Happy 3-day weekend! Whee! We’re celebrating by doing nothing. Today is our first official day off since we started this uproot-our-whole-life-and-move-to-a-new-state thing over a month ago. One word: whirlwind. Three more words: feelin’ kinda dizzy. We think we’ve earned a day of playing hookie from our home renovation. Our plan so far is to go on a relaxing run, hang out in the yard, fire up the BBQ, and maybe walk over to the local brewery in the evening. We’re resting up today so we can hit the renovation hard tomorrow and Monday. Stay tuned for that!
In the meantime, let me regale you with a tale of how our crusty floors got an upgrade. That’s fancy-talk for “please read my very long-winded story.” My brain is already in day-off mode, people. That’s as much of a segue as you’ll get out of me today…
While I was prepping the Smurf room for demolition, Bradley was off on a top-secret mission in the guest bedroom. It wasn’t until I heard hammers banging that I realized he was doing something I should probably be photographing. I grabbed my camera and ran over to see what was going on. This is what I found:
I. Was. Livid. “We have a deal! You’re supposed to tell me when you’re moving to the next step so I can photograph it!”
The man didn’t even slow down. “It’s not a big deal,” he said. “It’s just one plank.”
And that’s when my head exploded. “We were supposed to write about that one plank! How you took it out. How you replaced it. There’s a naaaaaarrative, and you just screwed it up!”
OK, yes, I may have been a tad dramatic. But to be fair, it was really early in the morning and I was still recuperating from my wallpaper disaster. Bradley chose the wrong time to go rogue. Luckily for him, he makes my coffee every morning. I never stay mad at him long enough to jeopardize my morning cup.
Not gonna lie — I’m a total cavewoman if I don’t get my coffee. I can manage grunting and poking at stuff until I get at least a cup or two in me. This is generally why I get all the smash-em-bash-em early morning demolition jobs and he gets to do the stuff that requires brains and finesse. It’s also why you’ll see this in a lot of our photographs:
I’m in love with my Contigo travel mug. Can’t recommend it highly enough.
Anyway, after a few minutes of huffing and puffing, I got over it and got caught up to Bradley’s progress. By the time I showed up, he had removed one of the damaged planks from the guest bedroom closet:
He had all off the replacement planks cut and ready to go:
We had picked up some basic pine boards from Lowe’s a couple of weeks ago. Bradley had used a table saw to cut all the planks down to the lengths and widths we needed. He also cut grooves in one side. The plan was to simply remove the old damaged plank and snap the new plank’s groove into the adjoining tongue. Tongue-and-groove flooring. Easy peasy.
The plank had other ideas. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First, Bradley used a prybar and hammer to rip out the crusty old planks:
Sounds easy, but it took longer than anticipated. There was a lot of hammer-hammer-hammer, yank-yank-yank.
One of the planks was so damaged that it kept splintering off and Bradley had to do a lot of prying:
And a lot of hammering:
Once he had all of the wood completely removed, Bradley took his pre-cut plank and slid it in place:
…only to find out that it didn’t quite fit.
The plank was a teeny bit too wide, and the old tongue-and-groove was slightly off by what we had anticipated. My suggestion was to use a hammer and “bang it in.” Smash-em-bash-em-cavewoman-demolition style. Instead, Bradley measured out the slot:
Then he measured out the plank:
He used a spare piece of wood as a template, and clamped it down to the plank he needed to cut:
This way he could run a circular saw along the ledge and get a perfectly straight cut. He also used a chisel to shave off a little more of his groove:
Finally, he slid the plank in place and hammered the groove into the tongue:
Then he hammered the butt end of the plank so it slid up tightly against the wall:
Annnnd then he pried the whole thing out because he still needed to cut it to the proper length:
If he had just gone with my “bang it in” suggestion, we would have saved, like, 15 minutes. But noooooo. Someone can’t have floors that have hammer dings all over them. Floor snob.
After cutting the plank to the correct length, Bradley slid it back in place. It fit perfectly:
Before sliding in the neighboring piece, Bradley used the Flashlight app on his Droid to peek around under the floor:
Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to document what I saw. Mainly I saw Paris, I saw France, I saw a carpenter’s underpants. But I also wanted to point out all of Bradley’s pants accessories. Here’s a better view:
From L to R: boxcutter (in its own little pouch!), carpentry pencil, a bajillion keys, tape measure.
He also has, at any given time, the following items in his pockets: an overstuffed wallet, a wadded-up paper towel, Carmex, and a Swiss Army knife. It’s a wonder his pants stay up at all.
Look at that perfect fit. All that was left to do at this point was nail down the floor to the beams underneath. Bradley used finishing nails for that, so the hole was pretty tiny. Since we have to plane and sand these floors, though, he wanted to set the nail — drive it a bit deeper into the wood. That way the nail heads don’t snag the planer or sander.
Bradley didn’t have a nail set with him, so he improvised. He took a much bigger nail:
Set the pointed end on top of the finish nail:
And gave it a couple of whacks with a hammer:
Once he did that, the finish nails were no longer visible. All we could see were the 3 holes where there used to be nail heads:
After that, he pulled out the planer and shaved the wood so it was flush with the floors around it:
Now all we have to do is sand and paint all the floors and you won’t be able to tell that we patched the wood at all!
In addition to the patch job in the closet, Bradley also had to patch the missing chunk of floor in the guest bedroom:
Remember that one? We unscrewed it and found a sealed up chimney underneath. Here’s what it looked like by the time Bradley was through with it:
The little crescent-shaped hole is still there, and right now, all I can see is the site of a future stiletto-heel-related accident. Bradley assures me that a) not many of our guests will be traipsing around the guest bedroom in stilettos, and b) it will be plugged and sealed up at a later date. For good measure, I’m planning on putting a bookshelf in that corner and covering the entire holey area. Just in case. Because you never know. I refuse to have the hypothetical death of a fabulous pair of shoes on my conscience.
What we learned in this project:
- No nail set? Just use another nail to drive your finish nail down!
- Patching old tongue-and-grove works great in theory. Realistically, old floors have probably been sanded down a few times, and the tongue is not where you think it’ll be. When all else fails, chisel.
- Bradley can do whatever he damn well pleases, as long as he keeps shoving coffee down my gaping maw.