Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hardwood flooring and back to the job world

My idyllic life as a house husband came to an end this week. For the past 2 months I have been renovating our house, painting and installing flooring, cleaning, and making lunches and suppers for Rani. The projects are not done, but it's time to earn, what cruisers Lin and Larry Pardey call 'Freedom Chips'. I am back at the CHISEL research lab at the University of Victoria working for the professor who supervised my Masters thesis a few years ago. I will also be teaching a third year computer science at the university on systems analysis, starting in September. Meanwhile, the renovations continue...

After the vinyl flooring was finished, we moved on to the living room and hallway, removing the old paneling in the living room (2 layers of it on one wall!).

Living room exposed drywall. The back of the paneling is quite a nice mahogany like ply.

The walls under the paneling were dry-walled, thankfully, so all I had to do was fill in some unfinished areas and all the nail holes from the paneling. Note the delightful russet coloured carpet and the back of the old fridge.

We painted the living room ceiling (it was stained brown from cigarette smoke etc), the walls (a llight grey green) and the hallway (a lighter shade of the kitchen yellow).

Hallway with new paint and old carpet.

We also painted the living room floors after soaking various spots along the walls with vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to remove cat odours.

Painted subfloor - paint was recycled from an enviro-depot. Walls are painted a light grey green.

I could not find a second hand manual hardwood nailer locally at a decent price and renting an air powered nailer would cost $80 per day, but I managed to find one through craigslist in Winnipeg and the owner posted it to us for a total cost of $70, including a couple of boxes of nails.

The nailer is made in Quebec and is designed for the DIY crowd
because you can strike it multiple times to set each nail. 

The nailer did not come with a mallet, so I taped discs of vinyl flooring to my 2.5 lb pocket sledge hammer and another disc on the nailer face to cushion the blow. It takes me 3 or 4 blows to set a nail and I have managed to jam the thing twice so far, requiring a disassemble to free it up. However it works very well, driving heavy 2 inch nails into the tongue of each board at 45 degrees. The alternative, and what you do when you near a wall is to pre-drill for 2" finishing nails and nail each one by hand, setting the nail in with first the side of a nail set and then its point. 

Chris using the nailer.

Some of the hardest bits are around doorways and entrances. There are 9 of these in the hallway and living room! 3 Closets, 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, and the kitchen and dining room entrances. Each requires undercutting trim so that the flooring will slide under it as well as cutting complex threshold pieces. I picked up a nice old Rockwell table saw to do these longer beveled cuts.

Beveled piece bridging kitchen to hallway. The nails holes will be filled with
putty and the raw wood varnished to match.

The flooring job should be finished by the time Rani flies to th UK to visit he parents and relatives in a couple of weeks.