Solid wood flooring installation

Discussion in 'Jims Woodworking' started by jeremiad, May 5, 2008.

  1. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    I know that wood flooring installation hardly qualifies for fine furniture building, but...

    I finally made the plunge and decided to rip up the old upstairs carpet and install new solid wood flooring. I caught a good sale and decided to purchase.

    This is solid wood, 3"x3/4" ash planks, prefinished.

    I will be nailing into 3/4" plywood subflooring.

    I have two staircases to finish off, complete with stairnose along the front and sides of the treads on one half-open staircase.

    If any of you have some advice to help this newbie, I would appreciate it. As you can tell, I have taken on a mighty big challenge, complete with ~800 square feet of flooring and two set of stairs!
    :0a28:
     
  2. fish

    fish Active Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    ChattanoogaTenn
    Joel, that is one heck of a project, your back will never be the same again.LOL How are you going to rework your stairs? Are you planning to remove all your treads and risers and replace them or just go over them with new wood? If you plan to just add new wood over what is there now, your bottom step will be taller and your last step will be shorter and can cause someone to stumble.

    I love Ash, it is a beautiful wood, especially if it is stained. Are you going to shoot your flooring down or glue it, or both?

    I am sure you already know about leaving a space between all of your walls and flooring for expansion.
     

  3. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    Jim, thanks for the reply.

    The stairs are currently covered with thick padding and plush carpet; I do believe that replacing the carpet with wood will actually reduce the stair height a little. Unfortunately, in that there is no wood flooring in the house, who knows what the subfloor looks like under that carpet! :embarassed:

    I haven't decided yet whether to build out the riser to match the tread nosing, or cut the tread flush. I know of one installer that always cuts flush, but many others advise filling the gap with a board. I like the cutting idea, but it is hard work, especially to get it right near the stringers! I'll see how true everything is when I remove the carpet.

    The wood is to be delivered May 12. I have all the tools pretty much in place, and am concentrating on putting together a good, detailed plan for getting the job done.

    I look at this as a good opportunity to also paint and fix up everything else that needs doing. I figure I might as well do it while I have a little youth left in me! :roll_eyes:

    I will be using a Porta-Nails Hammerhead 402 manual ratchet nailer. I have used it and like it a lot. It was affordable enough to purchase outright, so I can take my time and not worry about rushing the job because of high rental fees.
     
  4. fish

    fish Active Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    ChattanoogaTenn
    Joel, it looks like you got a plan. I am with you, I would do all the painting and fixing up before all the new flooring goes down that way you won't have to be so careful. I know it will look great after you are finished. Would you post a few pictures after you are done?
     
  5. Lynne

    Lynne New Member

    Messages:
    187
    State:
    Klondike, TX
    Joel,
    Sounds like you are going to get a real work out. I think you will happy with the ash flooring. Heck wood working is wood working whether it is making furniture or remodeling your house. And one thing is for certain, you are always happy with the results of your labor.

    Keep us informed with your progress. The wife wants tp put wood flooring in the den but I am not sertain how to finish off the part the goes into the breakfast area. I like the curved end where the carpet meets the tile floor. I don't think I can bend to wood like that on the end of the floor.
     
  6. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    Well, all 2,800 pounds of 3" plank ash lumber finally arrived, along with 13 stairnose pieces that will fit on the staircase.

    The first picture shows the two staircases that will be my first project. They were carpet-covered until I ripped the carpet off. I was surprised to find hardwood treads and risers, as shown in the second picture. It is a shame that such beautiful woodwork was ruined by a thousand staples or more! :angry:

    Anyway, the first job of unloading the truck has been finished! Whew! :nosebleed:
    I plan on updating this thread as long as there are a few that might be interested. I'll share a few tips that I discover along the way. I already have figured out how to make my own splines (slip tongues), and a few jigs. I'll discuss them where appropriate.
     
  7. Lynne

    Lynne New Member

    Messages:
    187
    State:
    Klondike, TX
    Jere,

    I bet that was a job unloading. I know what you are talking about when you see people that cover up beautiful wood. I have seen a lot of that in my years.

    Yes, please do post as you go along, i find what you are doing very interesting. I love the beauty of wood and am thinking about doing the same thing to our den. The house we have has carpeting. My problem is where the carpet meets the kitchen tile floor there is a big S- shape and I would like to keep it because it adds to the appearence. I guess I could make a trim board but that's a lot of work for right now so I guess we will wait a while.

    Keep posting I think you will have a wonderful looking job when you are finished.
     
  8. fish

    fish Active Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    ChattanoogaTenn
    Joel, I am also interested in seeing your project as you progress. That is really a shame that they ruined that beautiful stairs like that. I have built a lot of stairs in my past career and can appreciate how beautiful that wood is. I also love ash as it is a wonderful wood to work with. We are looking forward to more of your pictures.
     
  9. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    Lynne,

    I know what you mean about those special features that you don't want to lose. You might want to check out http://hardwoodflooringtalk.com/, a site that has proven especially helpful to me. The professionals over there are quite helpful with such ideas.

