Adventures In Hardwood Flooring

Late last week we were finally able to start installing our hardwood floors at the new house. It’s going well (we’re getting it done with our own four hands), but it’s proving to be a time intensive project – which is not necessarily the type of project you want to take on when you’re short on time (we’re scheduled to move in this weekend and would like to be completely done with four bedrooms and a long hallway by then – egads!). So once we’re breathing a bit easier and a bit further along, we’ll write up a play-by-play of how it all (literally) is going down. ‘Til then, enjoy this still-dusty pic of the first room we have officially completed: our master (well, we still have to get the baseboards and quarter round in).

As much as our timeline has me sweating bullets, it’s nothing compared to the Cathy-comic style perspiration that I was feeling during the first step of this project: just getting the dang wood home. Allow me to paint sketch you a picture. Lumber Liquidators called me to say my order was in and ready for pick up. Clara was napping so Sherry stayed home with her and I ran off to rent the $19 truck from Lowe’s or Home Depot that they suggested to pick up our lumber (it was a pretty huge order that definitely wouldn’t fit in our car – and renting a truck from blue or orange was cheaper than LL’s delivery service, so they recommended that). Off I went to Lowe’s, where I purchased all of my quarter-round molding for the four bedrooms and the hallway we were tackling (Lowe’s doesn’t let you rent their truck unless you’re making a purchase, but since I needed that stuff anyway it worked out well). Then I headed down the street to Lumber Liquidators.

 

Now, I knew my order would be bigger than our kitchen’s cork floor (which I was just barely able to fit in our Altima, btw) but I was still a bit shocked when I saw the massive stack of boxes being trucked out on a forklift. Was that really all ours? Gulp. It made me very glad I had rented the truck….

…that is, until they started to lower the load onto the truck bed and I noticed one of the tires was squishing down a little more than the other three from the added weight. It definitely wasn’t flat, it was just a little lower than the others on air. Which was enough to turn me into a Nervous Nelly (not to be confused with regular Nelly). But the Lumber Liquidator guys were great and forklifted my materials in a way that seemed to take the brunt of the weight off that tire – and we all agreed it looked okay enough to take it slow and drive the three short miles down the road to the new house.

Well, it turned out to be one of the longest 3 mile drives of my life. First of all, the load proved to be pretty unbalanced. Between my worries about the tire and the fact that the boxes of flooring were stacked pretty high (and not strapped together as tightly as they initially appeared to be), every time I turned I could see the boxes lean one way or the other. And this was despite taking turns at like five miles per hour with my hazards on in the right lane.

 

After a few turns I got a sense of how to shift the load back to an even-ish center, which thankfully squelched the visions that I had of myself in an overturned Lowe’s truck watching my new hardwood floor boards get strewn across the road and crushed by oncoming traffic. And since there were just a handful of turns between me and home, I figured it would be smooth (albeit slow) sailing the rest of the way.

Then it started to rain.

 

In all of my stress about the unbalanced load, I failed to notice the storm clouds that had rolled in without any warning. Awesome. It wasn’t just a drizzle, it was a sudden downpour… and I had dozens of boxes of hardwood floors being protected by nothing but cardboard in my truck bed. Hello blood pressure spike!

Luckily a previous occupant of the Lowe’s truck had left a large plastic drop cloth in the truck bed (something finally went my way!) so I was able to pull off onto a side street and cover everything before it got too wet. Of course it took me a few more death-defying turns to get off and back on the main road, but crisis mostly averted.

No more than one stoplight later, the rain stopped. Stupid thunderstorm. But it was still a bit windy, so my hasty cover job with the drop cloth was now coming back to haunt me and the plastic was starting to flap loose from the truck bed. Cue a few more turns to stop and remove the drop cloth completely.

 

I had barely made it a mile from Lumber Liquidators at this point.

My pounding heart was probably visible through my rain-soaked shirt, but fortunately my next two miles were far less eventful. I soon arrived to the new house, a few hairs grayer but with my hardwoods and truck perfectly upright and intact.

Then it hit me that I had to unload the darn thing. I had completely failed to think about this step in the process. I was alone. Sherry was still with Clara at home – where it never even rained (cue me screaming “What?! Was the cloud just over my truck?! Am I Eeyore?!”). Clearly I didn’t have a forklift at my disposal, so I sucked it up and started wrestling the boxes one by one off the truck and into the house. All 50 of them…

I think it took me a good hour to get them all unloaded. They were heavy (56 pounds each, I later learned), unwieldy (each one is about five feet long), and they all had to come down from the truck bed, up a few stairs and through a narrow doorway in the garage, before I could stack them in the dining room to acclimate before installation. There was no way in heck I had the energy to take them all upstairs at that point, so that would have to wait for another day. Between nearly giving myself a panic attack driving them home and then hauling 2,800 pounds of wood inside (seriously, I did the math) I figured I earned that much.

That was Clara enjoying the new flooring the day after it arrived. Here’s hoping she enjoys it as much once its out of the box and laid across her floor – because that’s what we’re working on today. Woot!

Comments

  1. Amanda says

    I have to say, I think this was one of my favourite posts ever. I love the drawings! Thanks for the laugh.

  2. says

    LOVE THE COMICS! Seriously, you guys should make sketched re-enactments part of your regular routine. Like, once a month? They are sooo funny and awesome and a nice change of pace. So glad the flooring made it safely home.

    • Ashleigh says

      Agreed. It was pretty cute, and while I don’t know Jon, I feel like this was one of those youtube videos with sketches. A+ goes to the Petersiks

    • Vickie says

      Oh, I agree. More comics! Best post ever. I was seriously laughing out loud.

      P.S. The floor looks great!

    • Tanja says

      I read your blog every morning on my way to work and this morning I was killing myself laughing on the bus. I loved the drawings – great job!

  3. Sheela says

    Talk about a labor of love! I’m glad it worked out OK in the end, and I hope you’re not too sore after all of that unloading!

  4. Mel says

    Sorry to hear about the adventure, but may say I enjoyed your visual depiction of the experience. good luck with installation today!

  5. Barb says

    Breathe!
    You will be settled soon and this will all be behind you.

    Look what lies ahead. So darn exciting. You have me rooting for you all.

    You can di it!!!

    B. ( not snarky at all.)

  6. Jenny says

    Well done, and reminds me of some of my remodeling (mis)adventures along the way. DIY is not for the faint of heart!

  7. Amy says

    Hey Guys, just a heads up its pretty easy to pinpoint the area you are located in based on the description in the post. Otherwise, The floor looks great!! Sorry the trip was such a trial

    • says

      Thanks Amy! There are multiple LL stores and Lowe’s in RVA, so we’re ok with what we shared. Our address is public record so if someone really wants to find out, they can – that’s why we’re happy to have an alarm system and a ferocious dog :)

      xo
      s

  8. Sarah says

    Hahaha. You just put your finger on my least favorite part of DIY: driving a precariously-stacked load of supplies home! It gets my anxiety going everytime!

  9. says

    Oh, goodness. I think my blood pressure went up just READING this. The cartoons cracked me up!

    Glad you got them safe and sound. I’m following progress on this project very closely since hardwood flooring is next on our list of home improvement projects. Good to know about renting a Lowes or Home Depot truck. There’s no way that flooring would fit in my little 4-door Corolla!

  10. becca says

    John, please write more posts. with pictures.

    that was the best thing I’ve seen all month.