What we are doing:

In what spare time we have, we decided to spend it (and our savings) on remodeling our rowhouse in South Philly. When we purchased our casa it was a 3 story, 5 bedroom, 1 bath that hadn't been touched in 50+ years. It's currently a 4 bed, 2 bath construction site with so much more to do it's hard to believe.

We use this blog to mark progress, say hi to friends and family, rant about the process of remodeling, and try to have some fun along the way.

- Bryan and Christina

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hardwood floors and an instant love of being done.

Done*. There, it's nice to type that: D O N E*. The hardwoods have been successfully installed in the third floor bedroom. Now, as usual I have a caveat to my declarations, and this time it's that the floors we bought are unfinished red birch.

Whatever, those are the details that the devil resides in.

Right now I'm savoring the sweet smell of hardwoods being laid over 2 days this weekend, with a little extra help. My past experiences with hardwoods involved mainly walking on them and Swiffering as needed. But hey, everyone has to learn to live on the edge at some point.

Our friend Graham helped us (THANKS GRAHAM!) on Saturday to get the ball rolling. Luckily we own all of the tools needed like a chop saw, jig saw, air compressor, and even a table saw (which came in really handy for ripping boards). The only thing we needed was a floor nailer which we rented at the Depot.

Well in the end we rented three as the third time was a charm:
  • The first had a crazy "nozzle"/"adapter"/whatever. It's like someone took the real one off to use some industrial size air hose
  • The second looked the part, and we were excited to see that the thing would at least hook up to the compressor. Well, after hooking up the hose our hopes were dashed. Someone, it seems, decided to do some field repair on the rental and neglected to replace the main gasket. So air was just passing right through the thing. We soldiered on with a stiff upper lip, but all of the wads of duct tape couldn't help. It was a trip back to the Depot.
  • The third, it was just right! This time I made the guy at the Depot hook the nailer up and I even decided to try it on some flooring sample right there.
At this point we were like 2+ hours behind schedule and time moves for no man.

Once we got back everything went pretty darn well. Considering the weekend was like living in a Swamp around here (thanks hurricane Kyle), the floor went down with just minimal pools of sweat on the unfinished floors. (Christina chased me around with a bandanna for most of the weekend) What can you do?

Sunday saw me finishing the main part of the bedroom and then dealing with all of the cuts needed to wrap around the 4 closets in there. That was "fun" and "I can't wait until I can do that again". Yeah, that's it.


Whatever, after some total mental lapses involving tapes measures and being able to, well, actually measure, the floor went down. The last (and craziest) part of the install was at the third floor landing near the bathroom and along the stairs. There were 100+ year old spindles nailed into the original pine subfloor that we were going to obviously cover. Our solution? Use scraps of the floor as spacers of sort. Then I just stood on the stairs and reached up to cut them with my reciprocating saw. And it totally worked. The cuts aren't 100% flush with the flooring but they're close enough to make a HUGE difference.

The old bullnose was removed and some spiffy new stuff picked up by the Boss today. She does have a good eye I must say.

Anyway, the floors were run and cut to the end of the subfloor and the new bullnose tacked in. The only "problem" with the bullnose is that the edge curves gently 90 degrees and they didn't have that piece. So until we decide to lose our minds and pay $200 for a custom milled 90 degree curved piece that's like 4 inches long...there's going to be a gap. Sue us.

You basically see the final product in the picture to the left, but probably better on the right. See? Ok, so some spindles didn't make it though the flooring install, but they're in a nice little stack waiting to join their friends once again.

Just wait until we post the pictures of the plumbing fixtures now that they've been installed....and WORK!

Electricity (that was Friday) + floors (you know, unfinished) + plumbing = A happy house. Or at least until the stress of staining the floors happens...

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