Archive for December, 2009

Finishing the Floor – Day Three

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

The second coat of finish really evened out and started to build on the floor.  The original formula tung oil certainly had a glassy smooth finish to it:
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We moved some of the appliances around and changed the supports of the remaining cabinet so we could get a coat of tung oil on the areas under the cabinet that hadn’t been coated yet.  Then we got started spreading the third coat of tung oil.  For the third and fourth coat, we are using a satin-finish tung oil to cut down on the sheen.

One thing we noticed when we got upstairs after finishing the third coat was that the flattening agent in the satin finish tung oil added more power to the smell of of the drying floor.  There was definitely more of the odor getting upstairs.  I added more plastic and tape to the areas that seemed to be leaking air from downstairs.  We cracked the windows in the bedroom and spent a couple of hours relaxing.

Since most of our friends and colleagues in the area were still traveling for the holidays, there were no big New Years Eve parties to go to and we certainly weren’t in a position to hold one.  We were also pretty exhausted from all of the work we’ve been doing so we decided that we would grab some take out and have a relaxing evening in the confines of the second floor.  Tina called our local Chinese take out restaurant and asked how much of a lead they needed to get an order ready.  The woman said 20 minutes would be sufficient.  Knowing that they would probably be busier than they let on, Tina called at 5:30 to place the order for pickup at 6:30.  When the time came, we headed out to make the pickup.  The parking lot was packed!  I let Tina out and waited for a spot to open up.  After about half an hour of waiting, a spot opened up.  I headed inside to check on Tina.

Inside, I was greeted by an angry, or at least disgruntled, mob.  There were at least 30 people crammed into the lobby and bar area waiting for their takeout.  People were comparing their order times and tracking who was coming and going.  We heard that there were people still waiting that had ordered an hour before us!!!  We sat down at a table near the bar and grumbled with the rest of them.  Occasionally, a staff member appeared from the kitchen holding a bag and a hush would fall over the restaurant.  A name was called, and some lucky person would cheer and step up to take their food.  At some point, the outflow of happy customers started to exceed the inflow of unsuspecting revelers.  Nearly two-and-a-half hours passed before our name was finally called!  We got home a little after nine, crossed the bridge, and enjoyed a lovely dinner in our makeshift kitchen.

After dinner was over, we headed back outside and around to the side door to make our way upstairs.  We brought some beverages up and settled in to watch the coverage of the festivities at Times Square.  We thought it would be fun to play cribbage while we were waiting for the ball to drop.  We made it about halfway through the first game before the cats became extremely interested in what we were doing.  Noche, uncharacteristically, was trying to play with the pegs.  Baboi also started pulling pegs out of the board.  When Noche managed to stealthily grab a peg and slink off the bed, we decided to give up on the game.  Just as we settled in to watch the countdown, Noche decided it was time to throw up all over the bathroom.  2009 was ending on an interesting note.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Finishing the Floor – Day Two

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

We were really happy to come downstairs and see the floor looking so good this morning.  There were some patches where all of the oil had soaked in to the wood, but where it hadn’t, the floor looked fantastic!  Here’s the living room looking into the dining room:
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Here’s the hallway into the kitchen and dining room:
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And here is Tina showing off the drawbridge that allows us to get into our makeshift kitchen in the guest room while the floor is wet:
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We let the floor finish drying for a little over 24 hours and then put a second coat on.  It was a little bit more difficult to make sure I was getting complete coverage but it still took less than an hour to get through the rooms.  This time, I had unlocked all of the windows and when we finished, I went around the outside of the house and cracked the tops of all of them to promote better air exchange.  I think this helped a little bit because we were able to turn the heat on a bit earlier in the night.

Finishing the Floor – Day One

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

We finished up the install of the floor yesterday.  We had a couple of rows of hickory to put in and we had to cut, glue, and screw the plywood under the cabinets in the kitchen.  Although we decided to raise the floor under the cabinets, we didn’t want to use a few hundred dollars worth of hickory that would never be seen.  We ran the hickory a couple of inches under the edge of the cabinets.  In the opening for the stove and dishwasher, we added an additional board in case it was possible to see in between the appliance and the cabinet.  We filled in the rest of the open space with 3/4″ plywood.

