What we Learned about Laying Hardwood Flooring Part 2

By | December 12, 2014

We’re back sharing the rest of the flooring tips and tricks we learned along the way. For Part 1, see yesterday’s post. Again, remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific flooring. These are the tips and tricks we learned along the way.

6. The transitions between the new floor and the carpet or linoleum in the hall bathroom were a little tougher. Each one took about an hour, so I was lucky that there were only four doorways to manage.

Flooring Bathroom Doorway 4

The basic idea is that you cut a channel on the back of the board in order to overlap the other flooring material. It doesn’t sound that difficult, but once you get into it, it is challenging to get everything cut just perfectly.

Flooring Bathroom Doorway Overhang

For the linoleum, Melissa used a marker to color the edge of the wood that showed after I used a scraper to taper the edge down the thickness of the thinner linoleum so there wouldn’t be a lip. (You can see the shavings on the floor. They look kind of like hair, but trust me, it’s wood shavings, not a really gross bathroom floor.)

Flooring Bathroom Doorway 3


The carpet is harder. The thing that makes this especially difficult is fitting the existing carpet under the overlap when the overlap board is installed. You have to stretch the carpet, and tuck it under the overlap.

Flooring Bedroom Door Carpet 3


You also need to place the tack strip in just the right place in order to be able to secure the carpet in place without it being too thick (because the tap strip adds a slight thickness to the carpet) to tuck under the flooring board. You want to hold the tack strip back a fraction of the inch, but this will depend on how thick your carpet is so it might take a few tries to get it perfect.

Flooring Bedroom Door Carpet 2

After getting the carpet trimmed to the perfect size, which is best done in small increments, trust me, I used a sturdy scraper to tuck it securely under the edge of the wood flooring, which was already stapled into place.

Flooring Bedroom Door Carpet


We think the finished result is much better than if we had used an official flooring transition piece that sticks up like a threshold in the doorway. Who needs one more place to stub their toes at night in the dark, right? And, those trim pieces are expensive, as in it would have cost us around $300 extra to use them. Seriously.

Flooring Bedroom Door Carpet 4

7. For the boards along the edge of the room, we had to face nail them (nail down the boards from the top with a regular nail gun instead of using the floor nailer that hides the staples in the tongue). It was a slightly disturbing process at first because it leaves pretty noticeable nail holes in the surface of your brand new floor.

Face Nailed Flooring

Luckily, there’s a pretty easy solution by using a wax fill stick. We picked on up and started filling the face-nail holes and wiped away the excess with a rag. This process is frustrating and a little hard on your fingers. It’s hard to pick them out now that they are filled.

8. When we got to the fireplace, I looked online for possible solutions. The best one was to undercut the fireplace grout. The hard part of this is that you need a special saw to cut through the cement. We used a grout-cutting attachment for the SoniCrafter.

Flooring Fireplace Prep 2

I laid a scrap of the flooring down and let the grout blade ride on top of it as a guide for how much I needed to cut out. I needed to cut out about 1/2 inch to allow the wood to slide under far enough to hide the edge from view. We didn’t get any photos of this because Melissa was working on sucking up all the dust and debris while I was sawing away the grout.

Then, I used a hammer and flat pry bar to clear out the waste material.

Flooring Fireplace Prep

After vacuuming the dust up, we were ready to slide the flooring under and secure it. I still had to cut the boards to the perfect size, similar to how I cut the boards to fit around the openings for the fridge and dishwasher.

Flooring Fireplace Finished


9. For the boards that were against the wall and also under trim, I found it easier to insert them from the side and push them into place. Otherwise, you’ll end up struggling to fit the board under the trim, or cutting the board too small in order to get it to fit. That didn’t happen or anything, just offering it for advice.

Flooring Kitchen Wall


10. For tight-fitting boards, it’s helpful to pry them into place with a crow bar. Otherwise, it’s really difficult to get the tongues and grooves pushed all the way together. Just be sure to not pry so hard you damage the board.

Flooring Application with Pry Bar


One bonus tip: make sure to know how wide your baseboard trim is so you don’t have any gaps after that is installed. You want to leave some room for the flooring to expand, but not so much that the trim won’t cover the edge.

All in all, we certainly don’t consider ourselves to be flooring experts, but we figured we might as well share a few things we learned along the way. The process was long and frustrating, but really worth it because we saved a ton of money by doing it ourselves and it looks great.

What flooring tips have you learned? Feel free to share them below!


2 thoughts on “What we Learned about Laying Hardwood Flooring Part 2

  1. cris

    Nice transition tips… I haven’t heard of doing it that way before. It looks really nice!


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