Wood Flooring - Is this a dumb idea? Or is it doable?
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    Wood Flooring - Is this a dumb idea? Or is it doable?

    Sweetie and I live in a log home. It was built in late 2000 and we moved into it in late 2010. The carpet is original and is due for replacement.

    We've talked about wood floors for the living room and hall. We have also talked about them for the kitchen and dining room, but would be happy with something else in those rooms. We had a flooring company come out last spring and gave us an estimate for wood (engineered) floors on the first floor, some carpet upstairs, new tile in the entry way, etc. $25,000!! So, we're scaling back a bit.

    We've looked at laminates, engineered woods, etc. and nothing has really jumped out at us. I've also talked to a fairly local company that takes old barn wood and mills it into flooring. Beautiful look, but with installation, etc., we're looking at close to $25k just for the first floor. Again, a little more than I want to spend.

    We went through an open house a few years ago that had reclaimed wood floors from some old cabin or house. Very cool, lots of character. Wide plank floors that appeared to be butt-jointed and face nailed with cut nails. Looked really good. Would look great in our house.

    So, I've been thinking (which is always dangerous!! ).... Three years ago the owners of a property a couple of mailboxes up the road from me dismantled the old house that was on their property. Their original plan was to expose the underlying cabin and restore it, but for some reason they never did it and tore the house down instead.

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    Some people that live a few more driveways down the road bought the timbers and also the old foundation stone. The timbers have been sitting (elevated) in a pile, covered by a tarp in the driveway since July of 2015. That couple is now divorcing. The wife is still in the house. I'm thinking about offering to buy those timbers and have them milled into flooring to try and mimic what we saw a few years ago. We have a couple of local guys with saw mills around here. What I think would really look cool is if I can find someone with a circular saw mill to get those kind of saw marks in the wood (as opposed to band saw marks). I'd leave them fairly unfinished, only sanding enough to make sure there is a minimal chance of splinters. I'd probably want to trim the sides to get a fairly tight fit, but would try to leave some imperfections in the joinery. Like the other reclaimed flooring we saw, I'd want to face nail it with cut nails.


    Is this a REALLY DUMB IDEA? Or is it doable and practical? I hate to see that pile of timbers exposed in her driveway and would love to rescue them to be used again just a few hundred feet from where they were in place for years. But, before I go over to start talking to her and measuring to cipher whether or not there are enough timbers to yield the required square footage, I wanted to pass this idea past folks that are a lot smarter than I am!! The wife is a bit of a nut job and if this isn't a viable project I really don't want to even approach her to start the conversation. (NOTE: Not my wife! The divorcing wife where the timbers are!)

    Whatcha think???


    History Note: The house was torn down in July of 2015. It was sold two years before that. The lady that lived in it until it was sold was born and raised in that house. She was in her early 70's at the time of the sale. The house had NO INDOOR PLUMBING!! There was a hand pump and shallow well about 15' off the back porch. There was an outhouse incorporated into the corner of the garage. I went into the house at the time they were auctioning all of the contents off and verified no indoor plumbing. Hard to believe that in this day and age, just a couple of miles outside of a fairly good sized town, that someone was living without indoor plumbing. The lady moved into a retirement community. I'd bet she's been pretty happy to not have to go outside during the cold winter months to take care of her business. Or, maybe not.
    Last edited by mark02tj; 02-06-2018 at 08:06 AM.
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    Last week on "This Old House" they went to western PA and watched flooring being made from local timber.

    From that TV show,,
    my guess is that the entire pile of timbers might end up making enough flooring for,,,,,,
    a small kitchen.

    The flooring process culls so much wood, it is almost unbelievable,,,

    If you watch that show, I am positive you will run over to that flooring company with your trailer,,,
    and bring home what you need to install nice hardwood floors,,,

    I have been there,, done that,, and bought the t-shirt,,,

    This is my truck, and trailer,, right after I picked up our flooring,,,



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    Well, it can't hurt to investigate. Ask what they'd want for the timbers and then ask a mill what they'd want to mill it into flooring planks for you. I suspect you'll drop the whole idea when you hear what they want to charge you for the milling.