There were also a couple of slivered edges that needed to be addressed.  The boards where too nice to not use, so we installed them anyway.  I used a small paintbrush to spread a tiny amount of wood glue, then added some waxed paper and weight and let the glue set.

We had two boards that had a bit of a crown at one end.  They were also really nice boards and we didn’t really notice the crowing until after they were installed.  They were not crowned enough to be disastrous but just high enough to catch a toe.  We were also concerned with the double grooves at the threshold between the dining room and living room.  The floor felt like it came up a little bit where those two grooved edges met.  I spent some time trying to pull those spots down by driving a screw up from the basement, but I didn’t really have any suitable screws.

This morning, I ran out to the lumber yard to get some better screws to try to pull the crowned boards down.  When I got home, I gave it a try, but was unsuccessful so we decided to just deal with it.  With those final tasks done, it was time to start putting the finish on.  We cranked up the heat in the house to get it as warm as possible, before we had to shut off the forced hot air system to avoid fume circulation.  Once the house was warm, I shut off the system and used plastic and tape to seal off the vents upstairs.

It was just after noon when we were finally set up to begin spreading the tung oil.  Just as with the bottoms of the boards, the patterns became enhanced as soon as I swept the lambs-wool pad over the plank.  The character of the floor was really coming out.  We started in the living room near the side door, worked our way through the dining room and kitchen, and finished in the hallway to the front door.  It only took about 40 minutes to cover the whole floor, with Tina taking care of the edges while I covered the larger areas.

We headed out the front door and dropped our tools on the back deck.  Then we headed in the side door and up through the airlock.  The smell of the tung oil was certainly powerful downstairs and slightly noticeable upstairs.  A quick olfactory survey revealed that most of the odor upstairs was coming up through the hot air return in our bedroom.  I adjusted the plastic that we had covering the vent and noticed an immediate improvement.

By that time, Tina and I were starving, so we headed out to grab some lunch and pick up some more foam brushes from the hardware store.  When we returned home, most of the tung oil had soaked in to the floor but the smell was still pretty strong.  I set up the box fan in the guest room window, opened the bathroom window and both of the doors.  I let the air move through the house for about five minutes, then closed everything up again, not wanting to drop the temperature in the house too much.  We headed back upstairs to hang out with the cats.

When we started getting hungry again, we poked our heads out of the airlock and were pleasantly surprised to discover that the tung oil odor was mostly gone!  We headed downstairs, out the side door, and around to the front of the house.  I put down the drawbridge (a 2×6 that allowed us to cross the still tacky hallway into the guest room) and we microwaved some leftovers.  After thoroughly enjoying some cuban pork shoulder in the comfort of our camp chairs, we headed back across the drawbridge to wash the dishes in the bathroom sink.

By 9 PM, we were able to turn the heat back on again!  The temperature in the house had dropped quite a bit, so we were happy to get back to a normal temperature before bed.

Installing the Floor – Day Six

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

After a crazy few days of traveling to see our family and friends, we were ready to get back to work on the floor.  We were hoping to use our upcoming week off to get this floor finished!  The morning was consumed by errands and some chores around the house.  We got started on the floor around noon and quickly fell back into our rhythm.  By late evening, we had made our way under the cabinets in the kitchen and within a few rows of the outside wall of the dining room.  Since it was getting late, we decided we should finish things up in the morning.

Here is a video of the install process.  We had my camera set up in an out of the way location and had it snap a photo every 30 seconds.  Enjoy!

Here’s a slower version if you want to see more detail.

Installing the Floor – Days Four and Five

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The weekend was over and it was time to get back to Work.  When we stepped outside, we got a look at our shoveling work from last night.  It has gotten dark long before we finished and our little lamp by the front door didn’t really cast enough light to illuminate how much snow we had moved!
IMG_7452_the_snow

We headed toward work on roads that hadn’t had much attention yet.  I decided to take the scenic route because the main road had a few too  many crazy drivers.  It’s really rough having a commute like this:
The Scenic Drive to Work

