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!


  1. says

    Oh my gosh, John! That’s a epic delivery story. I’m so, SO impressed you managed to get all of those boxes in – by yourself! I’m pretty sure I would’ve just sat down on the front step and cried.

    Can’t wait to see the floors all installed!

  2. Christine says

    Ha! I loved the comic sketches and the “Am I Eeyore?!” just about made me spit coffee all over my laptop. Sorry it was a rough start… I can hardly wait to see the floors done, good luck with the rest of them!

  3. hjc says

    So I snort-laughed at your illustrations – sorry to hear of your misadventure. Our weekend was full of working on a rental house for/with our son. It has been empty for year and our “womp-womp” moments were finding out the extent of work that needs to be done. Thankfully, all of our efforts will add up to a security deposit and rent discount, so it’s all good! Your floors are looking great!

  4. Lisa B says

    Love the cartoons! I was laughing so hard picturing you with all that craziness! What a toughie you are getting all those boxes unloaded. My husband would have called at least two friends to help with all of that!

  5. Jen B. says

    Love it! Have you thought about using the spare room as your bedroom until you get the master painted? Totally wished we had done that when we moved. Was in such a hurry to get things “in their place” when we had the movers, but really, having furniture out of the way for an extra week or two would have been so much easier. I’m sure you’ll be spending most of your pre-move time getting Clara’s room ready to ease the transition! … although kids at that age can be convinced of the fun of “camping out” in another room.

    • says

      We have definitely thought about that, but since it typically takes us about a year to choose colors for rooms and get them all painted, we don’t want to rush things (that usually leads to repainting later, which we’ve done at our first house a ton and even twice at our second house). We like to wait until inspiration strikes and we’re 100% sure on color before diving in :)


  6. says

    It’s funny my husband goes through the same thing as you bc we never have a babysitter when he has to haul something heavy. In the end it’s all worth it, that’s a DIYers life. I can’t wait to see your new floors.

  7. lizzzzy says

    So, the real question that begs to be answered is…

    Did you get the truck back to Lowe’s in time?

  8. says

    Seriously, your drawings had me LOL’ing at work. I have to get off of here before you get me in trouble. Still laughing. Glad you got them home without any further mishaps!

  9. JB says

    I almost never comment. But the drawings made me laugh so much I had to let you know. Good luck in the new house!

  10. Rachel says

    You had me at AAAAAACK!!! Haha! Glad it turned out ok in the end… and thanks for posts like these, they keep the projects so human, I just love it!! (Our mulch delivery/spreading/etc went much the same way… did you know that super windy days are not the best for landscape work?? AAAAACK!!) :)

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