Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DIY Herringbone hardwood floors series - PART 1

Last weekend, my husband and my father in law began working on our herringbone kitchen floors. They are far from done, but since the process is very complicated, I figured I would start trying to break it down now. I definitely don't presume to be any kind of expert on herringbone floors, but I had a lot of trouble finding step by step guides when we were starting out, so I thought I would try an fill this bizarre internet void with my own babbly version of how-to-herringbone.

The last time I blogged about our floors, we had just uncovered that half of our kitchen had previously been covered with ugly laminate flooring, which we now needed to recover.


Where do you buy wood for herringbone floors?

My answer to where to buy anything is always kijiji. I spent about two weeks watching kijiji for ads to pop up, either from people who were selling extra flooring, or from flooring stores running promotional sales. Since I had such a specific idea in mind (multicolor stained herringbone floors) my choices were a bit limited.

I finally decided to go with Seaway Cabinets and Flooring, a local (well, Prescott area) wholesaler that offers unfinished, rustic grade oak flooring for not very much money. For the 250 square feet I needed, they offered me two choices:
  •  For $650 (plus tax) I could get my 250 square feet of flooring, with boards ranging from 14" to 7 feet long.
  • For $1125 (plus tax) I could get the same floors, but they would be cut and ready for herringbone installation.
Having floors pre-prepped for herringbone installation is actually a lot more important than it sounds. If you start with uncut wood and cut it yourself, you lose the grooves that are generally used to secure hardwood floors to eachother. The prepped flooring comes with grooves added, so that the floors can be installed much easier.

So which choice did I go with?

Well, it's probably a sign of how devastatingly cheap I am, but I went with option one. Getting 250 square feet of flooring for under $750 was just too alluring for me.


 If you can afford it, and you can find a place that offers it, you should totally go with pre-cut and pre-prepped wood. We added a lot of extra work for ourselves because we did it ourselves (which at the end of the day we're really fine with, but if you can afford to have someone cut it perfectly for you, work it!) 

How do you know how much flooring to buy?

If you are going to be cutting them yourself, it's a good idea to get about 25% to 30% more than what you need. Our kitchen measured at 190 square feet, and with 250 square feet of material, we will probably have a bit leftover, but not much. 

Acclimating your wood

We let our floors acclimate for a week, by keeping the wood in the same room that we were going to be using them. I can't think of anything more torturous than waiting to install floors when your floors look as hideous as ours did, but everyone and their dog recommends letting the wood acclimate for a significant period of time, and for a process that is as nit-picky as herringbone floors, I'd say it's worth the trouble.

Cutting your wood

Once your wood has acclimated, you need to figure out how long your herringbone pieces will be. The ONLY thing you need to know when deciding on your length is that the length of your herringbone pieces need to be a multiple of the width of your boards.

Confused? 

So were we. In fact, it took me hours to actually mentally figure out what that meant. By the time I got it to make sense, Joel had gone to bed and I had to wait until the next morning to explain it to him. 

Basically:

 

 Here's why:

So really, you just need to figure out a length that looks appealing (for us, our length is the width of five boards) and work with it so that it it's a multiple of your board length. Deciding on our floor length really felt like a milestone in this process - it meant we were ready to start cutting and laying floor!

Check back in a couple of days for part 2 of my herringbone hardwood floors series!

4 comments:

  1. Oh dear Lord! What a project. It will be AMAZING though! That floor pattern is ridiculously cool...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent tips, i really dint know you need to line up in certain way. thanks 4 the information for hardwood floors

    ReplyDelete

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