After a wonderful day of work, we got back to work on the floor as soon as we got home.  Here’s Tina doing some nailing:
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We finished up right around 9, again not wanting to be making too much noise late in the night.  We made good progress in the couple of hours that we had to work:
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On Tuesday, the routine was the same.  We got home from work and put a couple of hours into the floor before it got too late.  We pushed hard, knowing that this would be the last night of work for about a week due to holiday preparations and travel.  By the end of the night we had made it almost halfway across the rooms:
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Installing the Floor – Day Three

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Something was different about the light.  I couldn’t get my brain around it at first.  As my eyes slowly focused, I could tell that it was light out, but it wasn’t very light in the bedroom.  I tilted my head back to look out the window, but all I could see was a wall of white.  The blizzard had arrived and had caked our window screens with a thick layer of snow.  I scrambled out of bed and ran downstairs to get a better look.  I could see at least a foot of snow on the deck.  I opened the front door and pushed at the storm door.  It wouldn’t budge.  There was a drift half-way up the door!  The best view was from the office, where the screen wasn’t totally covered:
Blizzard 2009

With no hope for escape, it was time to get to work.  Today we were starting on the kitchen and were hoping to make good progress.  We had naively thought we could have the whole house finished by the end of the weekend, but had already lost almost 12 of the last 48 hours to obsessive measuring and blizzard preparation.  Before we could lay the first board in the dining room though, we needed some splines.  Since we had the tongue of the threshold piece facing into the living room and the tongues of the remaining boards had to face away from the threshold so we could nail them, a spline would be used to properly align and join the two grooves that would be butted against each other.  I headed down to the workshop to rip some down with the table saw from some of the shorter cut-off pieces of the living room boards.  I wasn’t having much luck getting consistent widths because of the small size of the strips I was trying to cut (3/8″) and the small sizes of stock that I had to cut them from.  I was really wishing I had a thickness planer, which would have made the job simple and easy.  Instead, I begged Tina to come down to the freezing basement and give me a hand feeding some stock through the table saw.  With her help, I quickly produced the necessary splines and we headed upstairs to get working on the floor.

With the 6″ threshold plank placed in the middle of the 7-1/2″ wide wall, we would be able to use a 7″ plank against the threshold in the dining room and continue down the kitchen wall with a 6″ plank without having to rip 18′ of wood for the kitchen and hallway while maintaining the proper gap at the edge of the room to allow for expansion.  We got the first 7″ plank in place and cut the second to fit along the wall where it extended into the kitchen.  Everything was looking fantastic:
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The next board ran all the way down to the stopping point in the hallway.  When we put it in place, we quickly discovered some trouble.  The board was just the perfect distance from the wall where it met the previous board but at the other end, it was over an inch from the wall!  Further investigation revealed that the board was quite straight and it was the wall that wasn’t square to the outside walls of the house.  Somehow I had missed that in my obsessive measuring yesterday.  Tina and I pondered what to do to overcome this issue.  On one hand, we could secure one end of the board and then pull the hall end closer to the wall with wedges.  That, of course, would introduce a bow into the board and would cause us to be out of square at the hallway threshold and complicate the installation of the rest of the floor.  The other option would be to add a shoe molding to the baseboard trim, which would actually give a more finished look to the house anyway.  We decided that closing the gap by bowing the board was not a good idea and nailed the board in place, but not before wasting quite a bit of time discussing our options, falling further behind schedule.

With the first board in place, it was back to measuring, sawing, gluing, and nailing:
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As the day wore on, the snow kept falling.  We occasionally talked of going outside to shovel before it got too deep, but we were anxious to make progress on the floor, and also didn’t want to be tracking snow into the house more than we had to with the unfinished wood.  We pressed on until late afternoon, when we finally decided that we should turn our attention to the winter wonderland visible through the windows.  We had put in a solid days work, but with the delays making the splines and then the gap issue with the first board, we only got four rows installed.  They are 28′ long rows, which is a small comfort.  Still, we were no where near where we thought we would be:
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After forcing the front door open, we headed out to shovel.  Thankfully, the snow was light.  Unfortunately, it was 22 inches deep in the low spots.  Some of the drifts were at least three feet deep.  We shoveled well into the night to get the sidewalks and driveway cleared.  Even after using the truck to do a bit of “redneck plowing,” it took us nearly three hours to reach the end of the driveway.  The town had so far only plowed one pass (which is odd since it’s a dead end road, they could have kept the plow down when they came back out!!!) so there was still about four feet of snow beyond the end of the driveway.  Exhausted, we decided to wait for them to finish the road before shoveling any more at the end of the driveway.  We headed back in and called it a night.

