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Old 04-22-2003, 09:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Installing hardwood floors

My wife and I want to rip up the carpet in our family room and put down hardwood floors. We were quoted $3200 for approximatly 400 Sq. Ft. Is this a good value, or should I try to do it myself. I am pretty handy and could definatly put down the hardwoods, but would hire someone to do the sanding and finishing? Or should I just go ahead and hire someone. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 04-22-2003, 12:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Last edited by boatguy234; 11-09-2009 at 08:57 AM..
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Old 04-22-2003, 04:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like you've already got your mind made up bro. If you're comfortable enough to lay the floor down yourself, go for it. As long as you have basic woodworking skills, you shouldn't have too many problems. I agree that the finishing should probably be left up to someone who does it on a regular basis. A real nice floor could be ruined by not getting a nice finish on it.

Good luck. Take some pictures when you're done and let us see the finished product.
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Old 04-22-2003, 04:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: P.R. Mass.
Do you have access to a chopsaw and table saw? If so, and you have the inclination, go for it! If you can get a hold of a random orbital sheet (floor) sander, that makes finishing super easy. Be sure to leave room for expansion on the edge of the room where it will be hidden by baseboards. Also, if at all possible, store the lumber in the room/floor to be installed to give it the opportunity to acclimate to temp and humidty levels.
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Old 04-24-2003, 05:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If the $3200 doesn't include install you should shop around a little. $8 a square foot isn't a bad price, but you can get better prices if you purchase unfinished wood. The major disadvantage to that is the sanding and buffing. Your house will be covered in wood dust for weeks. If you get prefinished, however, all you'll really need is a miter saw and an angle nailer. You MUST let the wood become acclimated to the room (48 hours minimum) before it's installed.

Another option people often dismiss right away is the laminate wood. It's a LOT easier to install, a lot cheaper, and it'll outlive you. If you get certain brands on the stuff with oak veneer you can actually refinish it (if you ever need to. The stuff comes with an aluminum oxide finish on it that's bulletproof). With the laminate wood, you can do the prepwork one morning, start the install that afternoon and install the finishing touches the next day. And honestly, with the new technological improvements, you really can't tell the difference. (Just don't get the 99cent stuff from Menards) Whatever you choose, you'll enjoy it.
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Old 04-24-2003, 08:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I want to say "Thanks" to everyone for the advice on my hardwoods. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to give me their thoughts. It is appreciated.
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Old 04-24-2003, 10:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's a bit pricey for 400sq feet. I laid 1200 sq feet for $6000cdn most of the cost was the wood. You can rent an orbital sander for fairly cheap. They are easier to use than the drum sander and give just as good a result. Finishing is easy, just lay it on with an applicator designed for the purpose. I used a pnumatic nailer that was designed for installing hardwood. It was a piece of cake. You will need a brad nailer for the last few strips along the wall cause the fancy hardwood nailer will not fit in the tight space. As mentioned above prefinished and laminates are really easy to install. They are also clean and virtually dustless to install. If you are living in the house that is a consideration. Another consideration is that the finnish takes 2 weeks to a month to fully cure to it's final hardness. You can use it after a couple days but it will scratch easily if you drag a chair or something across it. Oil base finish takes longer to harden but is a nicer finish than water base. As a hardwood guy what he fiished his house with, chances are it was oil base finish. The oil base finish smells strongly for a couple weeks then a bit for another month or so. If you are getting a pro to do it go on vacation while it hardens.
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Old 04-24-2003, 07:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I recently put in a laminate floor in our living room. approx 300 feet and it cost around 1700.00 with all the trim pieces. We installed it in 1 day. Had a locking system. No glue went in easy and looks great. The flooring was by Witex and had sound deadener already attached. Lots of choices, easy to install. Just another option. We used it that night, NO drying time. Looks Awesome too.
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Old 04-29-2003, 02:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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there seems to be lots of Witek offerings... which Witek solution did you use? Speedy plus? speedy plus S-lock? Country LocTec?

I'm looking to do around 800 sq feet and I don't want to do it. The wife thinks that I'm going to be able to do it with the help of her father.
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Old 05-03-2003, 04:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Chapel Hill
Another looking to do laminate.

