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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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!! :banghead: 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!! :laugh:).... 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.

20150720_170744.jpg

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??? :unknown:


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.
 

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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.:flag_of_truce:

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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It’s doable. But will take a lot more wood than you think. Also after you have it milled make sure you kiln Dry it.

Yes it’s 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 it’s not that hard. Buy a used nailer off of Craigslist or eBay then sell it when you’re done.

You could also call weavers woodworking in Ephrata pa.
It’s where I got my quartersawn oak flooring. Much cheaper than anywhere else I could find. Get #2. It’s 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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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.
 

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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,,, :dunno:
 

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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,,, :dunno:
Hardwood flooring is expensive to remove and dogs are bar-none the most damaging critters known to man on natural flooring. I'm working on a house currently that has oak and two large dogs that pissed in several locations regularly. Couple that with their nails and coming in wet, the damage can't be sanded out. We have to pull it. It will be replaced with middle of the road ceremic.
 

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Exactly right

It’s doable. But will take a lot more wood than you think. Also after you have it milled make sure you kiln Dry it.

Yes it’s 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 it’s not that hard. Buy a used nailer off of Craigslist or eBay then sell it when you’re done.

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




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Well said. Kiln drying is a must to kill insects, mold, bacteria etc. Depending on the wood, it should either be quarter sawn or hard wood able to withstand the wear. Tongue and groove is a must in my view as wood will move and you don't want a crack straight through.

I'd run the numbers. If you can do it for not too much more than new flooring, it might be worth it for character. My guess is that it won't save much, if any money but it's worth the research to see.

Treefarmer
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Many, many THANKS to all of you that chimed in!! I appreciate the input and advice.

Kiln drying to kill the bugs wasn't something that had cross my mind. I figured these timbers were cut down 150 years ago and that they were about as dry as they were going to get. Considering that they've been outside in someone's driveway for the last three years, bugs are certainly a possibility. Sweetie already complains every time she sees a bug (Hey! We live in the middle of woods! Of course there are going to be bugs!!) so the last thing I want to do is introduce some more from the flooring.

Also, I don't know enough to just look at the timbers to tell what kind of wood it might be. It could be a mix, although based on my own woods, it could be ash or oak. I've got tons of dead ash on my property - too bad that wouldn't be good for flooring.

CADPlans - I watched that episode of This Old House (actually watched it twice! :laugh:). I've bookmarked that outfits website on my tablet. They offer a lot of different options include some more rustic finishes such as hand scraped. I'll give them a call or email them to get pricing. It would be a bit of a drive, but not something that would take me more than a long day. Your floor looks great! Is your crew available? :)

J3 - I love your floor as well!! Were the little square inlays something that you had to cut in yourself, or did they come in the floor?

THANKS again to everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Follow up question...

Sweetie and I are trying to figure out what flooring to put in what rooms. I'd like to do wood in the living room, kitchen and dining room. I'd leave carpet in the bedroom.

When the flooring guy came over here I asked him about the flooring in the kitchen. In my weak mind, I think that the cabinets and island should come out and then lay new flooring in the entire area and then reinstall the cabinets. He said that standard practice was to just butt the flooring up to the cabinets and then finish it with trim/baseboard. I'm thinking that is going to limit me if we'd ever remodel the kitchen and would cause a lot of problems trying to patch in flooring if we relocated stuff during a remodel. My water lines are pex, so they're flexible and have plenty of slack to absorb a 3/4" height increase. We have an electric range. So I think that the only thing that might need adjusted is the kitchen drain PVC.

What do you guys think?



And, a second follow-up question....

How many of you guys have installed this stuff yourself? Again, my weak mind thinks that once you've got the starter courses laid that everything else installs pretty quickly. Yeah, I know there's some measuring and making sure that things are square, but is this a pretty good DIY job for someone that's moderately handy? I'm not all that fast at doing things, but I generally do a pretty decent job. I probably would hire out the sanding/staining part of it.
 

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Yes to running the flooring under the base cab's. Or at least a cheaper subfloor under the base cabs that is equal in height to the finish floor. Otherwise a few years from now when you are trying to replace the dishwasher the height difference will make you use bad words.
 

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Easier to go around the cabinets and island. Better long term if remodel is a possibility to go under.
Generally though, the flooring is replaced when remodeling so maybe a moot point?
For sure get the appliances level with the new flooring though, regardless of decision!

As for ease, I've never installed hardwood.
I put vinyl plank through our basement and LOVE it. Clicks together like laminate, but it is easier to work with and looks better.
Also, it's warmer to the touch and (so far) the most durable flooring I've seen.
We dropped all sorts of tools, screwdrivers, tin snips, pliers, hammers, etc on it from the ladders when installing the ceiling and not even a mark.

