DIY hardwood floors

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! After some back and forth and a whole lot of research, we finally decided to DIY the installation of our new hardwood floors. Sure, we knew doing it ourselves would save us hundreds of dollars, but mostly we just couldn't turn down a good DIY challenge (we're weird like that).

The plan is to lay hardwood in all three bedrooms, but to keep things manageable, we decided to tackle one room a weekend - starting with the future guest room (the fact that it was empty - i.e. no furniture to move - made it the obvious choice). Adam painted the ceiling last week and on Friday night, we pulled up the last of the carpet staples, removed the baseboards, swept and vacuumed the room, and stapled the underlayment to the floor (basically a waxy brown paper that acts as a moisture barrier).

In addition to a bunch of online research and talking to a few people who had installed hardwood before, we relied on this video and this set of instructions. We also read through the manufacturer's instructions for specific information on how long to let the wood acclimate before installing (72 hours), type of installation (nail down), and what size gap to leave between the flooring and the wall (1/2" - 3/4").

On Saturday we rented a flooring nailer and compressor from Home Depot - $64 for 24 hours - and it took us around 5 hours to mostly complete a 105 sq. ft. room (we still have the teeny tiny closet to do). The rental is a must-have - it makes the job move much, much faster - but we still had to install the first couple and last few rows by hand (where the nailer was too big to fit).

So how did it go? Pretty well, actually. Sure it was tiring and there were a few arguments (we agreed to hit the 'reset' button while waiting in line at the tool rental center and mostly got along after that), but we're so happy with how the floor turned out and it feels awesome knowing that we did it ourselves. And now that we have a better idea of what we're doing, we can't wait to tackle the nursery and master bedroom (which should hopefully go a little smoother and a little faster).

If I could offer one piece of advice, based on my very limited experience, it would be to make sure, double-sure, triple-sure that your first row is STRAIGHT. If it is, the whole installation will go pretty smoothly/quickly, so take the extra time to check and re-check your chalk line before nailing anything down.

I know, I know - who cares? Get to the before & after!


{carpet and baseboards removed, underlayment down}
{new hardwood installed}
The floor is actually darker than it appears in the picture above. In real life, it's more of a chocolate-y medium brown, but I chose this picture because you can actually see the texture on the walls. Like the master bedroom, only two of the walls are textured, but unlike the master bedroom, the plan is to skip the hours of sanding and cover it up instead. In my next post, I'll share the plans for our guest room. Want a hint? Find me on Pinterest!


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