From Logs to Wood Flooring Part 4: Installation

1-copy-copy-copy My flooring project started over a year ago when a pile of pine logs was dumped in my yard. Those logs were milled into planks, dried, and converted to tongue and groove flooring. You can see those stories here:

Sawmill
Kiln Drying
Milling

2-copy-copy-copy The wood flooring was milled into 3″, 4″, 5″ and 6″ widths, in random lengths. There were four different species of pine used. Part of the challenge in putting the flooring down was working to maintain a random pattern. The advice I was given was to not think about it too much. Just grab pieces and go. That technique worked out OK. I had quite a crew of helpers on hand, which made the work go fairly quickly.

3-copy Once the flooring was down it needed to be sanded. This was the part of putting the flooring down that scared me the most. I’ve heard so many stories about floors being messed up by a sander. But I found a really cool machine that has four 6″ random orbit discs on it. It was very easy to use, and I highly recommend this type of machine if you need to sand a floor. (Thanks, Trent, for manhandling the sander for me.)

dsc05320-200x300 It took a few long days to get the first floor of the house, about 1100 square feet, down. My knees hurt, my back hurt, and I was tired, but the floor was down.

5-copy I stained the floor with an off-the-shelf product, applying it with a mop designed for use when staining decks. I had to go back and wipe the excess off with a rag, just like on a woodworking project. I cranked up the heat on the furnace and left the building.

6-copy After allowing the stain to dry overnight, I rolled on a coat of Arboritec water-based floor finish. It really leveled out nice. I put on three coats, scuffing in between the second and third coats with a hand-held random orbit sander. Yes, I was back on my knees again to sand 1100 square feet of flooring, but it had to be done to knock the nibs down.

Everyone loves the results and it’s REALLY cool that it all started with a pile of logs in my own front yard.

Photos By Author

Discussion
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10 Responses to “From Logs to Wood Flooring Part 4: Installation”
  1. Michael Geyer

    I heard that staining the T&G prior to nailing or stapling down guards expansion and contraction exposure. Any truth to that or BS?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Michael. It would probably change the expansion and contraction slightly, but you would not likely notice a difference because the boards are not joined to one another. You might notice very slight gaps during the winter, but it’s not likely that you would notice this any differently if you finished the bottoms because the bottom is not able to quickly accept and expel moisture due to the presence of underlayment and subfloor directly below it.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
  2. Bob Wollard

    Now I can see how you got into shape for the trip to Philmont. The only way this could have been “cooler” was if the logs had come from your own property. I have an uncle in North Carolina who built a custom home in the 1960’s. He utilized the many felled hardwood trees for his flooring and paneling. You did a great job George. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Auret

    Never knew it was such a time consuming and difficult process of getting lumber on the racks at the lumber store. Can now understand why lumber is going at the price it does.

    Reply
  4. Craig

    Won’t the boards have a tendency to warp because they where finished only on one side?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Craig. There are a couple things that help prevent warping in this situation. First, they are nailed in place on one side, and held down on the other side by an adjacent board that it nailed in place. Also, while the finish on the top reduces moisture absorption, the underlayment and subfloor on the bottom of the floor boards also slow down the moisture exchange.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
  5. Terry W Thompson

    Very interesting article. Thirteen years ago my wife, brother in law and I cut approximately twenty two cords of red oak and maple trees from my brother in law’s property one weekend. I took what ended up to be 12 cords of oak. A friend of mine and I hauled the logs to another friend of mine who has a bandsaw mill and had him cut them into one inch boards which ended up to be approximately 6000 board feet. My wife and I hauled them home and piled and stickered them outside. Two years after we had another friend mill about 2000 bf into flooring, 8,6, 5, 4, & 3 inch widths. We hauled them 20 miles by water to our cabin and let them acclimate for two years before putting them down. We face screwed them with finish head screws to give it a rustic look and it turned out fantastic. We also hauled approximately 8 cords of white pine from our island after getting hit by a tornado in 2003. We hauled these across the ice to the same friend with the bandsaw mill and had them cut into dimension lumber, 2×4, 2×6, 2×8, 2×10, 2×12 and the same in one inch boards. We had enough to frame most of our new cabin and make t&g paneling, and 8″ half log siding. We have been salvaging logs and lumber from anywhere we can find it for many years. Our buildings on our island, of which there are three, 12×24, 10×16, and 32×40 are 80% salvaged materials. The cost of everything with the oak, 6000bf, was around $1,200. The pine around $600.00. Not only did it save us a ton of money, it was fun doing the work. We are constantly looking for trees and salvageable materials for future projects. Thanks for the great article.

    Reply