I got bored after writing about our maple flooring progress all of last week, that’s why I’ve gone silent on it over the last few days, despite the rad encouragement that comes with sharing the progress (you guys are awesome). Our efforts continue on, only slowing a bit on account of other work and the fact that the area Pete is installing at this very moment, the stairs into the living room, requires a great level of attention to detail (read: not a lot of stop-you-in-your-tracks visual progress, though the progress made has been stellar).
What you saw last was the progress made in the nursery (done!) and a promise that we would finish Julia’s bedroom and the hallway last weekend. We did just that, even squeezing in a dinner out with friends, the assembly of a 25-square EXPEDIT (whoa), and an outlet mall shopping trip.
It’s safe to say that the bedroom/hallway part of our house is beginning to look wonderful (not the master bedroom yet though, it’s worse than ever), so we promptly rolled on with a plan to complete the dining room, beginning to end, last Sunday.
Up until this point, it has taken us 2-3 working days to complete each room, with 1-2 days dedicated to racking the boards (my job – sorting them in advance to make sure the seams and coloring is acceptable) and 1-2 days dedicated to the actual install (Pete with the nailer in an eternal hunchback state).
In rooms that span about 15′ wide, we found that we could pneumatically nail one row of 5″ boards in an average of 15-30 minutes, depending on complexities like needing to cut the boards for doorway transitions, or face nail the boards too close to the edges of the room. Sometimes, actually, it takes longer, and by longer, I mean like, an hour to place just two boards. Time is spent going up and down the stairs to the basement where the compound miter saw and table saw are set up. Time is spent pounding the boards together to have a good, consistent fit. Time is spent re-hunting for a board that’s just a 1/2″ longer than the board I picked out. Time is spent replacing cleats that mis-fire from the nailer (the air pressure and cleat pounding consistencies are an art when it comes to flooring install).
In all rooms, the encasements surrounding the radiator heating need to be removed for ease of install (thankfully they didn’t need to be fully raised to accommodate the extra board height), so we’ve been taking that opportunity to also clean the units with a combo effort using the air sprayer attachment on our pancake compressor, and the shop vac. Working in tandem, loosening and sucking the dust makes for a pretty neat and mess-free process, and hopefully improves the efficiency of our system too. It was pretty gross in there.
The dining room came along quite easily, and we worked hard on it from 11am-10pm. There were pictures on instagram if you follow me there, mostly ramblings about slamming my head into the chandelier (we zip-tied it way close to the ceiling not long after I shared the photo), and a totally not helpful Bernese Mountain Dog (he has been very emotional over the loss of his carpeting).
The finished room is so wonderful, even without furniture, that I’ve taken it up as my office this week, where I sip water from my cardboard box side table and watch 8-point bucks galavant and poop in the backyard (they squat like dogs, and what they leave behind does not look like innocent little goat pebbles, did you know that?). I digress.
The dining room will remain empty for a little while longer; we’re shifting our flooring inventory (both the unopened and opened boxes) into the room while we move onto the living room next. It’s a constant state of musical chairs with all of our belongings around here.
And as I mentioned, the stair progress has begun, and it’s slow. Lumber Liquidators suggested that it might take $1-2K to hire someone to do stairs as complex as ours (yes, we asked, it seemed scary complex at first for us novice woodworkers), but knowing that wasn’t in our budget they gave us some great tips for a DIY install, and that’s making it a lot better. Still slower than you might imagine, but done nicely, so props to Pete.
Hopefully we’ll continue to make progress in this area over the weekend and I’ll have something to show for the hard work.