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Old 01-06-2009, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
426 posts, read 1,358,665 times
Reputation: 176

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We're closing on our house in 3 weeks. We opted not to go with the builder's upgrades for flooring because it was averaging out to about $10/sq foot for level one upgrades. Outrageous. Anyway, we want to install hardwoods throughout the first floor. This includes the foyer, dining room, study, kitchen, living room and 1/2 bath.

There won't be any furniture, not even a fridge, when we do this. My question is: How hard will it be? I'm competent but not terribly handy. We're talking about 1200 sq feet. It seems a shame to pay someone to do this since for hundreds of those square feet it's going to be just laying down the boards and hammering with a pneumatic hammer, right? Oh, the floor is plywood subflooring if that matters.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:59 PM
 
Location: NH Lakes Region
406 posts, read 1,471,483 times
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I'm not sure what type of flooring you are looking at, but my brother is pretty handy and I follow directions with the best of them, and we used the Bruce hardwood flooring (tongue and groove) in my master bedroom and hallway in just a weekend. (bedroom was 10' x 18' and an L-shaped hallway - 10' on the long end) It's a bit of a pain, but I spent the entire day before pretty much "laying out" the boards, so I got a nice mix of shading and grains throughout the room, with the nicer ones in places I knew would not be covered by furniture or rugs or hidden by doors. Make sure you get your measurements right to have the boards "square" with the room, and leave a little room for expansion around the edges - that will be covered up by trim/molding when you're done. It took about two hours to get the first row laid out, but once you make the commitment, the rest of the boards go pretty fast (till you hit the opposite wall).

We rented one of the hammers for the weekend, and I cannot stress enough... GOOD KNEE PADS AND GLOVES!!!

I decided to go for it after having one of my spare rooms (9' x 13') done by a contractor... and I saved a huge amount of money by doing it "myself" and bargained down the price of materials by paying cash. Whenever I look at the floors, I get the satisfaction of knowing I did quite a bit of the work myself. (Families are cheap labor, too... all it cost me was a plane ticket for my brother, a couple meals, and a good night out on the town when it was done... don't allow the "hired help" to drink till AFTER the job is done) See if you have any friends or family that have done this and are willing to at least stop in for advice. Check out some of the home improvement books in the library, or a lot of the home improvement stores have a couple-hour class of "how to's" or booklets that can help you out.

Anyway, that is the route I took... I love the "beveled" look of the tongue and groove... but there are lots of other options out there! Trust me, if I can do this, it HAS to be easy!!!

Good luck!!!
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:00 PM
 
Location: where nothin ever grows. no rain or rivers flow, TX
2,028 posts, read 7,666,932 times
Reputation: 446
I did it myself with some dark bamboo flooring. i'd say everyone can do nailed down installations but gluing takes a bit of experience
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
14,622 posts, read 55,106,777 times
Reputation: 17714
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbanawan View Post
I'm competent but not terribly handy.
This is where you give pause for reflection.
I assume you are wanting to install prefinished hardwoods. Know how to use a miter saw? How about a jamb saw? Maybe a chaulkline? Feel confident about cutting off the bottoms of doors? Know what to look for when prepping the subfloor?

Depending on the type of threshold at the exterior doors- is there enough room? Or would it require resetting the doors? Do you have stairs where the hardwood would be; and will adding the hardwood throw off the rise on the first step?
How about the baseboards? What size are they (3 1/4")? Where are they set? How will they look when "shortened" 3/4" and then have shoe mould applied?
Still sound easy? Just food for thought.
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
426 posts, read 1,358,665 times
Reputation: 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
This is where you give pause for reflection.
I assume you are wanting to install prefinished hardwoods. Know how to use a miter saw? How about a jamb saw? Maybe a chaulkline? Feel confident about cutting off the bottoms of doors? Know what to look for when prepping the subfloor?

