That Was Hard(wood)

It took more muscle and time than we hoped, but we’ve successfully pulled up the tile floor, cement board, subfloor and installed the new hardwood.  The rebuilding has officially started.  Ben tore out the tile on Monday night, which left us with a lovely kitchenette.  Simply a stove, microwave, and one cabinet.

He took the week off to work on the kitchen.  Fun vacation, right?  With the tile up, Ben, with a little of my help, painstakingly tore up the cement board.

Seriously, it was a pain.  The screws from the tile backing held like crazy and the nails were abundant.  Luckily, Handy Sammy came to help.

Removing the sub floor took a lot of muscle.  Some areas received too much muscle.  The boards flexed and some broke.  I’m not going to lie, I freaked out a little.

As always though, Ben had a plan.  True to form, things have to get worse before they can get better.  So, Ben started by cutting off the damaged boards, leaving a hole between the joists.

Actually, this happened in four spots.

Did you notice the chaos and mess?  And the fridge placement?  Anyway, back to fixing the gaping holes in our floor.  Ben screwed pieces of two by fours on each side of the hole into the joists first.

Then he covered the holes with pieces of 3/4 inch wood material.

Before we could get started on the floor install, we screwed every board  to the joists, just to prevent any squeaking.  That was a pain in the butt, too.  I’ve never had to use a drill for that long.  Makes me want to invent a cushy drill grip.  After all that screwing (haha), we laid down the rosen paper.

We had to nail one row of the wood perpendicular to the existing dining room hardwood floors.  It would have been way to difficult to line the new floor up with the old floor if we hadn’t done this.  Unfortunately, Ben laid this with the groove against the dining room floor.

Which meant he had to start installing from the stove side.  He had a few wires and the gas line to cut around.  The first few rows are always the most difficult to install, because everything is based off that.

Fortunately, the 5 inch wide planks installed quickly and easily.  While Ben installs the planks, I select which boards will go where.  I have a method to my madness, though.  First, I pick out the pieces of wood I like best.  These will go front and center.  This wood had tons of pieces with large knots, so I made two more piles.  One of the knotty pieces (not to be confused with naughty) and another of clean wood.

We had to remove all the trim that was against the floor, too.  The new floor is 3/4 of an inch lower than the old floor, so we’ll have to lower everything.

Ben borrowed an air nailer from a friend, which made the job quick and easy.

He wanted me to show you how great of a multi-tasker he is.  Here, he’s using both of his hands to nail and his foot to hold the clamp down.  Ooooh, ahhhh.

And here’s the floor we finished as of a few hours ago.

And now for some detailed shots.  The transition between the original flooring in the dining room and the new floor.

Toward the wall, Ben had to face nail because the other nailer can’t get that close to the wall.  That’s okay though, this won’t be seen as the cabinet will cover everything.

The back door landing looks great, too.  We still have to add a piece along the top of the stairs.

Now you’ve seen the most recent progress.  I’m hoping to get at least a sink back some time today or tomorrow.

Have you ever ripped out a beast of a floor?  Put down pretty new hardwoods?  Do you prefer wider planks?

22 thoughts on “That Was Hard(wood)

  1. We remodeled the kitchen in our old house a few years ago (yeah, sad we had to leave it right after we finished). Being without a working kitchen was hard. Removing tile is the worst! Luckily they tiled over the linoleum, so we just had to get down to that and then tile over it again. I know it is kind of a short cut, but who wants to scrape off linoleum if they don’t have to? Not me. Your new floor is absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

  2. Wow, it looks wonderful. We recently ripped up a ceramic tile floor in our dining room and installed a wood laminate. Removing the backerboard was the hardest part! There were so, so many nails holding it to the subfloor. The subfloor sustained a tiny bit of damage as well. It was crazy! And like you, I did freak out a little. But now that it’s all done, it looks great.

  3. Wow the floor looks amazing! I can’t believe how quickly you guys are getting your kitchen done, it seems like you just mentioned starting it you’re ready to put everything in its place.

    1. Thanks, everyone! We’re all loving it. 🙂 It’s nice to hear that the rest of you have had similar issues. You know, in the misery loves company kind of way.

      Robin, Actually, we are kind of getting things done quickly. I’m pretty impressed with Ben. We’ll see how much we can actually get done this week. After that, it might be slow because we seem to fizzle out. Haha. Hopefully we can keep chugging along.


  4. It looks amazing. I love the color and can’t wait for the finish product.
    Hang in there it will be worth it in the end. We are planning on redoing our ugly kitchen next winter and I can’t wait…until then I will dream.

  5. The floors look beautiful!! I’m enjoying all of your kitchen progress (and Ben is a rock star)!
    We just bought our house in June and this time around we went with one that only needed personal touches. No major renovation. Our kitchen floors need to be regrouted but they are blue slate and have radiant heat under them. That and backsplash tile are the hardest things we need to do in the kitchen. We love it – and it has concrete countertops. ;>)

  6. I LOVE the wider planks, and your floors look gorgeous! We had wide plank hand-scraped bamboo installed in our new house and I love it. (except now we can’t sand and re-finish them unless we want to get rid of the hand scrapey-ness, which I hadn’t thought of with kids and a beast of a dog…it’s our first house; live and learn!) I’m doing a simple tile backsplash on our tub and I’m SO nervous! You guys are so brave!

  7. Oh, and if you don’t already have a hardwood cleaner you like, I have really loved Bona (after trying several that were kid/pet safe, this one seems to do the job the best), it has a nice smell, dries quickly and is easy to use.

    1. Thanks again, everyone!

      Jen, You know it! Completely excited. I think it will be amazing, especially when we get the cabinets in. 🙂

      Vonda, Ben is a rock star! I completely agree. 🙂 Your kitchen floors sound beautiful.

      SallyHP, Yeah, that would be tricky. The backsplash shouldn’t be too bad. Ben likes the pre mixed mastic because you can use only what you need while working. So, it might be worth a try. And, I’ll have to look into the cleaner. Thanks for the heads up!


  8. Beautiful! Love the color…not too dark, not too light. And those wide planks….swoon….

    Nice job! Can’t wait to see it all finished.

    We had to pull up 2 layers of linoleum and a second layer of subfloor in my husband’s condo right after he bought it. Yuck!

  9. I cannot believe how quickly your kitchen is coming along! I am sure it feels like an eternity, especially with two little ones, but a few summers ago I went without a kitchen for about two months (and with two little ones as well!) I was thankful for our bathtub for dishwashing and our grill for cooking! The progress looks wonderful so far! I especially love how the transition of hardwoods turned out!

  10. Meggan S, That doesn’t sound like fun. At least it’s done though! 🙂

    Beth, Thank YOU for following along and encouraging us! It’s nice to think we’re inspiring others.

    Catie, It is going pretty quickly, but it’s a pain to not have a kitchen sink.
    The rest of it is do-able, but our bathroom sinks are not equipped for this. 🙂 Sadly, our weather isn’t cooperating with outdoor cooking. And thanks so much for your compliment about the transition.


  11. that floor looks a lot like ours- ours is walnut-stained hickory; is this similar. we bought and returned two other sets before we found the perfect wood. i like your style; i found your blog looking up Autumn Fog paint. looks like we have similar taste!

    1. Hey Amanda, We actually got the floors from a local shop on a close out sale. I don’t recall the brand but the color was Montana Cabin, I think. Hope that helps a little…


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