When I saw what he did, I was floored!

I’m currently on annual leave, it’s been a year since I’ve had some time off so I thought I’d take it while the kids were home from school. The problem is that I always end up regretting that I haven’t done enough, so I try to madly go around and tick off a few jobs in the last couple of days. Generally this means I leave a bunch of half finished jobs behind when I go back to work. This time though I managed to motivate myself to get some jobs done at the start of the holidays, so now I can bask in my laziness for the next few weeks guilt free.

Today’s job was laying tongue & groove floorboards in my bedroom. The flooring came from a renovation my brother in law did last year, they had a really attractive floor which was only a year old, but decided to pull it up and install tiles instead. Seeing as the floor was going to be scrapped, I hopped down and pinched the lot. I installed some in the back half of my house, it covered two rooms and a small hallway and drastically improved the look. That job took me around 3 days to get through. I gave myself a strict 8 hour limit for my bedroom today, and did it with hours to spare.

So when I promised my wife I’d fix our room and remove the hideous old carpet we had in there, AND that I’d do it in a day, she rolled her eyes but gave me her blessing. So at the bright and early hour of around 10:45am, (I am on holidays don’t forget.) I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

The steps are pretty straight forward:

  • Remove furniture
  • Rip up carpet
  • Install floor lining (I got lucky here, there were two layers under my carpet and the bottom one was in perfect condition.)
  • Install boards
  • Replace furniture and reap the rewards!

As my boards are second hand I did have to spend a bit of extra time prepping each one before I started anything. I ran through the grooves with a chisel and made sure that there were no broken wood fragments hidden in there which would stop me from tapping the joints closed. I also fine tuned any tongues which seemed bent or crooked with the chisel. Other than that, it was as though I was installing brand new boards.

The tools required to lay this are nothing special, and you probably have most already:

  • A couple of chisels, one sharp and one “beat ’em up” one. The sharp one is for cleaning the boards, the old one is for the demo work you will come across, removing skirting boards, carpet stripping and the like.
  • A drop saw to cut boards to length. A table saw or jigsaw works as well, but the drop saw makes it very easy. I put mine on the front porch so it was only a couple metres from my room.
  • A regular handsaw. You will need to cut away around door jambs, a handsaw lying flat on a scrap of flooring is the best way to do it. (Unless you have one of those fancy pantsy reciprocating flush cutting thingies. I don’t even know their proper name.)
  • Regular claw hammer. Used for everything.
  • A jigsaw, very useful for cutting out any odd shapes for doorways and heating vents.
  • I also highly recommend having something like this: Laminate DIY kit. I installed these boards last year without one of these but bought one for today. You can see the difference in the installation straight away, today’s joints are perfect and flush, the ones from last year never looked as good.
  • A table saw or circular saw. The last row of flooring will not be full width, you’ll want a power tool to rip it down.

Here’s a few photos of the days events. Be forewarned, it’s hard to take nice interior shots with a phone camera, and also I’m bloody tired and sore from being on my knees all day so these probably aren’t the greatest shots.

Main point to take from this article though, if I can do it (and do a nice job), you definitely can as well!

To save time, I didn’t even completely empty the room. I just cleared a 1.5m strip that I would work in at a time, hence, everything is pushed into this corner.

And here is the empty strip, and where I would begin my demolition!

Lovely carpet hey?

Run the stanley knife down the carpet, then pull it up and out. Remove the carpet underlay. I was lucky here, there was already a suitable floor underlay beneath the carpet one for me to lay on top of. I had already bought and cut new underlay to use, but didn’t need to use it.

I’m going to place a length of quad on the skirting boards to hide the floor ends so I don’t need to remove them. However I can’t run quad around the door jamb so I need to undercut it.

I used that scrap of flooring as a guide, and ran my handsaw along it, cutting into the door jamb. Then I just busted it out with the chisel and hammer. Now I can fit a board under it and hide the end.

All tucked under the door. The other lengths have been driven hard against the wall in this picture, but the other ends have a roughly 15mm gap to the wall. I then tapped them backso the gap was even on both sides, this is for any slight expansion which may occur, you don’t want the boards hard up on both ends.

It goes down so fast, progress is quick!

This room was just a square, so there are no more pics until I reach the last row. In this photo I have cut my two boards to length, and have just stacked them where they will go so I can measure the exact width they need to be.

This is where I need to rip the boards to width. Once again, I leave room for expansion.

And once the whole room is done, a good sweep and mop up makes them look new again.

A couple of hours later the furniture is back in, and that bed is looking mighty inviting… Pro tip, if you have knee guards, wear them. Your body will hurt at the end of the day without them.

Another terrible photo, sorry about that. But the job is done and it really does look quite nice, it is nice and solid to walk on, there is no bounce or dip so I am very pleased. Plus, the total cost was $25 for one tool to help install it! I think the wardrobe will be a project video soon, it’s time to replace those doors.
  • That title is one of my mightier dad jokes, I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂
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    • Wasn’t his house, he is a builder and was hired to renovate it for the owners. So it worked out well, the amount of wood I took would have filled half a skip bin, saved us both a little bit of cash!

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