New Wood Floors

When we bought our house, we knew we would have to replace the flooring in the main living area before we could move in.  The previous owners had installed a combination of wood flooring and carpet, and both had been ruined beyond repair (please excuse the poor cell phone photos – the camera was packed away – nowhere to be found).

Being the DIY’ers that we are, hubs and I recruited some friends and set to work ripping out the carpet (that was the easy part), and chiseling out the old wood flooring (the nowhere near easy part).  When I say chiseled, that is exactly what I mean, peeps. We started the project using a drill with a chisel attachment and a metal floor scraper, but the wood was glued to the concrete sub-floor with super industrial strength glue and the drill kept overheating.  While waiting for it to cool down, we broke out the hand-held chisel, rubber mallet and crowbar.  Needless to say, the going was slow.  And tedious.

Unfortunately, after all of that hard work, we were left with a rather unexpected result.  The glue that had been used to install the previous flooring was so strong, it actually pulled up chunks of the concrete sub-floor along with the wood in some places.  What we were left with, after four straight days of chiseling, jack-hammering and crow-barring, was a wood-less sub-floor with so many craters it resembled the surface of the moon (and some blistered hands and sore backs). Lucky for us, they make stuff to fix the flooring problem.    Hubs jetted over to Home Depot and picked up several buckets of concrete filler and we set to work filling the craters and leveling the floor.

I’m all for DIY, but let me just say, if you can afford to hire the demo out, save your backs and do it!  It is not an easy job and probably better left to the professionals, with professional tools and experience.  I’m just say’n…

Once the concrete filler had dried and cured, we were ready to start installing the replacement flooring.  Due mostly to our strict time restraints, we chose a click-and-lock engineered hardwood that we “floated” on top of the concrete sub-floor.  This flooring required a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from “wicking” up through the concrete sub-floor and to help aid in leveling out the sub-floor, from all of those patched up craters.  We went with 5″ wide, hand-scrapped birch planks, in a medium-dark stain, that will (hopefully) be forgiving of lots of everyday kid and dog activity.

Laying the wood floors seemed like a piece of cake after all the demo work, and once we found a rhythm, it went really fast.  Of course, it helped having really great friends, with tons of DIY experience, to help!  The floors took a couple of days to finish, but the click-and-lock couldn’t have been easier, and we couldn’t be happier with the results!

As you can see, the walls in this room also received a fresh coat of paint.  There is still much more to do (paint all the trim, replace furniture, decorate), but the floors are done and the room is now “livable”.  A few more boxes to unpack (maybe I’ll find my camera) and we can move on to the next project….

Thank you for visiting,


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