Laying my own solid wood flooring

My friend/coworker, Steve, bought a house about two months before me, and decided to lay his own hardwood floor. Being geeks, neither of us are really the handiest people in the world. So I figured I’d see how his experience went before I figured out what to do with my own neon-blue carpeted living room.

Steve’s floor went wonderfully. I’m about one quarter of the way through my floor, and I’ve learned a lot. The biggest lesson I’ve learned? Don’t think that because Steve’s floor went well that yours will too.

Steve had perfectly square rooms, no obstructions, and a perfect subfloor. By contrast, I have curves in my rooms, a brick halfwall in my livingroom, and a big hump in my subfloor — and that was discovered after pulling up 550 square feet of 3/8″ particle board! I’m also laying 5″ plank cherry, whereas Steve put down 2 1/4″ maple. There is, we’ve learned, a difference.

It’s been headache after headache, but to be honest, I have no regrets, and would still rather do it this way than to let a contractor do it. At least this way I know I’ve done my best to get the job done right. And in those places where compromises have to be made, I’m intimately familiar with what’s been done in the event that something goes haywire. Not to mention the fact that for a fraction of what a contractor would’ve cost me (roughly $5ooo), I’ve bought enough tools to start a small woodshop! I now own a table saw, a router, jig saw, belt sander, and a new circular saw. If you’re related to me, expect an adirondack chair for Christmas. These tools have to pay for themselves somehow!