We have reached the end of our Yellow Brick Road vinyl floor! I hope everyone had a nice restful Labor Day weekend … because we didn’t. No sir. We labored our butts (and knees and backs) off laying our new hardwood floors. We had about 800 square feet of flooring that needed to be laid, so my parents came to visit to help us get it done. How nice of them, right?
The 800 square feet of flooring that needed to be laid went into the kitchen, dining room, living room, hallway and laundry room. The hallway and living room had carpet, pad, staples, tack strip and baseboards that needed to be pulled up, too. So, Scott and I knew that we had a mountain of work ahead of us this weekend.
My parents were scheduled to arrive around noon on Saturday. So, that morning Scott and I ripped up the hallway carpet and pad and got to work ripping up the tack strip and the hundreds of staples. Initially, Scott was using pliers to extract all the staples or hammer them in. After about 10 minutes of helping him I said, “This is really stupid. There HAS to be an easier way.” Then I remembered reading a blog post by Young House Love about how a floor scraper saved a ton of time with the staples.
So, I ventured to Lowe’s to buy one, and I’ll tell you what, that thing is awesome!!
Once we got all the staples up and the hallway swept, my parents showed up and they were ready to work. When it comes to projects like this, my parents get really excited and are crazy workaholics. Seriously, they are nuts. It took everything Scott and I had to keep up with my dad’s energy! We got a good chuckle when they stepped out of the truck wearing their “Support Team” t-shirts that we had made when we competed in the Ironman and Chicago Marathon.
My goodness. Haha! Anyway, back to the floors. First thing we had to do was lay a thin, black foam pad down in the entire room. This is supposedly to help cushion the floors to prevent squeaks and also to seal the the hardwood from the floor underneath.
Once that was laid, we could start laying our first row of hardwood. Any tutorials I read leading up to this said that THE most important part of laying the floors is to make sure the first row is straight. To help with this, the pros say to start your first row along the longest wall. We had these 1/2″ spacer blocks that set against the wall and then we bumped the floors up to it. The wall bowed in one spot, but otherwise, the first row was really straight.
Of course you don’t know how straight you actually made your first row until you get to the other side. All I have to say is BIG KUDOS to whoever built our house. All our rooms and hallway are as square as you could possibly get. This made the installation of our last row in each room a lot easier!
Once we had a few rows going, we came to our exterior carport door. We knew going into this project that the door would have to be trimmed because the door just cleared the “Yellow Brick Road” vinyl. We went ahead and purchased a new threshold and Dad and Scott measured where the door needed to be trimmed to clear the new floor and threshold.
Well, what they actually measured was the distance from the floor to where the door needed to be, but didn’t subtract how high off the floor the door already was. So we ended up with a little gap. And by little, I mean big.
Whoopsie! A new door isn’t exactly in the budget, but it’s no secret that I’ve wanted a new door there. So, although this mis-measurement puts us over budget, I’m really quite pleased! We ended up buying a steel entry door from Lowe’s similar to the one we already had. It also happened to be on sale for Labor Day. Booyah!
The other tough part about laying the new floor (or I guess any floor for that matter) is making sure the flooring matches up with all the interior door thresholds. We knew that we didn’t want to tear out all the trim around the doors so we went ahead and purchased this awesome, time-saving oscillating tool from Lowe’s that you can use to trim the bottom of the doors. This was also featured in the Labor Day sale, so even more awesomeness!
By 10 p.m. Saturday night, we had laid floors in the dining room, kitchen and part of the hallway. And we were beyond exhausted. After church on Sunday, we started it all up again by moving the living room furniture into the dining room.
Mom and Dad finished up the hallway and laundry room while Scott and I ripped up all the carpet in the living room. Around 4 p.m. the living room was prepped and ready to go. Dad was really itching to get this room done, and man did this room go fast! Since it’s essentially one big rectangle, we had “fun” laying all this pretty quickly.
Mom’s main job throughout all of this was to direct which flooring pieces went where to make sure no seams matched up so the floor looked as random as possible. Scott was the main one laying the floor and tapping the pieces into place. Dad helped Scott, but was the one running the table, miter and hand saws. I was in charge of mixing up the cartons to make sure all the pieces were random.
The best system was to lay out all the pieces for each carton and then stack the 2nd, 3rd and 4th carton pieces on top of each one. It was a little bit of a hassle but really made a big difference to randomize colors and patterns.
After getting halfway through the living room, we were all getting pretty tired.
On Monday, Dad removed the two lights and fan that were in the dining room and replaced it with a new chandelier. He also installed our new pendant lights over the bar.
Another item we updated was our old, NASTY metal registers. They were rusty and super gross. We replaced them with these new plastic resin ones from Lowe’s that you can actually stick in the dishwasher!
Okay, so here is the moment you have all been waiting for … the big before and after!
We are quite literally floored by the transformation. We keep walking around saying, “Is this the same house?! Is this our house?!” We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE every inch of it and are so happy with the way everything turned out. Yes, it was a lot of work, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Granted, we aren’t out of the woods yet. We still have bunches of crown molding, board and batten and baseboards to install. Not to mention painting the ceiling and patching a couple holes where the old dining room ceiling lights used to be. But until then, you will find me laying on our floors in random parts of the house.
It’s soooo awesome and we absolutely love the quirkiness of the wood grain, too. It’s almost like little mini art pieces scattered around the house. Like this one in the kitchen:
I know this post is getting super long, so I’ll leave you with one last photo that I found on my camera back when we were installing the cabinet doors. Scott was having fun and snapped this smiley face, complete with eyebrows: