Archive for the ‘Floors’ Category

Flooring Letter

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Dearest Reader,

I will try not to worry about catching you up on all that has happened since I last wrote five months ago except to say we have drywall, primed walls, color on more than half the walls (including ceilings), one flush toilet, one cold water sink, at least one electric outlet on each floor, switched lights in some places, and no heat. And Daddy is still dead. I will also not wait to post until I get new batteries in my camera. The Little One is asleep and I want to post before she wakes up.

We have no heat because the city won’t let the gas be turned on until we have passed our final inspection. Or until the weather gets real cold. Whichever comes first. The city claims to be concerned about people clogging their furnace filters with construction dust and burning out their furnace. We are grateful for the soy insulation since it keeps the house fairly warm, even with the single-glaze windows (which Don has rebuilt so they are much tighter than they were). And we are grateful for the working windows and good cross-ventilation since they let the house warm up quickly when we open them during the day.

So, we’ve been dealing with the floors since they are a dust source. We pulled and denailed most of the floors last year, but were planning to leave the living room alone. Were. Then we decided we should pull them while we’re at it so that we could install a border around the whole dining room/foyer/living room. It turned out most of the living room floors had dry-rotted, so it was good we had lots of Dallas flooring. We barely had enough Fayetteville salvage from four bedrooms, the kitchen, foyer, hall, dining room and living room to reinstall in the family room, kitchen, hall, and laundry room. We put down roofing felt which I hope will deal with the dry-rot. Previously, there was no moisture barrier between the downstairs rooms and the basement. (The Fayetteville floors are red oak, and the Dallas floors are a mix of red and white oak.)

We installed a nice log-cabin border, and learned how to fit pieces in between the borders. Much slower than straight laying of floors. Although the Dallas salvage floors were cleaner than the floors we pulled, they had more bad ends. (We had to pause while Don’s floor nailer spent a week in the shop, so he painted for a while. I was fairly picky about which pieces we used for the border, which also slowed us down.)

We’re refinishing the pine floors upstairs. They have no subfloor (or else they are the subfloor), but they’re old pine and they’re sanding out pretty. We laid a new floor in my sewing room, too, of mostly quartersawn oak because its subfloor was plywood and new. It turned out to be a good thing that I racked most of it before I got bifocals (progressive lenses, actually) because bifocals make all the growth rings and edges of the floor curve up around my peripheral vision. I was seasick after racking for about an hour with bifocals.

Don drove to Alma, Arkansas to pick up a U-Sander a week ago Thursday. It is supposed to be very safe for novice floor sanders to use. It is indeed safe, but very, very slow on newly laid salvage floors. After an afternoon of using it, we rented a drum sander as well. Our neighbor (who also helped us get started on laying floors and laying borders) uses the drum sander to take the edges and top layer of finish off the floors, and Don goes along behind with the U-Sander and palm sander to do the finish work.

We paused Saturday a week ago to go to south Arkansas to bury Daddy’s cremains. Or Don paused on Saturday – the Little One and I took Friday off, too, for a 15 hours in the car, touring Arkansas with my mother, brother, and niece. We missed the NE quadrant, but saw everything else: from Fayetteville, to La Hacienda in Conway, through Little Rock, to Monticello for the night. Then on to Fountain Hill, Crossett, Hamburg, Magnolia, Wickes, Duckett, Old Potter, and home. Deer season opened Saturday, so we saw a lot of dead deer and pickups on the side of the road and a lot of people wearing blaze. I wished we’d been wearing blaze at the cemetery – it was late in the afternoon, and I was a bit worried. However, nobody got shot. Always a good day when nobody gets shot at the cemetery.

Since then, Don and the neighbor have been sanding all day and into the night. We’re fortunate that the neighbor comes with one of the Little One’s best friends, so the Little One plays all afternoon and into the night. Don has just left (7:30 a.m.) for what we hope is the last push to finish the drum and U-sanding so we can return the rental sanders tomorrow and enjoy Thanksgiving without dust. I spent a while yesterday filling nail holes where we face nailed. I have some more to do today after the Little One wakes up.

I think we’ll sweep the floors and dust down the walls tomorrow morning so the dust can settle over Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, we will finish cleaning sawdust out of the house and apply a low VOC finish. (Hard oil, followed by wax, followed by a wax finisher.) We’ve decided not to stain the floors, although the hard oil packaging says it may add a hint of amber color.I hope it turns out as nice as I expect. Don keeps saying how much better the floors (and the house) are coming out than he expected. He’s right. A father-daughter house-hunting pair was walking through the neighborhood yesterday, and stopped to discuss housing prospects. (She’s a Vendorville transfer.) Our front door was open, and they both commented on how beautiful the floors were.

Perhaps I will post again soon. Hope all is well with you and yours this Thanksgiving.

All my best, Lisa

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