Since the kitchen has been completely torn apart, we’re forced to wash dishes in the bathroom.  You can imagine that we’re excited to have this part of the project behind us…
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Also, the first injury of the project occurred yesterday.  When using the floor nailer on the second-to-last row, you have to take short swings with the hammer (or abandon the floor nailer and face-nail that row too).  To do this, I choked up on the hammer to have better control.  Unfortunately, the handle on the nailer gets in the way and I smashed my hand between the hammer handle and the nailer handle.  Note to self, don’t do that!  Thankfully, it seems to be just a bruise and nothing is broken.
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Installing the Floor – Day Two

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

We had been carefully watching the weather forecast all week because there was a chance that a winter storm would slam the Cape starting today. As the week progressed, it looked more certain, and today’s forecast included a blizzard warning starting in the evening. Because of the impending snow-doom, I had to spend most of the morning cleaning up the yard. I started by hauling the rest of the 1/2 inch plywood (for the guest room and bathroom underlayment) from the driveway around to the back of the house and into the basement. Then, I had to get all the plywood scraps from cutting the subfloor, the packing crate materials left over from the floor delivery (destined to become shelving in the basement), and the stack of 2×6 cut offs from the construction at work (originally for the campfire pile but useful for so many other things) down to the basement. I started throwing the wood down through the bulkhead, deciding that I would deal with that mess later. Once that was done, I secured everything that I thought might blow away. Meanwhile, Tina had gone out to get some more groceries in case we couldn’t get out for a few days. We both finished up around noon, had a quick lunch, and got to work on the floor.

Yesterday, I mentioned that we are doing a bit of routing during this part of the install. After consulting with the crew at the mill, we decided to use the tongue of the threshold board to help secure the ends of the living room planks where they meet at 90 degrees. To do this, we had to add a groove to one end of the plank to receive the tongue. I threw together this jig to help speed this process along:
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The top and bottom pieces are offset so that the groove ends up in just the right spot. We just clamped them to the board and made a quick pass with the router with an upcut bit set to the correct depth and we got repeatable, consistent results:
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Here’s the next board, ready to be installed:
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Here we are applying glue to the bottom of a plank:
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Each board gets moved at least one more time before it is secured:
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We finished up the living room at about 8:30 and decided to call it a night. The nailer is quite loud and we’re trying to be good neighbors.
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We love how the floor is coming out. It is sort of unbelievable to think that we’re finally getting it installed. There has been so much prep work to get to this point. We’re a day closer to having a livable house!

A few flurries could be seen as we headed up to bed, but the blizzard was nowhere to be seen…

Finally Starting the Floor

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The first plank, my son, which one lays of a floor, is the one on which depends the rest of the boards (with apologies to Voltaire). So began the installation of our hickory floor. Tina and I finished applying tung oil to the bottoms of the floor planks yesterday and had arranged to have today off from work, giving us a 3 day weekend to get the floor installed.

The first thing we did was to re-stack all of the wood!  We sorted the wood by width and then by character, which turned out to be a somewhat shifting target.  The basic idea was to have two piles for each width.  The first contained planks that we absolutely had to use, and that should be in a prominent location.  The second had boards that could be used in places that would be hidden from view and that we wouldn’t mind having left over after everything was installed.  Here are the stacks in the kitchen so that we could get started in the living room:
IMG_7429_the_stacks_to_choose_from

While we were sorting through the piles, we kept our eye out for one 6″ wide, straight board that  would span width of the dining room/living room transition.  This board was to be the threshold between the two rooms and the all-important first board, upon which, the squareness of the whole floor would depend.  This was particularly important because this is where the two sections of floor would meet at 90 degrees.  We found a suitable candidate which was measured and cut to length.  We then spent the next seven hours staring at the board, taking various measurements from it to other key points in the house, creating a series of parallel and perpendicular lines based off of it, and then adjusting everything slightly and starting over again.  Finally, convinced that I had the board where I wanted it (or just sick of fiddling with the position), I screwed in some scrap pieces behind it to hold it in place, and we sunk our first nails in to the floor:
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I have to say, the Porta-Nailer that we borrowed from my parents’ neighbor is awesome.  It is going to be such a help for this job!

