04 August 2011

Getting To The Bottom Of It

The first project on the house was the roof and everything since has kind of trickled downward.  We crammed ourselves in the living room where we kept our bed, television and computer behind a draped quilt for some feigned privacy.  It made working on the upstairs a lot easier since we didn't have to move furniture around or clean up every time we wanted to go to sleep.  The upper level eventually became livable and the improvements began descending--the stairs, the kitchen, a downstairs bath, painting the walls and now, time for the floor.
This poor floor has been forgotten about for quite some time.  Not only is it ugly with a dark, dull and fading stain, it has waves in it that rival Hawaii's.  Fortunately we discovered that the rolling was not due to the flooring itself but the original subflooring.  It was a poorer quality, soft wood that probably warped because of the unbearable humidity and lack of any kind of varnish to protect it.  Anyway, smoothing it out should be an easy fix when we relay the floor--just have to lay it running the opposite direction as the subfloor.
Jack got right to work pulling up the floor while I hammered out the nails and the girls took naps or watched from the living room, contently eating a snack.


The fabulous subflooring.  At least it's nice and sturdy if not particularly attractive.
I wish it were as simple as pulling it up and laying it back down.  Sigh.  Nothing about this house is simple.  Each board has worn differently because of where it is (getting the same traffic for 50 +/- years really takes a toll) so we decided to buy a table planer.
Those babies aren't cheap but boy are they handy.  It still has taken a lot longer than I planned for.  Remember how I like to accomplish things?  I thought maybe this would take a day or two.  Nope.  We've already devoted a good week to the flooring and I'd say we're not even a quarter done.  Sigh.

After we plane it down so all of the boards are again a uniform width, then the real work begins.  There's just no getting around dirt in the country but the floor has taken it to a whole new level.  It's been stuck in there for who knows how long and it is pretty hard to convince to come out.
So far I've used chisels, flathead screwdrivers, a multipurpose Dremel-like gadget and a paint stripping attachment for a screwdriver.  Once the dirt has been scraped out and my hand is good and sore, it's ready to be relaid!
Well . . . when we finish prepping all of it.  Sigh.  Every little bit helps I suppose.  I keep telling myself that this'll be one of the last BIG projects--the rest will be finishing up the detailing, which I imagine can't take much more effort than we've already acquired a tolerance for.  I also like to remind myself that hardwood floors look beautiful and will only help the resale value of the house.  And of course, I will enjoy it in the time being.

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