Working on the Old House #20 The Floors

We’re getting this old house back into shape. I just can’t seem to cut corners and just get it done. I suppose I’ve had enough experiences with old houses that needed some love and no one gave it to them, so this one is getting a little floor love today.

We start by finishing any door casing trim that needs details or resurfacing – like this kitchen doorway to the dining room.

I back-banded to the casing to match the other doorway to the kitchen.

I have overlaid the original floor with 1/2″ plywood for stiffness and to level it out for the new covering. So a belt sander was used to even out the seams in the dining room. The other rooms will get new carpeting.

The kitchen floors were also sanded to keep everything flat for the new flooring.

I decided to use the same surface as was used in the bathroom. This Lifeproof Vinyl Plank Flooring is waterproof. Again a little more expensive than other brands, but worked well in the bathroom.

We’ll make a seamless transition from the dining room to the kitchen. A 3/8″ foam board is taped to the baseboard to act as a spacer that is required for flooring expansion. I’ll cut out the opening for the floor register.

To make this look professional, we’ll undercut the door casing and slide the flooring underneath. First we mark the plank.

Then we make our cuts and undercut the door casing.

We slide it in place. The kitchen will get new baseboards – because we left the base in place in the dining room, we’ll fabricate a shoe mold to cover the expansion gaps.

We continue the planks on into the kitchen.

Getting the planks under the other side of the doorway takes a little patience, but it goes in with no issues.

In a couple hours we have the dining room finished.

We bring the flooring over to the stove area. We’ll have to do something a little different under the stove.

The planks under the stove are glued in place with a little PL glue. This will prevent the possibility of the planks moving when the stove is moved, but can still be removed if the owners decide to change the flooring. Expansion is not affected, as the opposite side has the expansion gap.

Once set, the rest of the kitchen floor is laid.

All the plank flooring is in and now we’ll finish the dining room with some shoe mold to hide the expansion gap.

I took some old trim and ripped it down and then ran a profile on the top edge with a router. A little gel stain and a couple clear coats of finish and it’s ready to install.

A quick trip around the room and the trim is installed.

Time to start working on the stairs going into the kitchen. We’ll start on the stair treads. I use a stair tread tool that makes marking the cuts very easy. The back edge of the tool is set against the riser and the two grey blades are positioned against the skirt boards on either side. The clamps are tightened to secure.

You place the template onto the stair tread and mark the cut edges. these are solid red oak treads.

The first tread is test fit in place.

And the second one as well. The bottom tread is a little different. The tread tool won’t sit flush with the skirt board. So a little piece of flooring is used to make a template of the irregular end cut.

You place the template on the tread with the back points flush with the tread and place the flooring template against the edge of the floor tool.

You then simply mark along the template to get the proper measurements.

Test fit is finished. The bottom tread had to be angled on the left hand side to allow the back door to swing open. This is how the original treads were as well. We’ll remove these to finish and put the original treads back on until we’ll finally done.

So on we march – and speaking of March – that’s probably the time I’ll finally have the place finished. We’ll see…

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