    I figure that I'm not out of line referring you to a hardwood flooring forum, considering that this one is dedicated to catfishing-and-such! :big_smile:
     
  10. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    Jim,

    I'm awed by the beauty of this wood. I have opened several boxes of the ash 3" planks, and can hardly believe how absolutely stunning the wood really is.

    This is Bruce Abbington Premium 3" Plank Toast Ash. It is identical to the Liberty Plains line, but is simply the Home Depot designation.

    I had read a number of disparaging reports about Bruce hardwood, that the quality of their lumber was substandard, etc. I can truly say that I was surprised for once, in a good way! I have yet to find a single board that I would not put down on the floor.

    I removed the handrail from the stairs and cut the nosing from the stairs, both leading upstairs and down. I then cut plugs from the nosing to fill in the mortised hole in the stringer and spackled it smooth.

    Tonight I will paint the stringer and then start the downstair-case wood install tomorrow.

    I'll post pictures sometime this week!
     
  11. fish

    fish Active Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    ChattanoogaTenn
    Joel, I am surprised to hear that about Bruce flooring, I always heard it was really good flooring. We are looking forward to your pictures.
     
  12. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    Attached are pictures of the lower staircase that I just completed. I decided to cut the stairnose instead of trying to mortise into the stringer. A few trips to the saw made the difference.

    I used biscuit joints on the top mitered nose pieces. I inserted a spline and joined the ash to a piece of oak threshold that I finished; I thought the contrasting wood would make a great effect for the entrance to the stairs.

    Some lessons learned: miter-cut ends of boards that contact the stringer--they will fit tight and look sharp!

    Soak nails in 3-in-1 oil to prevent damaging the wood when blind nailing. Yes, I used PL 400 adhesive to glue the planks to the steps, Elmers wood glue between tongue-and-grooves, and blind nailed into the tongue as well. I don't think the boards are going to move! But then, there is nothing worse than squeaky stairs either.

    Make a jig for a drill press that will position planks at a 45-degree angle so that you can easily drill pilot holes through the tongues. I can now drill my holes quickly and efficiently.

    Finally, thank God for well matching filler. Wood filler covers a multitude of sins! :wink:
     
  13. fish

    fish Active Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    ChattanoogaTenn
    Joel, that is some beautiful work buddy, you did a professional looking job. That sure is some beautiful wood also. We can't wait to see more of your work.
     
  14. plainsman

    plainsman New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,187
    State:
    minnesota
    Lookin good, but sure seems like a big project for spare time work. Hope it keeps goin well.
     
  15. drpepper

    drpepper New Member

    Messages:
    6,133
    State:
    Indiana
    Wow, that's really nice, wish I'd caught this thread earlier on, I didnt think of doing my stairs like that.... that looks good!
    Still in the middle of mine, planking 700sq ft of floor, stairs, and kitchen cabs etc. and only a week left of vaction time to get 'er done, and I didnt fish a lick..... yet
     
  16. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    :smile2: I know exactly where you're coming from there! I feel envious every time I get on these forums and see that others actually have time to fish!

    On the other hand, I'm enjoying the experience, especially the stair work.

    Stair work is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is definitely enjoyable work. Here is where you put the pieces together one by one, cutting and trimming to fit, selecting the boards and patterns that you want. The main flooring work switches to quantity--bang those boards in place and git'r done!
     
  17. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    I apologize for not posting any updates for a while. I will try to post some pictures over the next week. So far I have finished two staircases, the hallway, my daughter's bedroom, and almost the entire middle bedroom (will be finished by the weekend). This leaves the Master Bedroom to go.

    I have enjoyed the project, and am certainly glad that I purchased a manual floor nailer. Having the nailer handy allows me to proceed at my own pace, and do it right (no rush job!).

    If any of you are considering installing flooring and have any questions, just ask right here and I'll see if I can help you out! :big_smile:
     
  18. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    Okay,

    I have been very delinquent in posting the pictures, but I have too busy doing the work! Anyway, here is where I am right now...this album is in my profile:

    http://www.catfish1.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1271

    These are pictures of my open staircase, lower stairs, hallway, and daughter's bedroom. I have finished a middle bedroom as well, but I don't have any pictures to post yet.

    I have one more bedroom to go: the master bedroom. I haven't finished yet because I decided to overhaul the master bathroom first. This has put the flooring project on hold for a while! :wink:

    If you have any questions about installing plank flooring, just ask. Some of the best advice I can give you though is to check out http://www.hardwoodinstaller.com if you are considering installing hardwood yourself. I learned everything I needed to know from this single site and accompanying forums--no kidding!
     
  19. Jacksmooth

    Jacksmooth Member

    Messages:
    574
    State:
    West Virginia
    Nice work Joel! Bruce hardwood is not top of the line but is very nice and affordable. Its pretty much all we ever used when I worked construction. You are doing a great job. Keep it up! Reps your way!
     
  20. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Wow! Awesome upgrades. You did some really good work!