    Don't get me wrong, it can be a beautiful looking floor when you're done, but custom milling usually isn't cheap. There are a lot of companies out there that make this sort of thing. Many of the old shoe and wool mills here in New England are being torn down and the old timbers are being bought up by these companies. Most of them seem to be charging about $8.00-$8.50/sq. ft. for milling to a "semi-finished" product.

    So the only way to know if you're being crazy or not is to work all the numbers and see what you can come up with.
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    Oh, yea,, just for info,, (please do not kill the messenger)

    the wood we installed is goncalo alves, a wood that is WAY harder than oak.
    Actually, it is the wood S&W uses for grips,,,






    We paid $2 per square foot for the wood,, and less than $1 per square foot for install and finish.

    It was the height of the housing crisis,, no one wanted flooring,,
    and NO ONE wanted to pay the installers,,,

    So,, we ended up flooring around 1,300 square feet for $4,000
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    It's not going to hurt to check it out. I'd be interested to know what the timbers are. Softwood, hardwood, spruce, yellow pine, hemlock? Personally I would want the flooring to be tongue and groove, which would add to the milling cost. I think I'd try to find an old mill or building being torn down that has flooring you could recycle, but I know you have to be in the right place at the right time.
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    Itís doable. But will take a lot more wood than you think. Also after you have it milled make sure you kiln Dry it.

    Yes itís dry and all but the kiln will make sure any critters (bugs, termites, ants etc will be long gone.)

    We put some old logs and wood in the house. We had ants to deal with once stuff warmed up. Not bad but it took a while to get rid of them all.

    As for installing hard wood itís not that hard. Buy a used nailer off of Craigslist or eBay then sell it when youíre done.

    You could also call weavers woodworking in Ephrata pa.
    Itís where I got my quartersawn oak flooring. Much cheaper than anywhere else I could find. Get #2. Itís almost clear and you can cut knots out and be much farther ahead price wise.




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    Just for reference I did 2300 square fat of flooring for about 10,000.


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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    Oh, yea,, just for info,, (please do not kill the messenger)

    the wood we installed is goncalo alves, a wood that is WAY harder than oak.
    Actually, it is the wood S&W uses for grips,,,






    We paid $2 per square foot for the wood,, and less than $1 per square foot for install and finish.

    It was the height of the housing crisis,, no one wanted flooring,,
    and NO ONE wanted to pay the installers,,,

    So,, we ended up flooring around 1,300 square feet for $4,000
    Wow- you got an amazing deal. I've installed a LOT of hardwood in my former career, and I wouldn't consider installing it for less than $2 a foot. That price was for existing homes (new is easier), prefinished (have to be much more careful when installing), and I had all the work I could handle.
    Last edited by hodge; 02-06-2018 at 11:59 AM.
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    Just got a few thousand sq feet of bowling alley, definitely going to use it. maple and pine t&g ,complete with lines,arrows and patina
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodge View Post
    Wow- you got an amazing deal. I've installed a LOT of hardwood in my former career,
    and I wouldn't consider installing it for less than $2 a foot.
    That price was for existing homes (new is easier), prefinished (have to be much more careful when installing), and I had all the work I could handle.
    At the time, my installer explained the pricing to me,,
    over the previous several years, (prior to my install) we had several Vietnam installers move into Roanoke.

    My installer had been charging over $2.50 per sq ft to install,, but,, from what he said,,
    the new guys were charging just enough to pay for gasoline to get to the job,, and some extra for some rice!!

    He even admitted,, if I called the other guy,, they would have done it for LESS money,,
    I had to use this guy,, he lived right down the road,,,

    I was happy with the install, SUPER happy with the price,,,

    The Roanoke prices are so low for installs,, you could pay this guys price,, plus motels, and meals,,,
    and STILL come out way money ahead,,

    The price is up some,, but, my SIL just had about 1,800 sq ft of oak flooring TORE OUT,,,
    and new oak installed,,, the end price was like $14,000,,,

    He tore out the old because the PO had let dogs in the house,,, for too long.
    The new flooring is stupendous,,, WAY better than refinishing the old floor.

    I was shocked at the labor required to remove the old floors,,,
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