It Started with the Hallway

Between three iPhones, one which is broken, I forgot  I took photos of the hallway in the new addition on my work phone.

In the meantime, I planned to write a blog post on visiting Andy Wyeth’s art studio in Chadds Ford, PA, but unfortunately, the photos are on my broken phone.

Soon I’ll have the photos transferred to my new phone. Apple is sponsoring me with a new iPhoneX for my blog! I can’t wait to start using it!

Here are a few photos of the hallway in the new master bedroom wing taken on 12/26/17.

Stepping on the hallway landing…the staircase I climbed led to the attic in the original/old split level design; now it enters into the new wing.

Someone recently said to me “I like your UGG shoes.” I replied, “They’re not UGGS, they’re slippers from Lands’ End.” (Product provided to me for review.) I have to admit, I forgot they were slippers and I wore them out shopping.

The stairs going down lead to the other three bedrooms and hall bath.

We were so used to looking at a sub floor that it’s still hard to believe we have flooring. It’s true, having patience, is a virtue.







Our Strong & Silent Floating Floors

We woke up to about 3 inches of snow this morning. According to the weather report, we could get up to 6 inches in our region. This is a great day for John to continue installing the floating floor in the house; he is now working in the third bedroom.

I want to begin this post by answering the following questions that Jeff, a blog follower, asked me:

Sue, I have a question. Since you’re installing this as a floating floor, have you noticed it being noisy at all when you walk on it? Squeaky or creaky? Does it feel funny to step/walk on?

My biggest fear is if I get a floor like this it will be noisy and/or feel funny. I’ve seen other floors that did both but I don’t know if it was the product or the installation.

But it sure does look awesome-congrats on the deal!

First of all, as with any project, preparation is paramount. If you’re going to install the floor yourself, start with setting all nails. Whether it’s a 1×4 tongue and groove sub floor or standard OSB board, setting nails prevents sub floor movement+noise. Our sub floor is 63 years old and the OSB in the new addition (master bedroom) is new.

Set the nails so that they are just below the surface of the sub floor. By doing this, it prevents the underlayment/pad and flooring from see-sawing.

After hammering, ensure the sub floor is smooth and on the same plane. Take the head of the hammer and run it over all the nail heads. If a nail head is still protruding, it will hit the head of the hammer. Get a nail set and set it/fix it. These are easy-breezy, simple steps but if they’re not done, it might result in a noisy floor.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes and ears and buy a quality pair of knee pads.

The engineered wood that we purchased is 1/2-inch in thickness and substantial. It is a higher-end product that happened to be on clearance. The thickness has a huge bearing on unwanted floor movement. When purchasing engineered wood, look at all options and samples. Right now Floor & Decor has some of their engineered wood on clearance. We were in the store a few days ago and I saw another pallet on clearance; it was a steal! The manager said that wood flooring will be on sale in February.

Occasionally, when John is working on the 1954 sub floor, there is a peak or valley that is 1/16th or 1/8th-inch gap. He will place a shim between the sub floor and the flooring. This will negate a low point in the floor which would have caused unwanted movement, creaking, noise, etc. The shim brings the low point of the floor to the proper height of the rest of the floor.

So to answer Jeff’s question about whether our floor(s) is noisy, the answer is a resounding NO. The floor is rock solid and does NOT move. It feels like a solid oak floor with a lively bounce…no creaks, no noise! This is due to the high quality underlayment, and of course, installation.

Inexpensive underlayment might not produce the same results.

However, there are pros and cons to everything. There is one thing to consider with this flooring–it is slippery compared to a 3/4″ solid wood floor which has more bite. Solid wood flooring is more expensive, requires nailing each board and is more time consuming to install. If it’s unfinished, you have to finish it, or more than likely, hire a floor finisher so it’s done properly.

Since we waited a long time for the flooring, I only walk on them with slippers, soft sole shoes or boots. I take off hard-sole shoes at the door.

Moving east in the Master Bedroom…

The master bedroom floor was finished in a matter of three days, including walk-in closet and hallway (one-man job).

Because each engineered board clicks and locks together, John said that it has the rigidity of a solid wood floor (if properly installed).

