thickness of this flooring when it is time for repairs--keep the leftovers stashed away in a closet somewhere.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:51 PM   #4
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Getting ready to do a similar project. One of the things on my "to check out list" is how the new wood will transition to carpet on one side and tile on another. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'll know it when I see it.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:08 AM   #5
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Since you state that it is the final phase of the kitchen are the cabinets and appliances in place? If still possible you want the floor under all this stuff so you can slide things out later if needed.

Also on the outside chance that you have chosen wide planking make sure the manufacture instuctions are followed if adhesive is recommended in addition to nailing.

Enjoy your new floors, can't wait to get rid of my carpet.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:18 AM   #6
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I would suggest supervising the project and don't shy away from being real picky. If any of the wood planking has imperfections, make sure it's not used or used in an area where it won't be noticed. Also, wood will have some variation in color so make sure it's set up so the overall look is fairly even.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:33 AM   #7
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I just finished installing approximately 1000 sq. ft. of 3 1/4" X 3/4" solid oak prefinished wood flooring on the upper level and this is how I installed them.

- removed all baseboard and trim and trimmed out door casings.
- removed carpet, under pad and any staples that remained.
- screwed down subfloor with 2 1/2" screws, 6"-8" apart then walked on floor to ensure there were no more sounds.
- installed any coaxial (tv) cable or speaker wires that were hidden between carpet and baseboard behind wall.
- installed 15 lb felt before wood flooring was installed.
- installed wood floor laying the boards perpendicular to the floor joists leaving a gap at the corner of walls for expansion.
Note that wood floor was left indoors for at least three days prior to install.
-I then installed new baseboard and trim.

I know that's in a bit more involved then mentioned but this was the basics.

Good luck with your install and hope it turns out exactly as you'd hoped for.
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Hmmmm...maybe we will give this a try after all
Old 04-06-2009, 11:16 AM   #8
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Hmmmm...maybe we will give this a try after all

Quote:
Originally Posted by My Dream View Post
I just finished installing approximately 1000 sq. ft. of 3 1/4" X 3/4" solid oak prefinished wood flooring on the upper level and this is how I installed them.

- removed all baseboard and trim and trimmed out door casings.
- removed carpet, under pad and any staples that remained.
- screwed down subfloor with 2 1/2" screws, 6"-8" apart then walked on floor to ensure there were no more sounds.
- installed any coaxial (tv) cable or speaker wires that were hidden between carpet and baseboard behind wall.
- installed 15 lb felt before wood flooring was installed.
- installed wood floor laying the boards perpendicular to the floor joists leaving a gap at the corner of walls for expansion.
Note that wood floor was left indoors for at least three days prior to install.
-I then installed new baseboard and trim.

I know that's in a bit more involved then mentioned but this was the basics.

Good luck with your install and hope it turns out exactly as you'd hoped for.
My husband and I have always done about 95% of upgrades/home improvements ourselves, but after upgrading two bathrooms and the kitchen in the past year and a half, and turning 62, I was feeling that I wasn't up to our next proposed project of installing hardwood floors. After reading your post, I'm beginning to think we probably could give it a shot. Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I'll offer no opinion on the choice of flooring. As you've pointed out, you've made that decision.
If it's OK, I would like your opinions on pre-finished HW flooring (the OP can skip the post if she doesn't want any other opinions at this point! I understand. ).

I'll start with mine, so Amethyst, skip over this since you have already decided!

I'll give you a little scroll room....
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OK is Amethyst gone now? ......

I just chose pre-finished for an upstairs hallway (3/4" x3" oak). I do think you get a better result when the unfinished is laid down, sanded in place and finished. Every joint is leveled relative to its neighbor. Touch up would probably be easier compared to a factory finish - not sure.

My decision was based on the fact that the hallway isn't that big an area, less than 80 sq ft ~ 4x18'. So doing it myself was within reason. But, I didn't want to try to tackle the sanding and staining and finishing myself. That's a big mess, the sanding does take some technique that I'm not confident in, I'd need to rent the sander (more$), and it would really disrupt the family - we'd probably need to move out for a few days at least - the hallway connects the bedrooms and the only two showers in the house. So with pre-finished, I was able to get it done over a period of days, and just tell everyone to walk on one side or the other, don't step on the edges. Not a big problem. It came out well, *almost* as good as finished-in-place, but not as good. Plenty good enough for this part of our house though. DW is happy with it - does anything els matter? Uh, but she was happy with our out-of-square patio, too (but that got fixed ).

