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I consider myself pretty handy and have tackled a lot of small jobs around my house. The wife would like to install real hardwood floors in our master bedroom. I've never tackled a job this large and have priced out the labor for this and it's high. But...I don't own any of the tools needed to complete this job....floor nailer, table saw, miter saw, etc. Should I just hire someone or can I just get the needed tools and go for it?
 

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retired framer
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I consider myself pretty handy and have tackled a lot of small jobs around my house. The wife would like to install real hardwood floors in our master bedroom. I've never tackled a job this large and have priced out the labor for this and it's high. But...I don't own any of the tools needed to complete this job....floor nailer, table saw, miter saw, etc. Should I just hire someone or can I just get the needed tools and go for it?
There is lots of help here and you could buy or rent the tools you need for likely less than the labour cost.
 

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I would leave that to someone that has done it before. You can get some real low quality tools when renting. All your cuts could come out off a degree or two, then you would have a lot of gaps where the boards meet. They can also stain the wood for you. Just list exactly what you want them to do, and the type of materials to use. And then make sure they do the work exactly the way you specify.
 

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You say the labor quote is high. What is the time/dollar amount you were quoted.

Do you intend to put in pre-finished hw, or would you have to sand and stain?
 

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I've installed hardwood floors a few times over the years. The first was raw maple planks that I installed by hand (no pneumatic nailer, no compressor), just a circular saw, a drill, and a hammer and nail set. Took me almost a month to finish up, as I could only work after I got off of work or on my days off. Then came the sanding and finishing. I should have hired that part out, as I didn't know that maple doesn't take stain well, and I should have used a wood conditioner first. It came out blotchy. A good flooring crew could have knocked that out in a couple days with far better results.

I've also installed engineered prefinished hardwood which is much quicker. I'm not one to pat myself on the back but it came out damn good. I used a miter saw, a table saw, and a pneumatic nailer with a compressor, which are all part of my tool collection.

This is a great time to buy yourself some tools.
 

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Go for it. A table saw and miter saw are just conveniences. You could do the whole thing with a circular saw. All rips and cuts get hidden under trim. Anything that shows is going to be a factory joint. All end cuts and rips should be covered by trim. You will need to have a flooring stapler and also a finish nailer because the stapler won't fit for the first and last few rows. (those could be hand nailed too).



Biggest challenge might be the doorway. The easiest way to deal with this is to undercut the jambs/casings with a multitool.



It's going to be more work than you think, but then that's how it always goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You say the labor quote is high. What is the time/dollar amount you were quoted.

Do you intend to put in pre-finished hw, or would you have to sand and stain?
Flat labor quote of $2K for 15'X17" bedroom plus two walk-in closets. Will put down pre-finished HW...
 

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Go for it. A table saw and miter saw are just conveniences. You could do the whole thing with a circular saw. All rips and cuts get hidden under trim. Anything that shows is going to be a factory joint. All end cuts and rips should be covered by trim. You will need to have a flooring stapler and also a finish nailer because the stapler won't fit for the first and last few rows. (those could be hand nailed too).



Biggest challenge might be the doorway. The easiest way to deal with this is to undercut the jambs/casings with a multitool.



It's going to be more work than you think, but then that's how it always goes.
I was wondering if I could just do it with a circular saw. But I'd really like to get a miter saw anyway since I plan to do some other projects. As for a table saw I really don't want to get one of those since I'd probably won't use it much. But I do have a Porter-Cable multi-tool that can do the undercut around the doorway. What's the best way to do the rips of the flooring using JUST a circular saw?
 

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My time is worth more than that. Plus it will cost a lot more to correct mistakes. Hire someone that has done this before, watch them or even help with some things. You are looking at approx 145 pieces of lumber to set. My calculation is based on the direction of the room, and the lumber being laid parallel with the longest side, and the lumber being 4 inches wide. (2) 8 foot pieces would span the room the other direction, but you cannot have all joints in the same location in the center of the room. If so you could get by with approx 105 pieces.


The hardwood flooring in my house span the width of the room in each room. The smallest width room we have is 24 feet. One can only get that now if you mill your own lumber. What I cannot stand is to see a room with hardwood flooring, fake or not, that is been cut into 4 foot lengths. That just looks awful.
 

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You want to do a drawing of the room and find what is out of square and find all the problems before you start. If you have only part of a piece to finish then you start with a piece have of that so it is balanced but you don't want a sliver so instead of a sliver you can add 1/2 the width if the board to the sliver and it will still be balanced.



So do a sketch and measure all the walls and details and post a picture of that. Show which way the floor joists go.

Some decisions can't be made before you have the wood on site.
 

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I would use the engineered flooring, already finished and get the best idea of the finished look. I think the old strip flooring is unnecessary these days and it will also add height. It belongs to neither nostalgia nor environmentally safe. Also do you have some idea how to handle the transitions, esp the doors to the bath, hall? I'm not sure why you are thinking of table or miter saws? I agree that these would be convenient to have but not necessary. Even before sanding, all finish parts will/should not see any cuts. Cut ends will be covered with base and shoe moldings. Under the door, flooring must go under the door trims/jambs with the movement spaces in mind.
1/2" engineered flooring should get you the best of wear layer thickness and least added work of finishing. They can be stapled instead of floating but better chances of well installed repairs. Look for thickest wear layer and at least 20 years residential warranty. Bruce is one brand I know that has history. There are many other brands. I'd stay away from lumber liquidators for a history of selling low quality brands.

Traditional strip floors have the advantage of being under your control from beginning to end, but that assumes you know about it from beginning to end.
I think I can do a floor with jigsaw, if necessary, with a stapler, where stapler can't be used such as close to a wall, glue and hand nail every 3' or so and weigh down these parts under glue sets.
 

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Flat labor quote of $2K for 15'X17" bedroom plus two walk-in closets. Will put down pre-finished HW...
Sounds like a reasonable price to me.

If you want to give it a shot yourself, put some flooring down in a small closet. You will know if you have the desire/tools to do the job. If you find the job is beyond what you want to do, call the man.
 

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An easy way to "rent" tools you don't think you'll need again is to buy on Craigslist. When you're done, sell back on CL. If you keep the tool in good shape, you can pretty often get back what you paid for it.
 
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