Handy Hubby is taking over today! He deserves a round of applause for the crummy, frustrating job that was replacing some of the floorboards in our closet (which you saw on Monday had been installed around the closet organizer). Here’s his explanation of how he did it:
We lucked out because the previous owner had left a box of flooring from the original job. This saved us
having to colour match or try to track down the original brand. We
brought it in the house the day before to acclimatize. More time is usually
better though. Some companies will stipulate a week for the best results. This ensures the boards don’t gap the day after installation.
I first removed the closet baseboard with a flat pry bar. Some of the
paper from the drywall stuck to it from being painted, so it’s a good idea to
cut the edge with a knife first. I was not too worried about keeping the
baseboard, as we knew we could replace it with new stuff. However, if you
go slowly you can usually get it off with minimal damage.
After I got the baseboard off I noticed a roadblock. The hardwood was
installed right to the drywall, actually pushing it in slightly. For
those of you that don’t know, wood expands and contracts across its grain as
humidity levels change. For this reason, hardwood floors should be
installed with a gap around the sides. This gap is covered by the
baseboard (attached to the wall) and quarter round (attached to the floor).
As can be seen from the photos, there is a square of flooring that was located
under the old closet fitting. This was relatively easy to pry up, as it
was not pressed into the wall very much and I could pry from each end. It
was also nailed down with smaller nails, as a flooring nailer probably would
not fit under the closet fitting.
The rest was a bit harder. This floor had no gap around the
walls, defeating my plan of inserting a pry bar into the wall gap to lift the
first board. I tried for awhile, but began to destroy the drywall.
I was actually carving out the drywall in order to raise the board
closest to the wall. This was not going to work. There was no room
for the board to rise vertically.
On to plan B, which is the way I have typically seen it done. This can also
be used for removing boards in the middle of a floor. I took a circular
saw (also referred to as a Skil saw) and set the blade depth to 3/4″, the
thickness of the floor board. I then ran the saw along the length of all
the boards, as close to the wall as I could, next to the seam on the board.
This basically created a 1/8″ gap and cut the tongue off so the
boards were not connected.
Once this was done I was able to start to pry the board from the exposed end
where the square was. Because the board was no longer attached to the one
next to it, it was much easier. I used a flat pry bar and a hammer.
Once the first row, next to the wall, was out, the remainder was much easier.
Unfortunately I was not able to save all the boards, but I was not counting
on it. This is where making sure I had enough to do the whole closet
beforehand adds to the peace of mind.
Once all the board rows were out I swept the sub floor and removed any nails so
the surface was clean. Using a rubber mallet (to snug the boards into
place) and a 12 gauge air nailer I installed the new boards to complete the
floor. I made sure to leave about a 1/4″ – 3/8″ gap between the
floor boards and the wall to account for swelling, and the next person who
wants to take up the floor. We found nearly identical baseboard, painted it orange, cut it, and installed it once the walls were painted.
Isn’t Hubby handy?!?
The discovery about the flooring being installed improperly by the former owner, who wedged them tight against the walls, has me worried that we could see problems down the road. It has me thinking that, in a few years time,
when we totally gut the kitchen and re-do the floors in there (and the
adjacent laundry room and half bath), maybe we should just install new flooring everywhere in the house so it’s all uniform (save for
the entryway and main bathroom, where I’d love a dark grey slate tile). I’d
love to go with something light, maybe a pale grey-tinged bleached oak,
with wide planks. The idea
has me lingering in the flooring section of the hardware stores these