I know I just told you how excited I was about our new bathroom project, but guess what? Life is happening 😉 so the bathroom project has been delayed. Our current priority is installing new hardwood floors in our entire second level. We are playing musical bedrooms and doing it one room at a time.

Some background

We have a house full of maybe 1990’s WHITE carpeting. And we have 2 children and 2 kitties. So it’s yucky. But as of late, one (or both, maybe, we don’t know) of the kitties has decided that the litter box is just too far away in the basement. So we have a problem. And one morning a few weeks ago, we decided we had had enough of the rogue pooper. So we separated the litter boxes, got calming collars, started bringing the suspect down for potty breaks, etc. AND decided that we MUST tear out ALL of our carpet…like now. So we headed to a few different flooring stores, but ended up at good ol’ Home Depot.

There are tons of options when it comes to floors. My house is 1979 so my personal feeling is that the newer styles of laminate and engineered don’t look like they belong in it, so I looked only at hardwood. Even by narrowing to just hardwood, you still have a bazillion choices. Personally, I love the tiny inch and a quarter planks that are in all the old houses in Minneapolis but we wanted something tongue and grooved for easy install and a prefinished product. They had a very nice red oak in two and a quarter inch planks that almost won. It feels very classic and like it wouldn’t look out of place in our 70’s house. Unfortunately they didn’t have it in stock and the 2 week delivery time wasn’t working with my level of impatience. When I asked them what they had 1000sq ft of laying around my options dramatically decreased. There were some ugly 5 inch planks in a few different colors and some two and a quarter inch hickory that ended up being the winner! How’s that for decision making? The best part, this stuff was $3.59/foot which is SUPER cheap!

I’m really happy with the hickory! They are really beautiful with a lot of color variation. The planks are all random length so the installation is slightly challenging, but they look great!

Here’s what we did

I’m sorry I don’t have a before pic for you. Imagine really yucky old stained white carpet.

My dear husband did the hard work of pulling the stuff up =)

Under that we have 1/2″ plywood which is REALLY thin and weak. No wonder the house is so creaky! I notice this now in other people’s houses as I’m out on showings. It’s nice to know the remedy is just new sub flooring! We had to be very careful when it was down to this layer because there are several places you could easily put your foot all the way through it.







We marked the studs and laid on top (in the opposite direction) new 3/4″ plywood and screwed it down with a TON of screws. This makes a REALLY solid new subfloor that doesn’t make any noise when you walk on it.

This is an extra step that it seems like most people don’t do, but in my opinion it is really worth it. We did it downstairs with the new parquet floors too and they still feel super solid a few years later. You have the option of using OSB for this but since we are going to be nailing the hardwood to it, we decided the slightly higher expense for plywood was worth it. For our whole upstairs worth of plywood (plus extra for errors) this is a $1000 addition to the project.

On top of the plywood we put a layer of tar paper and stapled it down.

Now for the fun part!

Laying the floors. I’ve been super swamped with work so I actually haven’t gotten to be as involved with the actual install as I want to be but my husband is doing a great job!

With the different colored and lengths of boards, you need to make sure you’re keeping it random, which is hard because our brains like patterns. You also need to make sure your seams are more than 6″ from each other or it looks really, really bad. I saw some in a house the other day (of course I only noticed because it was top of mind…) but it is amazing how quality of the install can really change the look of the product! Working back and forth across the floor I laid out the boards and he stapled them down. We sprang for a fancy new air nailer which was TOTALLY worth it. The closets, and whenever you get near a wall need to be hand nailed which takes FOREVER and really makes you appreciate the craftsmanship of the old hand nailed floors!

Here’s the vid of the whole process

My camera skills could use improvement. Maybe for the next room I’ll put the camera up in the corner and just leave it there =)

But you can see, it takes a fair amount of planning out where your boards go for it to come out pretty. We pulled for 2-3 different boxes at a time since the boxes are packed with a lot of similar boards.

Here’s the TAADAA!

They are really looking great! I especially love when the sun hits them. It’s amazing how much homier the rooms feel with wood down instead of carpet. We will do trim after we get all the floors done. I still haven’t decided what kind of trim I want. We also need to paint ALL the walls so that project will start someday.

Thanks for reading!


Amy Ranae



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