With this said, if I had a tree in my backyard that grew an endless supply of pretty green pieces of paper with Ben Franklin featured on each one, I would order my ultimate dream hardwood flooring from Carlisle Flooring in New Hampshire. Their drool-worthy, wide plank flooring is gorgeous.

Our floating floor(s) is a great compromise and we’re STILL ecstatic about finally having actual floors. (Thank you, Drugstore Cowboy!)





Installing a Floating Floor in the Master Bedroom

In October, we went to our local Floor & Decor store to look for flooring. In a matter of minutes we saw a pallet of flooring on clearance. It was exactly what we were looking to buy, and lucky for us, it was substantially marked down. We asked the salesperson if the clearance price could be marked down further if we bought the whole pallet.

The manager marked it down to only a $1.00 per sq ft for 1100 square feet of flooring.

Considering we have to install flooring in the entire house which is just under 3000 square feet, we were pleased as punch with this purchase. What a deal!

Additionally, we bought two rolls of eco-ultra quiet, acoustical, heavy weight, high density underlayment which is a little pricey but absolutely necessary for installing floating floors. Each 450 sq ft roll is just under $300.00. 

With this amount of flooring, we planned to install it in the new master bedroom and original three bedrooms.

With outdoor projects going on in October and November, we planned to install the flooring once it got cold outside. So just before Christmas, John rolled out the underlayment and installed the flooring in the master bedroom’s walk-in closet first (to the right in above photo).

John has installed traditional 3/4 hardwood flooring in the past which requires nailing. This was the first time installing engineered flooring, so he decided it would be best to start in the walk-in closet.

However, he watched a couple YouTube videos first. 

John was amazed at how quickly he covered the sub floor with 6 1/2″ wide plank boards. Since there isn’t nailing and it’s simply drop and lock, anybody can tackle this project, especially if you’re doing it with another person.

The key is is to start the flooring on the longest wall. The only cutting required is the last board in the course. Occasionally, in order to align seams  properly, two cuts might be required. Seams should normally be no closer than 12 inches.

Each box has six planks (each plank is 48″ L).

John spent a little extra time matching the grain board to board.

In this photo, the grain is lined up perfectly.

A small rubber mallet and a Universal Tapping Block  is recommended to lock the boards together.

Other tools required:

-Mitre Saw or Circular Saw

-Speed Square


-Measuring Tape


NEXT: Finishing the flooring in Master Bedroom





Finishing the Flagstone Front Stoop & Steps!

I took the following photo of John on June 1st when he dug the footing for the front porch/stoop.

Fast forward five months when the masons began work in November.

They started by placing two courses of block on top of John’s inspected footing. The block went over the rebar that you can see in the first photo.

In the above photo, you can see the original stoop inside the new block wall.The masons poured the concrete over it to create the perfect pitch so that water would not pool.

After they poured the concrete, they made it smooth as glass. 

Meanwhile, the flagstone and old brick arrived.

After the the masons built the new stoop, they started on the steps leading down to the driveway.

They dug out large roots from small trees that John had pulled out back in July 2014.

Instead of parging the exterior block, the masons installed old brick to match the house. 

They installed the flagstone on the perimeter of the stoop so that the columns could be installed the next day.

While the masons worked, John was finishing up the Hardie straight edge siding on the front of the house.

Two days before Thanksgiving, the masons finished the job, including helping John install the columns. In the spring, he’ll paint them white to match the siding.

The day before Thanksgiving, Nick returned with his grandson. The final step was scrubbing the flagstone and brick with Muriatic acid.

After five months of stepping over (and tripping over) rebar and caution tape, I almost forgot what it was like stepping onto a stoop and walking down perfectly pitched steps with risers that make it effortlessly getting to and from the front door. This was a major TREAT!  (Merci Beaucoup, RRF!!!)

Before Nick left, I said, “It looks beautiful and it’s just what we wanted.” He replied, “It looks like it was built in 1954, when the house was built.” I said, “It sure does!”

It’s new with built-in character. 

And this morning, with a couple inches of snow on the ground, John wrote out a material list to finish the barrel porch. In January, I’ll decide on a new front door, and in the spring a new garage door. 

Next: Flooring!