When DIY Projects Turn Disaster: the Hardwood Floor Adventure

Posted by Mrs Money on June 1st, 2008

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hardww.jpgIt’s no secret I’m extremely frugal. After all, if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have started a blog about it! Sometimes I wonder if I am being too frugal (sounds better than “cheap”).

Ever since we moved into this house, I have been doing some sort of home improvement project. I’ve painted, replaced a windowsill, tiled a bathroom, you name it, I’m willing to give it a shot.  I decided that since I successfully tiled our bathroom that laying hardwood floors myself would be no problem.  Yeah right.

Last night we went to Home Depot to get some supplies for laying the hardwood flooring.   After doing a calculation on how much it would cost us to rent versus buy the hardwood floor nailer, I figured we’d come out ahead and less stressed if we just went ahead and bought the $239 nailer.  It’s roughly $22 a day when you rent it, so I figured I’d have to use it for only eleven days before it would pay for itself.  I thought it was a good money decision.

Fast forward to today.   Mr. Money and I face nailed the first two boards yesterday, and today I decided I would try to lay the floor while he is at work.  I get the next boards prepared, bang them into place with a rubber mallet, line up the nailer, bang it, pull the nailer away from the floor, and guess what?  There is still the darn nail poking up!!  I have tried and tried and tried to do this, but the more I keep doing, the more hardwood floor I end up damaging.  I can’t tell you how frustrated I am.

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it just to pay someone to install it.  The whole purpose of doing the hardwood floors ourselves was to save money.  Being as frugal as I am, I just can’t justify paying someone else to come in to install the hardwood.  I’ve got the tools, but honestly I think I’m lacking the strength (and maybe patience) to do this myself.  I think I’m going to price some garage sale items, clean, and wait for Mr. Money to come home so he can attempt to install them.  I’m really hoping he’ll give it a fair try and be strong enough to nail the floor in.

Do you think I should just suck it up and pay someone to come do it?  Am I being too frugal here? 

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6 Responses to “When DIY Projects Turn Disaster: the Hardwood Floor Adventure”


  1. Derek says:

    Get it installed from home depot, yea its going to to cost more
    but its guarnteed installation 1 year on labor and work

    then your not wasting boards, and a good hardwood floor
    will last 100+years so who cares if you have to pay for installation
    its better than mutilating your floor.

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  2. David says:

    I am certain that your flooring project has been completed by now, but I just had to post. I am a professional hardwood flooring contractor and spend a lot of time researching blogs and web based hardwood flooring trends. At least once a week my company gets a “call to the rescue” from some poor soul that has attempted to install or refinish their hardwood floor because they read a blog, saw a video or went to a Saturday class at their local home improvement store and were showed how easy it is to do a hardwood floor yourself. Looks can be deceiving and I can assure you that there is a lot more that goes into proper hardwood flooring work. I felt your pain as I read this post and hope that you didn’t blow your budget on this one.

    [Reply]

  3. Mrs Money says:

    David- Thanks for the comment. I still haven’t finished the floors. I’m just going to suck it up and save for the flooring and have someone professional come do it. It’s not worth it to me to mess it up and have to live with it!

    [Reply]

  4. David says:

    Oh, I am sorry to hear that you are going to lose that cost. I am attaching a blog post that I wrote several months ago that may be of some help when looking for a contractor. This blog will also apply to installation customers. Good luck and if I can be of any assistance, please don not hesitate to ask.

    I’m afraid to have my Hardwood floors sanded!
    I understand! Many people are scared to death to have their floors sanded. Granted, the procedure can be a little trying with moving furniture around and arranging for a place to stay for a few nights, however, your flooring contractor should not add a lot of stress to an already uncomfortable situation. Research! You have to do some leg work on your own to ensure that you hire the right company for the job. There are a few very simple rules that you should follow when interviewing and considering potential contractors. First, always be sure that the flooring contractor is adequately insured for the project the you will be hiring him or her to do. General liability insurance is an absolute must. No reputable contractor is going to go into your home with the intention of doing damage. After all, you are hiring them to restore or upgrade your floor. Having said this, accidents do happen! Should one of these accidents occur and it is deemed that it was at the fault of the “floor guy”, then you deserve to have your property returned to the same condition that it was in prior to the “accident”. Most individuals don’t have that kind of cash flow. If you ensure that your contractor has Liability insurance, then you should be covered. Never assume that every contractor has insurance. Always ask for a certificate from their insurance company. Second, check your contractor’s references. References are a wonderful source to ask the questions that you may feel uncomfortable asking your contractor. Were they on time? Were they professional? Do they have good customer service? Do they do good work? These are just a few examples of the questions that, through my years in this industry, have proved to be some of the most popular. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The only dumb question really is the one not asked. Third, Educate yourself about the procedure that you are having done. Having said this, keep in mind that not every hardwood flooring technician follows a straight and narrow line that is the end all be all of the flooring world. Ultimately the finished product is what we are all most interested in. There are basic procedural events that should take place on every sanding job and those are the things that you should be familiar with. Ask your contractor about their specific procedure and, once again, ask questions. Find out if they use a dust containment system if you are concerned with dust. Ask if they offer a cleaning service after the project has been completed. Educate yourself! Finally, have realistic expectations of how your project will turn out. If your floor is 100 years old, it will not look brand new once your flooring contractor is done. It should look like a 100 year old refinished floor. View your completed flooring job from a standing position as this is how others will view it. I promise, I can crawl around on any floor in the United States and find imperfections in the floor boards, finish or both and I can find these imperfections in job site finished or pre finished hardwood floors. Sanding floors is an art form with imperfections and character. Be aware that there will be defining characteristics of every floor. Many contractors will do everything in their power to fix any problems that you may have with your completed flooring job, however, sometimes trying to fix small imperfections can lead to much larger problems. In closing, sanding your hardwood floor is a large decision that should be thought about and thoroughly planned. Having your floor sanded properly and professionally will save you a lot of heartache and extend the life of your hardwood floor for many years to come. Remember, educate yourself and most importantly, you get what you pay for.

    Wednesday January 30, 2008 – 08:37pm (EST) Permanent Link | 5 Comments

    [Reply]


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