Depending on the type of threshold at the exterior doors- is there enough room? Or would it require resetting the doors? Do you have stairs where the hardwood would be; and will adding the hardwood throw off the rise on the first step?
How about the baseboards? What size are they (3 1/4")? Where are they set? How will they look when "shortened" 3/4" and then have shoe mould applied?
Still sound easy? Just food for thought.
This the the sort of thing I need. A reality check. I just want to be able to justify spending the money on the installation if I go that route. If it's easy, it's hard to justify. If it takes more expertise than I have, I want to have someone do it. Preferably, with my help, both to reduce cost and so I can learn how.
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:26 AM
 
7,100 posts, read 25,438,946 times
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One of the problems with do-it-yourself hardwood flooring is that it take some practice and skill to lay the floor so that it has room to swell or shink as the weather and humidity changes. It tends to shrink with colder weather and swell when the humidity is high. When the floors of an addition in our house was done, the contractor brought the wood over several days early so that it would adjust to our normal home temperature.

Sanding is another problem that improves with practice. And getting up ALL the dust. That's the secret to a good finish.

If you decide to have it done, ask what will happen if the boards do swell. Will they come back and correct it?
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
763 posts, read 2,346,887 times
Reputation: 714
So far in my house remodel I've laid a bamboo floor in the dining room - glue down install - laminate in the kids' playroom, hall and both bedrooms and hardwood in the foyer, living room and stairs - nail down install. I ripped out all the carpet and removed the baseboards and got the necessary tools before starting. The nail down wood floor was easiest followed by the floating laminate with the glue down floor being the most difficult.

I'm a 37 year old stay at home mom and did most of the work while the kids were at school and the hubby at work. If you have an aptitude for measuring and using power tools, can read and follow directions and pay close attention to detail, I don't see why you couldn't do it yourself and save some serious money!

One thing to consider - when we built our first house, we had the builder leave the bonus room floor unfinished because we wanted to lay ceramic tile ourselves. When we got to the final inspection, the bank held up the closing because the floor wasn't finished and we had to bust our tails over 1 weekend tiling a 400 sq/ft room so we could close on time since we had to vacate our rental the following Tuesday morning! Fortunately, this was a custom build and we had access to the house while it was under construction so we could get it done.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
37,005 posts, read 64,347,440 times
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I installed prefinished oak floors, about 700SF in our current home.
And about 450SF of unfinished oak in prior home.

The possible compromises that K'ledgeBldr mentions are spot on.
Transitions to other floor treatments should be consdered too.

Intricate work around fireplace, columns, moldings, and in your case, cabinet and lifting and reinstalling a toilet in a half bath, all will impact the perceived quality of the job.
It would be better if the vanity was raised the 3/4" too.

This is not rocket science, or a terribly difficult job, but your "...not terribly handy..." really stands out.
I have seen some handy homeowner wood floors that look just terrible, after all the expense and effort.
FWIW, I have seen some professional jobs that weren't a lot better. Particularly on sanded floors.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:45 PM
 
8,415 posts, read 36,906,371 times
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Start with the room that wont be used hard or seen a lot. I don't think its very hard its more..awkward to do it. They do have classes at hardware stores that are free workshops. You may want to ask around in your area for ones that offer that. Anything like that is always easier when you see someone who knows what they are doing..do it first.
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,420 posts, read 46,477,771 times
Reputation: 10467
I wont add anything more to all those who did their own. I will however say do not let the builders quoted price scare you into handling the job yourself.

If the builder quoted you $10 SF then I promise you that the builders sub contractor is charging him $5 SF. That is how it works. I know because I do it. The sub charges the builder $5 SF and the builder automaticly doubles that and that is the price charged to the customer. This is the case with any trade and any option.

So....knowing that. Think about finding your own floor layer. I promise you that all the ones I know charge from $4 to 8 SF. Im talking small private contractors. Your challenge is finding one you can trust.

Sorry but laying flooring is not really a weekend andy job. Did you know that you have to place your entire purchase of wood flooring inside your home and leave it sit to acclimatize for at least a week before you can even lay it? Especially if it was delivered from a humid place to a dry place or visa versa.

There are little things that one can not know. I can tell you this. After almost 30 years in the construction industry, I have been in many many thousands of homes. And in these homes the homeowner is bragging to me how nice his weekend project turned out and how much money they saved. Im almost gagging inside my tummy looking at the horror of a handy andy job.

If you make a mistake.......that will be a very expensive mistake. What's your time worth? How much will it cost to rent the special tools to do the job properly? Just something to think about
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