Now that I had wasted most of the day with my obsession with detail, Tina and I got to work laying out the boards for the living room floor.  Because there is so much variation between the boards, and because we are dealing with random-width planks, we felt it was important to lay out the whole room before we started nailing anything down.  We also wanted to to take advantages of any patterns between boards that caught our eyes and use them to focus on a visual flow through the room.  Here is Tina, inspecting our choices so far:
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Once we had the whole room laid out, we stacked the wood into smaller ordered piles across the room:
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and got started measuring, cutting, routing, gluing, and nailing:
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After the initial delay getting the first board installed, we fell into a rhythm and moved along quickly. By the end of the night, we were happy with our progress and very excited to see our floor starting to take shape!
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High as a Kite

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Many people recommended that we put one coat of finish on the bottom of the floor planks to help prevent moisture migration, which in turn, would help prevent cupping and splitting.  Although it seemed to be quite a bit of extra work, we decided to go ahead and do it to minimize the chance of having problems down the road.  Tina and I decided to get up early one morning and get started before work.  We laid out about 2/3 of the planks, face to face throughout the available space downstairs (don’t forget, this definitely counts as moving the wood again).  We locked the cats in the guest room and got started spreading the tung oil on to the floor bottoms.  With the first brush stroke, the wood was transformed into something with even more depth and variation.  If we were this excited with how the bottoms were looking, we could only imagine how good the faces were going to be:
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t
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Although the tung oil did not smell very strongly at first, we quickly realized that the fumes were much stronger than we had expected (it’s polymerized tung oil with all sorts of other solvents mixed in).  We were nearly done, so we decided to  hurry through it and get out of the house since we didn’t know where our respirators were (and already weren’t thinking clearly).  When I stepped outside, the cold fresh air felt so good.  I cleaned up our brushes and headed back inside to get ready for work.  By then, the whole house was filled with the fumes (except for the guest room, where the cats were because we put a towel at the bottom of the door).  Tina was reluctant to get moving and that’s when I knew I had to push her to get out of there.  We each quickly showered with the bathroom window wide open to the 30 degree air (freezing is better than dead) and got out of the house.  We could both feel some effects of the fumes and, now knowing how bad the fumes really were, we resolved to use our respirators.  I ran home at lunchtime to check on the cats.  There was no odor at all in the guest room where the cats were and the smell was beginning to dissipate from the house.  I took a few minutes to open some windows and run the fans to exchanged as much air as I could, then closed everything back up and headed back to work.

I knew we would have to seal the 2nd floor with plastic to help contain the fumes downstairs and the cat hair upstairs once we were ready to put the finish on the floors.  Having realized the power of the fumes, I decided it was now time to move forward with that task.  I was a bit concerned as to how I would keep the cats from shredding the plastic and gaining access to the floors and for the past few weeks, I had been mulling over the idea of adding a temporary door at the top of the stairs.  Convinced by the power of the fumes, I headed down to the workshop after work to see what  I had available to rough in a door.  I had plenty of 2x4s and most of the doors in the house are being stored in the basement awaiting a fresh coat of paint, so I borrowed one that opened the right way and got busy measuring and cutting.  I built the rough box in the basement and carried it upstairs.  I removed the trim from the bedroom doorway so I could hide the new screw holes behind it.  I stood the frame up and screwed it in to place.  I placed two more studs at the appropriate width for the door and secured a header between them at the top of the doorway.  I added some small blocks  in the open space beside the door and added a small strip of plywood on the bottom of the opening to prevent the cats from getting through.  I then drilled out a hole for the latch, mortised the hinges, and hung the door.  With a few adjustments, everything worked.  I ripped some spare 1x3s in half and installed those pieces as door stops.  Then i wrapped the whole frame in plastic and sealed it all with painters tape.