Here's a pic of the flooring. Disregard the shotgun laying on it! lol :lol:
 

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When the flooring guy came over here I asked him about the flooring in the kitchen. In my weak mind, I think that the cabinets and island should come out and then lay new flooring in the entire area and then reinstall the cabinets. He said that standard practice was to just butt the flooring up to the cabinets and then finish it with trim/baseboard. I'm thinking that is going to limit me if we'd ever remodel the kitchen and would cause a lot of problems trying to patch in flooring if we relocated stuff during a remodel. My water lines are pex, so they're flexible and have plenty of slack to absorb a 3/4" height increase. We have an electric range. So I think that the only thing that might need adjusted is the kitchen drain PVC.
This issue is a battle on every single project. The cabinet installers like to have the cabinets installed first so they can level their stuff and if there are any gaps, the flooring butted up against the cabinets hides the gaps. Plus, they don't have to worry about damaging any flooring as they work.

When I was installing flooring I always preferred to install the flooring first. It's easier (fewer cuts) for the flooring installer that way and if the owner decides to re-arrange something in the future, the flooring is already there. They don't have to play games trying to patch in something and a match it.

I got a call from a General Contractor several years back wanting me to come look at a flooring job. The CG built a multi-million dollar house and had everything done before he called anyone to do the flooring. Everything in the house was done except the flooring. ALL of the baseboard and shoe molding was already installed and painted and the CG wanted to install the hardwood and tile without taking any of the baseboard off or screwing up any paint. Every flooring guy he called refused the job. Not gonna mess with that kind of stuff. He spent 5-6 months trying every flooring guy in the area before finally giving up and tearing out all the baseboard molding.

And, a second follow-up question....

How many of you guys have installed this stuff yourself? Again, my weak mind thinks that once you've got the starter courses laid that everything else installs pretty quickly. Yeah, I know there's some measuring and making sure that things are square, but is this a pretty good DIY job for someone that's moderately handy? I'm not all that fast at doing things, but I generally do a pretty decent job. I probably would hire out the sanding/staining part of it.
If you're installing prefinished flooring it isn't difficult as long as you are careful with the nailer. (You can tear out the edge pretty easily if you don't set the nailer correctly.) It is time consuming and your knees/back will hate you for several weeks but otherwise, it's just a big jigsaw puzzle.

If you decide to install unfinished flooring and have never run one of those big sanders before, perhaps install it yourself and then hire out the sanding. Those sanders can eat a LOT of flooring fast if you mess up using them.
 

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J3 - I love your floor as well!! Were the little square inlays something that you had to cut in yourself, or did they come in the floor?

THANKS again to everyone!
I put each one of those suckers in. Added a lot of time but worth it in the end. Bought a mortiser and used the half inch bit to cut the hole.

Then I cut walnut into 1/2” square strips and about 3/8 thick and glued them in, ant cut them flush with an oscillating saw.

Also check out http://rehmeyerfloors.com/ this The owner is a friend of mine. His flooring isn’t the cheapest but it’s some of the nicest stuff I’ve seen.

The hand scraped walnut with pegs is unbelievable.



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Installing flooring

Sweetie and I are trying to figure out what flooring to put in what rooms. I'd like to do wood in the living room, kitchen and dining room. I'd leave carpet in the bedroom.

When the flooring guy came over here I asked him about the flooring in the kitchen. In my weak mind, I think that the cabinets and island should come out and then lay new flooring in the entire area and then reinstall the cabinets. He said that standard practice was to just butt the flooring up to the cabinets and then finish it with trim/baseboard. I'm thinking that is going to limit me if we'd ever remodel the kitchen and would cause a lot of problems trying to patch in flooring if we relocated stuff during a remodel. My water lines are pex, so they're flexible and have plenty of slack to absorb a 3/4" height increase. We have an electric range. So I think that the only thing that might need adjusted is the kitchen drain PVC.

What do you guys think?



And, a second follow-up question....

How many of you guys have installed this stuff yourself? Again, my weak mind thinks that once you've got the starter courses laid that everything else installs pretty quickly. Yeah, I know there's some measuring and making sure that things are square, but is this a pretty good DIY job for someone that's moderately handy? I'm not all that fast at doing things, but I generally do a pretty decent job. I probably would hire out the sanding/staining part of it.
I've laid hardwood and it's hard work to do it right. Our's might have been an extreme case as it was 2" wide shorts which makes for a pretty floor but a PIA to install. It was also done with a hammer nailer rather than air operated. If you did wider planks and longer, it would be easier but it's still hard work.

By the way, ash makes a pretty floor. I made an ash transition strip that made me wish I had enough to do the floor. It is a little softer than oak but would stand up to home use.

Treefarmer
 
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