So, I was able to DIY (DIM?), it wasn't a bad job (except for being on my knees so much) and I'm sure I saved a lot of money. The pros would have to charge a high per sq to do less than 100 sq feet, there is install, sand, stain, seal - several trips. They would need to charge accordingly.

With the 3/4 solid, when it eventually needs to be refinished, I'll call in our local guys to do that. When we wanted oak flooring in the larger areas in our house, (entry hall, largish LR and small DR, all connected) - I had the local guys do it all. With that sizejob, I'm pretty sure the labor is less than the extra cost of pre-finished, and a (maybe slightly) better end product).

Is that how you see it? Other issues?

-ERD50
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:24 PM   #10
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My only concern (and not one I have had to endure, but my realtor told me) is that a wood floor in a kitchen is just a disaster waiting to happen... spills and such.. but since you already decided... good luck with it..
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pie2008 View Post
My husband and I have always done about 95% of upgrades/home improvements ourselves, but after upgrading two bathrooms and the kitchen in the past year and a half, and turning 62, I was feeling that I wasn't up to our next proposed project of installing hardwood floors. After reading your post, I'm beginning to think we probably could give it a shot. Thanks.
It's not too bad, but you are on your knees a lot. And you will need to rent/buy that floor nailer and a compressor. I though *maybe* I could avoid that for 80 sq feet, but no way.

Mine was probably a little tougher on a sq ft basis - a narrow hallway, so less room to move, lots of doorways to work with, and you have to face nail a high %, because the nailer only gets within ~ 1 foot of the wall. With a 4' hallway, that means face nailing about 25% of the runs. At least the doorways helped there, the gun could project into the doorway.

Compared to a bathroom - a walk in the park! And with the pre-finished, no odors, very little dust. Not a bad project at all.

-ERD50
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:50 PM   #12
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Hmm. Some good ideas here, especially about the squeaking. Thank you. We have several squeaky patches. Since de-squeaking isn't in the contract, I guess we'll offer the installer a few extra bucks to tackle them.

We chose prefinished wood after much, much discussion. I favored ceramic tile, which cost about half again as much. Husband wanted wood for looks. We seesawed back and forth (pun most definitely intended) and wood won out. The color (reddish oak) will go well with our existing cabinets, which we are keeping, and the granite countertops we just had installed.

We have unfinished/wax finish oak in the rest of the first floor, so the prefinished oak isn't an ideal match, but it's the closest that anyone could offer us. Our old hardwood isn't matchable any more. We wanted the factory finish because it is resistant to spills. We'll have carpet on much of the flooring anyway (I do love rugs).

One thing we looked into, was having the rest of our flooring re-finished to match the new wood. Well, 4 out of 5 contractors advised us not to do this--even though they all stood to gain many extra $$ by doing it.

The fifth one gave us an estimate for refinishing, but we were taken aback by:
his inability to guarantee a perfect match;
all the disclaimers in the contract;
the fact that we would be unable to walk in our own house for 1.5 days and would have to live in a hotel while the finish cured;
having no clue where we'd move all our furniture while the entire first floor was being re-done;
and the price of the refinishing itself.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post

One thing we looked into, was having the rest of our flooring re-finished to match the new wood. Well, 4 out of 5 contractors advised us not to do this--even though they all stood to gain many extra $$ by doing it.

The fifth one gave us an estimate for refinishing, but we were taken aback by:
his inability to guarantee a perfect match;
all the disclaimers in the contract;
the fact that we would be unable to walk in our own house for 1.5 days and would have to live in a hotel while the finish cured;
having no clue where we'd move all our furniture while the entire first floor was being re-done;
and the price of the refinishing itself.
We had a similar situation - but the timing between the two floors was just a few years, so that might have made it less of an issue.

We had one area done, then another adjoining area a few years later. What they did was sand down *everything* in both areas, so the old was down to bare wood. Then stain and seal it all, so they were not really trying to match anything, it was all the newer shade.

Again, this might be a bigger issue with old versus newer wood.


But yes, you need to be out at least overnight, and everything needs to be moved, and dust everywhere (although they kept it contained well with plastic sheets taped at all the doorways).

We had it done as part of the install, so I don't recall the extra cost of refinishing. It couldn't have been too bad, or I'd remember .

-ERD50
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
If it's OK, I would like your opinions on pre-finished HW flooring (the OP can skip the post if she doesn't want any other opinions at this point! I understand. ).

