DDIY: Wood Woes
Before you decide you can Do It Yourself, there are some warnings you should read about installing hardwood flooring without experience.
The Web is filled with great advice that many DIY advocates ignore. For example:
“Before you approach any DIY project, always calculate the money, time and skill level it will take to complete, and then decide if it is really something you should tackle on your own.”
Or,“If you botch a DIY project, you might wind up paying big bucks to hire a pro to fix the damage you’ve done.”
And yes, desperate calls for help often follow the DIY decision, says Roy Young, quality control manager at Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors in Milford, OH
“Untrained people who decide to install their own hardwood floors can do okay with center of their work area, although many have difficulty keeping the boards in a straight line.
A lot of problems start kicking in when they go to use a nailer. I’ve seen dimples and nicks galore and bigger problems caused by not knowing how to regulate air pressure from the compressor. This in turn may prevent cleats or staples from setting at the correct depth, which will mean a creaky floor.
Worse than that, I have seen a job where the floor was actually over-compressed. So, when the floor expanded during more humid seasons, not only did it start to buckle, but the finish on the surface actually developed a wrinkled texture because the boards had nowhere to expand to.
Other mistakes include gappy, close-in rows that have ugly face nails put in by someone who was inexperienced. I have seen face nails in starter rows in the middle of a room put in by people who don’t how to blind nail both sides of the first row. Obviously, borders and other custom details really aren’t an option for anyone who doesn’t have significant carpentry experience.
And for those who don’t use a prefinished floor and think they are going to sand and finish the floors themselves, watch out.
It’s difficult to ensure that a floor is sanded flat. The inexperienced usually wind up with digs, heavy scratch marks and sander swirls. It’s even more difficult to properly prepare the surface for stain so that you have a nice, even tone and color. Most do not know how to properly perform the needed inter-coat abrasion and subsequent cleaning to increase adhesion that allows for a flat, smooth finish.