A Kitchen Remodel 1: Tongue-and-Groove Flooring

Last spring, flush with my tax stimulus money and tax refund burning a hole in our pockets, my wife and I decided to replace the 15-year old contractor-grade carpeting in our living room with hardwood.  After researching and looking at floors at several vendors and suppliers, we settled on a ¾” tongue-and-groove Bella Wood prefinished Brazilian Teak hardwood from Lumber Liquidators.

There were a number of reasons for this choice.  At the time, I was practically addicted to HGTV and it seemed like every renovation documented on that show featured Bella Wood products from Lumber Liquidators.  Second, while my wife has always wanted a cherry-wood kitchen, we chose the Teak because though it looks similar to natural cherry, it is much harder than cherry. We were concerned that grandkids and their dogs would be hard on a softer floor.

Of course, the project snowballed and my wife and I decided to extend the floor into the adjoining kitchen (replacing a dingy 15 year-old contractor-grade vinyl flooring and reducing the number of disparate floor surfaces by one. ) We resisted ripping up the narrow light oak flooring in the entry, but still blew the preliminary budget when we more than doubled the initial square footage.

I picked up the flooring in mid-May (just in time for the onset of the summer hiatus that educators are accustomed to (so long as they are not doing summer theatre or teaching summer school).

The ¾ “ tongue & groove flooring requires a couple of special tools.  One tool that I needed to use to blind-nail (well, actually staple) the flooring was a flooring stapler.  I found a Bostitch Mk III flooring stapler at a local supply store. This tool allowed me to fire a 2” long ½” crown 15-1/2 gauge staples through the tongues of each course of boards.

The Campbell-Hausfeld 2-gallon air compressor that I bought several years ago to keep air in my automobile tires was sufficient to drive the tool.

When I was preparing to install the flooring, I was faced with a dilemma concerning the floor vents.  I didn’t like the idea of sticking the contractor-grade floor vents that I had back into this new floor.  Unfortunately, the folks at Lumber Liquidators couldn’t hook me up with the wooden vents of the size that I needed, so I went online and found some flush-mount unfinished oak vents at Ennospace.com.    I was quite pleased with the result after a bit of stain and polyurethane.

I did the installation one adjacent section at a time, moving furniture, kitchen cabinets and appliances as I went.  I wanted to make sure that the flooring extended beneath the kitchen cabinets and appliances in case we ever made alterations to the kitchen cabinets.  As a result, the whole floor installation took about 3 ½ weeks.  It was a lot of work, but quite satisfying.

Although I made sure to bring the flooring inside, open the boxes and restack the flooring and allowed it to acclimatize in the space for 5 or 6 days, and took pains to install the courses of flooring snug to the preceding course I have noted that a few joints appear to have opened up over the past 9 months.  My guess is that the moisture content of the flooring was a bit high and the gaps have opened due to shrinkage.

The other thing of note is that contrary to my HGTV heroes, who seem to be able to gut and refurbish an entire home in 3 days, my latest handyman project took considerably longer

That’s enough for now! Have fun!  Be safe!

SJM

 

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