Is that how you see it? Other issues?

-ERD50
ERD50,
My opinions below. I'll skip the "plot spoiler" blank scroll lines (though they are a nice touch)
PRO: I think the prefinished hardwood planks look very good. I'll bet the finish is even sturdier than the sanded/finished in place floor (I wouldn't be surprised if they use catylized varnish, which is slightly sturdier than polyurethane). I'm not a big fan of the small rounding at the edge of he planks (resulting in very small grooves rather than an entirely flush floor), as they tend to catch grit, but many folks like this look a lot, and it is entirely subjective.
CON: My major reservation is (like Texas Proud's) the use of wood in the kitchen and a laundry room. It will look great, and I've seen lots of pictures of wood floors in the "House Beautiful" magazines, but . . . I think it is not a practical choice. Almost every kitchen winds up with standing water on the floor eventually. A laundry room even moreso (rubber hoses, leaky water pumps in the washer, lowest-bidder hose clamps, etc.). I just don't like to buy a floor twice.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:03 PM   #15
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Thanks for the input samclem.

Our washer is in a closet off of the kitchen/eating area, so yes, we have all those water concerns. However, in 16 years here, never a water problem. But we have ceramic tile . Murphy says if it was wood, we'd have had problems.

Actually, that reminded me that a small section of wood floor from an adjoining room abuts the wall against the washer. A couple years ago, I thought I noticed the drywall bulging a bit, just thought it was the normal waviness we have in some walls that you only notice under certain light. Then DW says the wood floor is bulging in that area. Hmmm, I look around, can't really find a leak, tear open the wall from the inside of the washer closet where the drain for the washer is and where the water lines come in ( about 4' off the floor). Slightly damp in there, but no obvious leak. After a lot of head scratching, the ONLY thing I can see is that the drain tube splashes a just a bit, and maybe just getting a few drops to travel down the outside of the drain pipe and down to the floor. I ended up removing the J-Tube they had on the drain hose, and just shoved the hose deep into the drain pipe and clamped it in place.

I could hardly believe it, but that was it. Fortunately, the wood floor dried out over the next few weeks and looks as good as new. Whew.

-ERD50
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:14 PM   #16
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My only concern (and not one I have had to endure, but my realtor told me) is that a wood floor in a kitchen is just a disaster waiting to happen... spills and such.. but since you already decided... good luck with it..
We have a 105 year old kitchen with the original maple wood floors. Refinished them about 10 years ago. They still are beautiful. I wipe up any spills. Sweep often. And clean the floor on my hands and knees with a damp rag, no soap or anything else. The key is no standing water. We did have a water event once when we were gone and water from an upstairs bathroom came through the ceiling and on the floor and sat there for a while. The floor never stained. The finish was high quality. The wood bulged slightly for a month and then settled down just fine.

There are a few ancient stains and marks, but they are character.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:18 PM   #17
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I have 15-year old oak floors in my kitchen; they still look beautiful after 2 dogs and 5 kids.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:20 PM   #18
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There are a few ancient stains and marks, but they are character.
Yeah, that's what I tell my house guest when visiting my bathroom.
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:45 AM   #19
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Also, there are ways to minimize the potential for "big problem" water damage: In ERD50's case, I'd probably consider a 3/4" solid moulding threshold between the hall and the laundry room and vinyl flexible molding inside the laundry room perimeter--and lots of high-quality silicone caulk. And a water alarm. In the case of a kitchen installation, I've seen some very thorough "drip pans" incorporated under the sink and dishwasher caulk. (using heavy plastic of the type used under shower stalls, with FRP over the top for mechanical potection of the liner)--again lapping upthe sides and using lots of caulk and a water alarm. If the occupant is home, these can help reduce the scope of the "disaster" considerably. A cup or two of water on and under the wood is more manageable than gallons. Still . . .
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Progress Report
Old 04-07-2009, 06:50 PM   #20
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Progress Report

Came home from work to find all the flooring stripped, and screws in the plywood where husband had called attention to squeakiness There don't seem to be any damp spots. In fact, I had an attack of deja vu, reminded of walking through our half-finished house in early fall 1990...I had been working 6-7 day weeks and rotating shifts, and seemed always to be in a half daze, and that feeling all came back just for an instant.

Hopefully, tomorrow I will come home to find a big swath of glossy oak floor, with rugs on it. They may not be able to finish the whole floor tomorrow, though.
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