The bulk of our weekend consisted of getting the kid’s bedrooms prepped for the hardwood installation, with ever present iced coffee and pumpkin muffins. Best weekend ever? You decide.
The nursery, as I shared on Friday, we found to be easy to tackle because it was still mostly empty, but clearing Julia’s fully occupied bedroom, and them removing all of the floors was a task that took a day in and of itself (hence chaos, as seen in yesterday’s post). It was the biggest thing to plan for–where’s all her stuff going to go, how long will it be out of place, will we all be sleeping together on the living room floor–but having decided to move the bulk of it right into our bedroom, it came along smoothly.
We’ve all been excited for carpet removal, because with carpet removal we’ve been ever hopeful that we remove the persistent old lady smell that still greets us every time we come home. But with carpet removal comes tack strip removal, and the more exhaustive removal of thousands of staples that held the underlying foam in position. “Why so many staples?” we asked ourselves constantly; it would seem that there were at least two layers of carpet installed over the last 60 years, and when it had been last replaced, it was obvious that the old staples had never been removed, just masked over for simplicity, leaving us with double the amount of staples to clear with this job. Quick tip: Nix the pliers, turn on some good music, sport awesome kneepads. We found that wedging a flathead screwdriver in each staple worked the fastest at popping these babies free.
If you aren’t planning to salvage your underlying floors, maybe you don’t need to take so much time cleaning the surface, but as with the nursery’s oak hardwoods, we carefully removed the oak board by board, and then slowly worked on removing all of the nails so it can be donated or sold.
Notice the circle at the lower left of the next photo? All kinds of things relating to the house’s history are hidden beneath carpet. Here, we suspect a bad roof leak… the floors in that particular area were very damaged, very warped.
Clearing the staples and oak boards was one thing, and removing or tapping in nails that still popped up on the surface of the subfloor was another. When all was said and done and the subfloor was vacuumed to be free of all obstructions, we were able to begin laying the new underlayment that would be the underlying surface for our maple hardwoods.
Pete carried the 4’x8′ sheets into the bedrooms board by board, and we prepped each one with heavy duty Liquid Nails, not because it was a construction necessity, more because it was a nicety that we hoped would help anchor the boards tightly against the subfloor. Each board surface consumed 1 tube of liquid nails, adding about $2.60/board to our running total; the sheer volume most definitely surprised us, and meant we needed to run out for more not soon after we started in on Julia’s bedroom.
Because we’re covering big square rooms, the boards were really easy to measure for, and often they didn’t even need to be cut, just consciously installed in a staggered pattern so they had lapping joints. We used both a drywall t-square and a string chalk line to mark where the floor joists were so that our longer screws (2-1/2″ SPAX) went directly in where we wanted them to, an effort for nothing but to create a very, very solid floor surface with no squeaks. Squeaks are the enemy. We followed up with 1-1/4″ wood screws every 6-8″ inches between the joists for added stability, and even though I can’t find my pictures of how the boards looked totally secured down (this place is chaos, where’s the good camera) I can estimate that we installed over 150 screws per board, costing about $8 in screws per board, OMG.
Accuracy in marking the joists aside, the best thing about living in a ranch home with an open basement, so far, is being able to confirm joist-screwing accuracy. We were about 95% accurate in installing the underlayment boards between Julia’s room and the nursery directly into the respective joists, but totally thrown off by sistering over a beam beneath Julia’s entryway that messed up the placement of 40 screws, our attention brought to it when we noticed that the floor was so squeaky, and I blasted through another 30 screws in a single square foot area trying to beat it. I couldn’t, and having installed your main reinforcing screws 2″ off joist center will do that, but it’s fortunately as easy as moving every screw into place. Squeak gone! Palm slap, followed immediately by happiness and appreciation for the ranch house design.
As we continue to make progress into the hallway this week, we’ve been letting the underlayment serve as a free-for-all canvas, with the mindset that in 100 years when someone tears up the floors in our house (and bitches aloud about how many screws we used in the underlayment) they’ll also find dozens and dozens of drawings and messages, like this one, and then they’ll be happy:
There are a lot of dinosaurs and dragons so far, apparently a hot to-be-sketched item among 7-year olds, and we’re only through the kid’s rooms.
1,500 sq. ft. of floor prep to go.