Every time I share what I’m working on, people comment saying “How did you learn to do that?!” and the truth is….I learn mostly everything online.
I draw inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram just like everyone else. When I finally land on a design that I love and functions for our family, my next step is to decide how I’m going to bring it to life.
Should I hire this out or tackle it myself?
I debate this for almost every single project if it’s big enough. My first step is typically to get a bid from a professional. While that is happening, I research the steps and tools necessary to get it done. If I have most of the tools and feel confident that I could at least try – I’m going for it!
Believe me, I’ve called in reinforcements before. For example, Kyle and Savannah helped me with my kitchen makeover and in the living room, I needed some help to finish the demo of our stone hearth.
But in this case, for the project I’m sharing today, I did a project I’ve never done all by myself…with encouragement from Craig and all of you!
I INSTALLED HARDWOOD FLOORS!!
Where did you install them?
As part of the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, I’m building a kitchenette in our Billiard Room! It’s going to be so epic. There was carpet in this room that was replaced last month. For the kitchenette I needed something a bit more durable that still blended with the rest of the house.
You can check out the entire project game plan right here! It’s worth a look.
Cost of Hardwood Floors
It’s common knowledge that hardwood floors are pricey. I mean, they are literally solid wood, and wood is expensive these days! I removed the carpet and prepped the floor for wood. When I got to that point, I called in an expert floor installer to get a quote.
I knew I needed to at least see if this is was something I should hire out. Some projects require a professional that has all the right tools. To my surprise, it was going to cost $7,700 for materials AND installation of these floors!! I was SHOCKED. That was way more than I was ever anticipating for such a small space. I knew I had to at least try.
When it was all said and done, I saved $6,000 by doing this myself – including the new tools I needed to buy! If you don’t have any tools to start, this could cost more since you’ll need to purchase or borrow them.
These are the floors after I stained them to match the rest of our home:
Installing Hardwood Floors: The Tools!
To take on this project, I not only needed to purchase the wood, I also needed materials.
- Nailer and Heavy-Duty Pancake Electric Air Compressor Combo Kit
- Flooring Nailer
- Silicone Moisture Barrier
- Wood Conditioner
- Satin Triple Thick Polyurethane
- Common Oak 3/4 in. Thick x 2-1/4 in. Wide x Random Length Solid Hardwood Flooring
- Varathane Wood Stain in the color Walnut
How To Install Hardwood Floors:
Time needed: 2 days.
- Let Your Floors Acclimate
Once your floors arrive to your home, you’ll need to let them acclimate for at least 48 hours. Don’t skip this step!
- Prep Your Subfloor
This first step is very dependent on your existing flooring. You’ll need to make sure the surface, such as concrete, is clean and level. On top of concrete, you’ll want to make sure you have some type of subfloor. I linked the one I used above.
- Plan Your Expansion Gap
Hold up! Make sure you have an 3/4 inch expansion gap around the perimeter of your room. Hardwood expands and contracts with heat and other variables.
- Lay Your First Row
Your first and last row need to be installed manually. I read a tip to use the straightest plans first, so I made sure to do that. Once you have it lined up, nail it to the subfloor from the top of your board. Nail every 6 inches into the subfloor.
- Continue Laying Down Boards
When you reach the end of your board, grab a new one and align it with the board you just placed. Using a block and mallet, tap the board into the existing board until they are flush and even.
- When You Get To The End Of The Row…
Cut the last piece so it fits against the expansion gap.
- Installing Row 2
When you get to row 2, you’ll do the same thing, but you’ll need to tap the boards in vertically as well as horizontally so they are all flush.
- Beyond Row 2, Use A Flooring Nailer
The flooring nailer tool I have linked makes this process super quick. Once you have 2 rows installed, you’ll have enough room to switch from a block and mallet to a nailer.
- Installing The Last Row
When you get to the last row, you’ll want to switch back to installing manually vs. with the flooring nailer. Trust me! Cut the last piece to fit to the expansion gap.
- Clean Up!
The last step, and an important one, is to fill all of your nail holes with a similar color putty. This is what makes it look like a professional install!
If you’d like to keep up with the progress in this space, I’m sharing the behind the scenes on Instagram and updating on the blog with tutorials as much as I can!
The One Room Challenge is already challenging me in the best ways. I did it!