Notice that this post is titled “How WE Installed Hardwood Floors” and it is not titled “How TO Install Hardwood Floors” and that is because this is our first and only time that we have installed hardwood floors ourselves. I want to share our experience with this project as DIYers who love the challenge and the pride that comes with doing our own home improvement projects.
This will not be a step-by-step tutorial because we are not professionals. I am sharing our experience with the project. Our home was built in 1993 and the house has real hardwood floors in the all of the rooms except for the living space and bedrooms. We have been wanting to add hardwood floors to our living space for a while now.
My husband and I try to live debt free and that is where the desire to do as many home improvement projects as possible comes from. We first called the professional who installed hardwoods in our kitchen 10 years ago and he quoted us a price of $6.75 a square foot. We purchased the floors for $3.19 a square foot. Our living space is fairly large so I figure the money saved would pay for a new sofa and that would be worth it. Too bad my husband looks at the money saved totally different.
We researched this project on YouTube and Google and we also talked to the employees at a couple of flooring stores. We have done many big projects and I have to say that it isn’t that hard, it is just very time-consuming. It is not a one-weekend project!
We decided to go with a prefinished floor and we found a very good match at Lowes. The disadvantage to purchasing a prefinished floor is that you don’t sand the floor after you lay it so you need to be careful to keep the boards even.
The hardest part of all DIY projects is getting up the nerve to start. We had to lay all of the hardwoods out in the room and let them acclimate for a few days. We also purchased a floor nailer for $140 which was cheaper than renting one.
We used underlayment paper under the hardwoods. We started at the front of the room and worked toward the back of the house.
It took my husband and I a while to get a system going. We always end up with one of us staying on the floor and one of us being the runner. It saves the knees! I think two people doing this project works perfectly.
I would lay the planks and fit them tightly together using a mallet and a wood block and my husband would come behind me and nail the floor with the floor nailer.
We went slow and tried to keep every row perfect because we were afraid that we would get to the opposite wall and have a disaster.
It ended up taking 3 weekends because we both got sick with a cold during the project but we both feel like the floors look awesome. I really think that they look as good as the rest of the hardwood floors in our house that we installed when the house was built.
You definitely save money by doing home projects yourself but for us the greatest joy comes from stepping back and looking at what we accomplished.