Friday, November 25, 2011

John and Monique Are Thankful for Our New Hardwood Floor

This is what we like to call the "before" photo.  Notice the butt-ugly stained white carpeting on the left, and the painted subfloor to its right.  We pulled up 2/3 of that butt-ugly carpeting last year out of sheer disgust, but hadn't yet decided what to do in its place.  Monique slapped a cool painted design over the subfloor, which was fun enough for a while.  But we had tired of it.

Even Katie the Beagle looks depressed by this floor.

Eventually we settled on a plan.  We found 2/3 of a pallet of Home Legend hand-scraped maple saddle flooring on sale for 25% off in the surplus section at Home Depot.  It was just enough to cover our living room, and the color was just what we'd been looking for.  This is an "engineered floor." Each 3-1/2-inch x 35-1/2-inch plank has actual wood on top with a high-density fiberboard underside that clicks-and-locks in place to let you assemble a floating floor without having to glue or nail it together.  It also claims that the seven layers of aluminum-oxide protection on top will protect it for 55 years.  (I hope I get the opportunity to find out if that is so.  I sure as heck don't intend to undertake this project again for at least another 55 years!)

With the flooring purchased, we needed to find the time to install it.  So we took Thanksgiving week off from work and hoped that five days (Saturday-Wednesday) should be enough time to move everything, install the floor, then get everything back in place in time to host Arsen and Brigitte for Thanksgiving dinner.  In retrospect, we should've been hosting an HGTV film crew.  It was just the sort of arbitrary and ridiculous time crunch that those home-improvement shows love.

And now, to work!

Monique cleaning and prepping.  Next to the vacuum is our neighbor Mike's very nice mitre saw, which he was kind enough to lend us.  It made sawing the floor pieces a snap.  Thanks, Mike!

And now, a home improvement couplet:

Off, off with all the trim.
One shouldn't do this on a whim.

The craftsman at work. Note the stylin' work clothes. You can also see the first layer of the foam underlayer and the beginning of what would become giant piles and clouds of sawdust.  If we had this to do again, I probably would've set up the saw out on the porch. Fortunately, our neighbor Mike also loaned us his shop-vac and the attachment for the saw. Once I had that set up the cloud of dust was considerably reduced.

The first batch of flooring is in!

Monique plotting and planning.

Katie the Beagle has moved from depressed about the floor to suspicious of all the activity.

This corner is a pretty good example of the sort of measuring and cutting that needed to be done to make it all fit correctly.  To achieve excellence I employed a fine old home-flooring motto: "Measure twice, cut once, throw away the first board after you botch it, measure a couple more times, cut again, then cover with a crapload of trim."

In retrospect, I would've been well served to place my thumb a few inches farther to the left. Oh well, nine digits is plenty to finish this project...

Katie the Beagle continues to monitor the situation.

And now she comes down off the couch to help Monique fit a loose board.

Almost done!

The floor is in! Now John begins rewiring the home entertainment system while simultaneously delivering his masterful impersonation of an elephant seal.

Flooring in the sunlight.

Flooring in the shadows.

Katie the Beagle awards this new hardwood floor the Good Beaglekeeping Seal of Approval!

The floor was finished, the trim put back on the wall, and the furniture put back in place literally five minutes before Arsen and Brigitte showed up for Thanksgiving Dinner.  If this had in fact been an HGTV show, you would think we made up the timing of it all for TV.

This photo of Brigitte has nothing to do with the floor.  But it is hilarious.

John puts all of that sawing practice to good use on the turkey.

Katie the Beagle also awards the turkey scraps the Good Beaglekeeping Seal of Approval!

And now, with tummies full of turkey, festive Holiday Pumpkin Ales in hand, and a football game on the TV, it's time to kick back, relax, bask in the glow of our lovely new floor, and give thanks that we don't have to do THAT again anytime soon!



  1. Beautiful floor.
    Great looking dinner.
    Too bad about the Lions.

  2. Enjoyed your old quirky floor, but dang, this one is all nice and shiny. Nice work, guys. (Although, I have to admit, that picture of Brigitte doing god-knows-what pretty much stole the show.)

    Still admiring your fab new Family Room,
    Ryan Claytor
    Elephant Eater Comics

  3. Looks beautiful, John and Monique, and your blog-post was much more entertaining than an HGTV show -- and no commercials!

  4. Thanks, everybody! We're still pretty amazed at how well it turned out. Added bonus: today I'm enjoying sliding across it in my socks. Wheeeeeee!

  5. Nice. Hand-scraped maple! I need to start spending more time in the surplus section at Home Depot.

  6. Wow! Looks great! I wish I could take a slide on those boards!

  7. Your neighbor Mike says you are very welcome and that your floor looks great. :) By the way, when do I get my saw back. hehehe ;)