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How to install a hardwood floor-yourself.
The author uses a borrowed miter saw to cut a plank. The portable saw was set up on two sawhorses, and was easily moved as the work progressed through the house.
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BY JEFF SCHULZE
What to do?
The question nagged at me every morning as I descended the stairs of my townhouse to the main living area. Each day, the morning light illuminated my predicament: What to do about flooring that's seen better days?
The living room carpet was showing the signs of 15 years of foot traffic. Regular vacuuming and the occasional shampooing couldn't undo the years of wear and tear.
The carpet was linked by a thin metal threshold to the vinyl flooring of the kitchen and dining area of my Lee's Hill townhouse. The vinyl, original to the building, was faded, pockmarked and pulling away at the edges. Glue that held the vinyl along a marble hearth had long ago dried out, leaving the vinyl to roll up on itself and crack, exposing the subfloor underneath.
The flooring in the place reminded me of the floors in the decrepit rambler my college buddies and I rented for our junior year. So the time had come to replace it, but with what?
COULD I DO IT MYSELF?
Elbow grease is built into my family's DNA, so I was ready to take on the project myself. Yes, skilled contractors might do the work quicker, more efficiently and with fewer blemishes than I could, but I had vacation time to burn and a yearning to take on a DIY home-improvement challenge. Plus, doing it myself would better fit a newspaperman's tight budget.
Now, about the type of flooring. I could keep it simple, and swap out the old carpet for new and the old vinyl for new. Or maybe I could go with ceramic tile in the kitchen and dining area.
But no, what I really wanted was hardwood across the entire main level.
I saw the main level as a single entity and wanted to create a rustic environment. The hardwood would let me do that. I had previously painted the walls a spruce evergreen color and hung beige, patterned wallpaper in the stairwell. I'd bought faux stones to glue around the fireplace.