As soon as exams end, we're looking to install laminate. We were set to go w/ hardwood, but a lower price and higher moisture resisitance is leading us to laminate.

We're leaning toward an Armstrong product carried at Lowe's. It called TimberRidge Heirloom Hickory (I think all Armstrong product lines that aren't glue are called Swiftlock).

The thing we like about it is that each plank is imaged as a single board. Further, the edges of each board have a bevel to create an interesting, if overly perfect, realistic look. Underlayment is already attached. 25 year warranty.

I'll post back w/ our results. Wish me luck!

Hint: Don't buy the quarterround mouldings that are sold w/ laminate flooring. They are 1) Expensive and 2) Because they're not solid wood, require every single one of your ends to have a mitered return to as to not to expose the MDF interior. We're going w/ cheap, paint quality quarter round and painting it to match the baseboards (Isn't it funny how the Pergo and Armstrong people try to get you to buy quarterround the color of the floor? Look at the display pictures at the flooring shop. Most mouldings are the color of the baseboard!)
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Old 05-03-2003, 05:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Louisiana
I am a contractor and have done quite a few floors. The Cryntel brand at Lowes is a REAL wood veneer, whereas the Armstrong is plastic. At about $27 for a carton that covers 9 sq ft, it is the best value, and looks really beautiful. No special tools needed, the adhesive acts as padding, all interlocking, it's great stuff for do-it-yourselfer.
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Old 05-19-2003, 07:19 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Okay.

I went to a flooring show room this weekend. This place OWNZ!!!!

The storefront held displays and was a witek laminate floor. They had an office that also had a laminate floor. But the showroom.. that was the piece de resistence. It was many different hardwood floors in different stains and patters. There was also a section with inserts.

After walking on the floors and seeing the laminates and hardwoods and comparing them side by side. The wife and I settled on bamboo plank hardwood floors, Its going to be more expensive than the laminates because of installation costs.

Luckily for us, the place we went was a wholesaler and since we found him on the internet is willing to sell direct.

Good luck to the rest of you!
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Old 05-19-2003, 10:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Toronto
My advice would be to do the sanding and finishing yourself too.

It's not that hard at all.

Use an orbital sander, not the drum style. Basically, you can be drunk with an orbital floor sander and still do a good job.

Use progressively finer grit paper.

Put on the first coat of varnish - best quality you can find, don't skimp on that. After it dries, you will have to give the floor another quick sand with a very light weight paper to remove the "stubble"

Then another coat of varnish.

Then another quick sand, but this time, even by hand with drywall sanding block

Then a third coat of varnish.

This time, the floor should still be smooth, if not, a light hand sand in any rough areas.

Then a fourth coat of varnish and you are done.

Sanding is what makes it come out right. Even the so called pros skimp when it comes to sanding.

Oh, and make sure you clean up all the dust between sanding and varnishing.

Or, if you really want to be ambitious, do it like they used to do hard wood floors in the 20's and 30's and 40's and that is to oil the floor with Danish Oil.

It's super easy to apply, just make sure you wipe it on, let it sit for maybe 3 or 5 minutest then wipe it off.

Whatever you do, don't let it sit too long, or it turns kind of sticky.

Give it another coat of oil the next day and another one after that.

Then wax the whole floor with Johnson Floor Wax.

You never have to sand anything between varnish coats because there is no varnish.

The oil and wax treatment looks GREAT and is authentic for older homes, and it doesn't scuff like varnish will.

BUT,

you can't allow the floor to get wet (water, spilled drinks etc.) because it will stain if the water sits there.

You will have to wax your floors every 3 or 4 years (at my place i oil and wax and it's not bad at all for maintenance.)

Oil - looks great, doesn't scuff, no sanding but you have to wax and you can't spill anything without mopping it up.

Varnish - scuffs, you have to sand between coats, but it protects the wood and is easy to clean.

Personally, i do the bedrooms and less travelled portions with oil and wax, and the main entrance hallway with varnish to protect from wet shoes and boots.
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