Here is the finished product from downstairs:
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Here is the view from upstairs.  I purposely left the top panel wide open to allow light from the fixture into the hallway.
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A closer view of the “air lock” from the bathroom:
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While I was working on the airlock, Tina flipped the sets of planks downstairs and applied a coat of tung oil.  Once I finished my task, I joined her downstairs.  After we finished, we headed upstairs to see how the airlock faired.  The smell was greatly decreased upstairs but still evident.  We got some additional plastic and sealed off the heat vents and returns and noticed an immediate improvement.  Satisfied, we called it a night…

New Underlayment

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Today’s task was to get the new 1/2″ four-ply CDX underlayment installed over the 3/4″ OSB subfloor.  We decided to put down new underlayment for a couple of reasons.  The first was that we plan to run the flooring along the direction of the floor joists in the living room and we wanted to be sure we had a stiff-enough subfloor to prevent sagging between the joists.  The other issue is that OSB doesn’t hold nails very well and we thought that a layer of plywood would provide a better grip for the flooring nails.  The new underlayment will be glued and screwed every 6″ along the joints and every 12″ along the joists in the center of the boards.  Falmouth Lumber had delivered all of the plywood yesterday morning so I was almost ready to get started.  First, I had to clear out the living room and dining room.  The biggest obstacle to deal with was the 14′ hickory planks and all of the white pine planks.  I moved the shorter pine planks into the guest room on the far side of the hickory pile.  I re-stacked the longer pine and hickory planks against the front of the living room.  Has everyone been keeping tabs on how many times we’ve moved this wood already?  You should be!  This gave me enough space to start laying the plywood down:
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Here is another view of the new stacks:
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Once I had cleared my workspace, I got started laying out the new plywood.  Because I have to lay the new sheets so that I don’t end up with overlapping joints, I spent a few minutes measuring distances from walls to joints just to orient myself.  It was a good thing I did, because the walls of the house are not very square!  I decided that the best thing to do would be to start on the first full row in from the back wall and then I could measure and cut the necessary angles to fill in the row against the wall.  Since nothing seemed to be square, I decided it would be wise to make sure I was laying the plywood in the correct spots with respect to the floor joists.  I went down to the basement and pulled away some insulation at either end of the house and drove some screws up through the floor on either side of a handfull of floor joists.  I went back upstairs, where I split the difference between the pairs of screws to show me the joist location.  I ran some temporary guide strings to help align the first row and got to work gluing and screwing the new underlayment.  Once I found my rhythm and and my back went numb, I was able to move along fairly quickly.  When I finished the first two rows, I decided it was time to move the stacks of flooring again to the back of the living room:
IMG_7405_new_underlayment

I quickly filled in the remainder of the living room and made my way in to the kitchen.  I had been making good progress but now I had to deal with some of the things I had left unfinished yesterday.  The sink base cabinet was still firmly attached to the floor (with a layer of linoleum covered underlayment in between) and constrained vertically by the drain plumbing and horizontally by the copper supply pipes coming up through the floor.  In this photo, note that the dishwasher has quite a range of movement with the long electrical wire and that the top of the cabinet is the best place to keep the glue filled paint tray and caulking gun if you don’t want your cats attached to either:
IMG_7406_sink_base_problem

To deal with the sink base cabinet, I decided to use the Dremel to cut the back of the cabinet below the drain pipe to allow the cabinet to slide up the wall.  Once that was done, I unscrewed the cabinet and slid some long 2x4s underneath.  I then raised the cabinet by placing blocks under each end of the 2x4s:
IMG_7408_sink_base_solution

Having lifted the cabinet, I was now able to tackle the problem of getting the underlayment out.  The two copper supply pipes ran through holes bored through the underlayment after it was installed near the back of the cabinet.  Using my longest pry bar, I was able to loosen the underlayment all around, but obviously, I couldn’t get it off the pipes.  I realized I had to cut the underlayment into two pieces along the plane of the pipes in order to remove it.  Since no powertools would reach, I headed for the basement to grab my handsaws (the chainsaw did tempt me, but I thought better of it).  Back upstairs, I began the tedious task of sawing through the plywood.  My longest handsaw wouldn’t fit vertically in the space under the cabinet and my shorter saw barely reached half-way across the cabinet.  I had about half an inch of stroke to make the cut.  As you can imagine, it took me the better part of an hour, but I was finally able to get the old underlayment out without damaging the cabinet or the pipes.

