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I’m Floored!

Posted by on September 5, 2007

It was a very busy Labor Day weekend. On Saturday I began the process of installing 300sq ft. of “utility grade” Oak hardwood flooring from Lumber Liquidators. This stuff is only $.89 sq. ft. — and for good reason. Much of it was under 10″ in length (many pieces significantly less). There were numerous pieces that were improperly milled, missing tongues, missing grooves, etc. I originally purchased 330 sq. ft of the stuff, but upon further reflection decided that I should have purchased less utility grade stuff – maybe closer to 250sq. ft. and maybe 100sq. ft. of good stuff (select Red Oak). I ultimately wound up buying around 60sq. ft. of select Red Oak so that I’d have at least a few long pieces to weave in periodically. Inserting the occasional 8′ long piece after working with tons of 6″ pieces also served as a morale boost – speeding up completion of that row significantly.

All things considered, I probably saved less than $200 in materials. However, I actually prefer the “patchwork” look for a workshop floor and it will definitely be easier to stomach the occasional inevitable incident that results in nicks, scratches and potentially gouges in the hardwood.

The next question is: How do I finish the floor? Do I apply Polyurethane? Water-based? Or should I leave it unfinished?

I’m fairly certain that at some point someone is bound to knock over a can of stain in the shop…and without *any* sealer, the wood will soak it up like a sponge. I’m also concerned about mud and water damage in the traffic areas. However, I’m also leery of a heavy – and occasionally slippery – polyurethane finish. For now I’m thinking of filling, sanding and then using a sanding sealer or possibly a light coat of water-based poly. Research continues.

There’s still a lot of work to do on the interior…but here’s a time-lapse of the weekend’s endeavors below:

The “kid” helping me in the video is “Mike” — he works for the GC who built the addition. My GC recommended him to me and my wife insisted I hire an assistant. My back thanks all three!

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