I finally got around to snapping some photos of these floors. I was so excited about them that I’ve been Swiffering them almost daily.
So how did I get here? Well remember I talked about repairing the subfloor myself. Well due to some structural issues with the steel beams in my basement and house settling, I called in some pros. That hump between the dining room and the foyer was due to the house settling and the beam not moving. In order for the floor to be level, we had to install additional 3/4″ thick tongue and groove subfloor in the foyer. Then we screwed down thin strips of 1/4″ plywood in the area that surrounded the hump.
This area had to be leveled using self-leveling cement.
We let the cement dry for 3 days before installing the flooring. Once dry, I sanded the rough edges and vacuumed the entire area really good.
Since we were installing over existing wood we used 15lb Felt Paper as our underlayment. It will provide a great moisture barrier as well as some sound dampening. This was a suggestion from our contractor. We found this in the roofing aisle at Home Depot.
We pried away all out baseboards. The old carpet was so thick that the baseboards sat 2 inches above the existing floor. We will be installing all new taller baseboards.
All the door jambs and case molding had to be cut to fit the new floor.
We started in the dining room by stapling down the felt paper. We overlapped each sheet by four inches. The lines on the felt paper made it easy to keep the paper straight.
The flooring we choose was Bella Cera Verona Collection in Hickory Bologna. Its 1/2 inch thick Engineered Hickory Hardwood with a Satin finish.
In order to keep the warranty intact, Bella Cera has some very specific installation instructions. One of them being the requirement of staple down floors to be secured with 18-20 gauge 1-1/2″ staples. While I was able to find the staples at Home Depot with no issue, I could not find a stapler that took that size staple. After a ton of online research, I found my stapler on Amazon. It’s a Freeman 4-in-1 Mini Flooring Stapler. It was only $89 which is a lot cheaper than renting a stapler for 1 week from Home Depot would have cost.
Before we began installing the floor, we practiced using the stapler on a scrap piece of flooring and plywood.
The staples conceal themselves right in the tongue as to not interfere with the installation of the next board.
The width of the first board is 5″ and we added another 1/2″ for an expansion gap.
We snapped a chalkline exactly 5-1/2″ from the straightest wall in the room and installed our first row of flooring.
The stapler doesn’t fit this close to the wall so we had to face nail these boards using 16 gauge finish nails.
In the very first row, we encountered an obstacle. One of the two air vents in the floor. While the vent was still visible, I cut out the flooring using a jigsaw.
The most difficult part of installing this floor was making sure our joints were staggered.
Our boards were random length so it helped a little but it still was a lot of work and planning ahead.
We began fitting several rows at a time then going back and stapling them down.
The hubs did an excellent job stapling while I marked and cut the boards on the end.
The next obstacle I encountered was installing the hardwood floor over the section that I applied cement to.
I wanted the floor to flow seamlessly from the foyer to the dining room and not have a transition. Since I could not staple into the cement, I used adhesive where necessary and staples where there wasn’t cement.
The hubs weights came in especially handy in holding the boards down in the glue when they wanted to bow back up. I strategically used the longer boards so that they could be stapled at each end. I only applied two rows of glue at a time. That stuff was messy as heck and a pain in the but to remove. It also dried quickly and I had to move quick.
To keep the boards from sliding I used painters tape to secure them in place. It worked really well.
The last row had to be glued in place because the stapler would not fit.
For the basement doorway, I created a transition using a 5″ wide board. That way, I wouldn’t have to make a ton of extremely precise cuts to butt up against my stair nosing.
Speaking of stair nosing. Most people install the transitions and nosings first. I planned on doing it that way but then on the day of installation, I realized that my nosings and transitions did not match my flooring. I was heated and I marched back to my dealer and caused a little bit of a scene. I found out that Bella Cera does not manufacture any transitions, moulding or stair treads. They outsource that task to a company called Artistic Finishes. This made me really upset because I specifically asked if the company manufactured the stair nosing and transitions that I needed. My dealer told me yes and placed an order for 5 of them at $75 each.
Since I had a week off from work, I started my install without them and waited for the replacement to be delivered.
The hubs had to go back to work so I finished installing the floor by myself.
I am absolutely smitten with the new hardwood flooring.
The flooring now flows from the foyer to the office ….
And from the dining room to the foyer.
I almost bought new register covers but then decided to spray paint the old ones in Oil Rubbed Bronze to save cost.
Because the floor is about 1/4″ higher than the kitchen, I installed a reducer at both of the kitchen doorways.
The kitchen will likely be tiled in the renovation so I think the reducers were a great choice.
My next project will be the baseboards, shoe moulding and re-trimming all the doorways on the first floor.