Remember the dishwasher leak that I had mentioned yesterday?  Well, the water had managed to get through the linoleum and thoroughly soak the OSB, which expanded to about twice the original thickness.  I always thought there was a bit of a hump in the floor in front of the dishwasher.  This significant deformation would definitely cause problems with the installation of the hardwood, so it had to be removed.  I thought about removing the offending pieces of subfloor, but one of them was under the sink base cabinet and would have been another problem with the pipes so I decided to flatten the spot out.  First, I started with some 80 grit sandpaper on my beltsander.  That worked fairly well until I started getting down to the nails, which would tear up the sandpaper.  It was also making quite the cloud of dust.  I decided to try tackling it with my cheapest plane instead.  I was able to remove bigger chunks even faster, and as long as I kept setting the nails as I exposed them, I could go over them with the plane.  Once the floor was nearly level again, I used the belt sander to smooth out the remaining small hills and valleys.  OSB actually looks interesting when planed and sanded:
IMG_7409_flattening_under_dishwasher

Once those hurdles were out of the way, I was able to finish up the kitchen and hallway.  With the new underlayment down, we were one step closer to installing the floors!

Exposing the Subfloor

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

With Tina in New Hampshire for the weekend, the painting complete, the hickory acclimated, and the big push to finish processing data for Copenhagen finally over, I decided it was time to get rid of the rest of the linoleum so we would be ready to start installing the hardwood.

We had removed some of the linoleum already from the dining room, but the kitchen and hallway remained:
IMG_7395_kitchen_floor_before

The first step was getting the refrigerator out of the way. I decided to put it in the guest room because I didn’t want to block any doors and that was the only place where I wouldn’t have to keep moving it once we started installing the floors. I measured the doorway between the trim (29.5″) and the refrigerator (29″ without the handles) so I removed the handles and started sliding the fridge through the doorway. I quickly discovered that the fridge leans to the back slightly and that there was no way it was going through the doorway. After a quick survey of the situation, I decided the only way to proceed was to remove the doors and push it through:
IMG_7397_getting_fridge_in_guest_room

Once the fridge was gone, I was able to start removing the bottom cabinets.  Since we are significantly raising the floor with a thicker underlayment and the hardwood, we have to deal with the issue of trapping the dishwasher with the thicker floor in front of it.  Initially, we had considered just raising the counter tops by adding another strip of oak to the top of the cabinets.  However, that would still allow spills to flow down to the lower floor below the cabinets, and would severely limit us if we want to reconfigure the cabinet layout in the future.  Therefore, we decided that the correct way to proceed was to remove all of the bottom cabinets and run the flooring underneath.  I moved the smaller cabinets and counter into the guest room too so that we’d have a bit of a work surface in there. Baboi is very happy with the view from the new refrigerator location:
IMG_7398_baboi_approves_new_fridge_location

Once I had gotten some things out of the way, I could start removing the linoleum. To make it easier to rip up and easier to dispose of later, I decided to cut the whole floor up into two foot squares with my circular saw. I set the depth of the blade to just a hair below the depth of the underlayment and got to work making my grids (this is also a good view of old color vs. new color where the cabinets have been removed):
IMG_7399_cutting_old_floor_up

I was able to move pretty quickly through the kitchen and hallway.  Soon I had a pile of rubble:
IMG_7401_kitchen_floor

Before I could remove any more underlayment, I had to remove the remaining base cabinets and appliances.  I decided not to unhook the stove because we can still use it for now and I don’t want to deal with the gas line either.  I unhooked the plumbing for the dishwasher (and discovered that the supply line had been leaking for quite some time) but left the electrical connection hooked up because there was about 8 feet of extra wire, which would allow me to move it around the kitchen.  The two end cabinets came out easily.  Those got moved to the basement for temporary storage.  The sink base cabinet was installed before the plumbing was run, so it couldn’t be removed without doing some significant plumbing work.  I decided to leave it in place for now and deal with it later:
IMG_7402_No_Cabinets

After the cabinets were out of the way, I unhooked the supply lines and drain from the sink and moved the counter top to the basement for temporary storage.  I hauled all of the linoleum squares out to the back yard where I made a temporary pile.  We’re still investigating the best way to dispose of the larger demolition material.  I cleaned up the day’s sawdust and decided to call it a night.