The Solar Cottage: Installing Solid Hardwood Flooring
Up until this point, Joe had been working on solar, rainwater installation, plumbing, electrical wiring, and many other projects-I’ll be updating you on those projects later! My most important project (at least the one I was most excited about) was the flooring. It was my job to determine what type of flooring, determine who had the best pricing, and then… Learn to install it! Lol!
I knew from the get-go I wanted to do hardwood floors. I thought about porcelain or encaustic or ceramic tile, but with a pier and beam the grout could possible crack. I didn’t want linoleum, although they have some great looking options now days! Hardwood flooring seemed to be difficult to come by in my area. Engineered wood was the option I could find that was close by. While engineered wood would work and is beautiful, the true hardwood appealed to me because if it got scratched I could re-do it down the road and it would look new. So, after confirming solid hardwood flooring was the way to go, I found a place online, located in Florida, who could ship the flooring from the manufacturer for a reasonable price.
After lots of research, I chose white oak for the look, hardness, and price. The wood I purchased was not top of the line, it had some imperfections such as knot holes and some shorter length boards, which is exactly what I wanted, and it lowered the price.
Upon delivery, we had to meet the 18-wheeler up on the main road. Our place is somewhat secluded, and there was no way an 18-wheeler was getting down our narrow dirt road. We had to use a pallet jack to move the wood from the bed of the 18-wheeler to the back of our pick-up; it wasn’t too challenging of a transfer. Luckily, we didn’t have far to drive, because the flooring was extremely heavy and of course the wood was hanging off the end of the pickup. Getting down our dirt road might have proved a challenge had it rained the day before, but we were lucky.
So, with Joe and my two wonderful, hardworking, amazing sisters to help, we started the install. I had done lots of online research on how to install a wood floor, but there weren’t any videos that were just all inclusive. It took a lot of time to piece together information from multiple sources.
I let the wood climatize for several weeks and used a moisture meter to check the progress. After that, we installed the flooring which was many weekends of hard, backbreaking work. Next came the staining and the top coat. I’ve done lots of construction projects before, I help Joe with just about everything. I’d have to say, installing, staining and sealing hardwood flooring was probably one of the most back breaking, frustrating, knee killing, time consuming projects I’ve ever done.
BUT, I’m so so happy with the flooring and how it turned out! Would I do it again? Definitely - YES! It’s probably not perfect, but I know every square inch of this flooring, every knot hole, every blemish, every difficult board along with blood, sweat and tears that went into laying it- and I’m absolutely happy with it! If it gets scratched (which it does with all the caliche and gravel we have) it can be refinished and will look just like new again.
Once the flooring was laid and stained, we covered it with sheets and then large pieces of cardboard to protect the floors while we finished the interior construction.
Installing the flooring was a huge milestone for us. It meant we could proceed with the ship lap walls, the kitchen, and the bathroom design! It meant it was looking more like a home-and not just a construction zone.
Want to see more of the Solar Cottage and how far we’ve come? WATCH OUR VIDEOS HERE!
Greetings from the little solar cottage in Texas!