Flipping houses has become a very lucrative business for many people. It does require quite a financial investment when you are first starting out, but there are things that you can do to minimize the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket so that you can make the most profit possible when you sell the home. One area of the home that is often quite costly when flipping the home is the flooring. In order to save money on the flooring in the house, I have found that using any flooring in the house that is still in good condition can be very helpful.
In some older homes, there are often areas of the floor that become damaged, warped, or simply fade over time. When this happens, you don’t have to pull up all of the flooring and replace it. Instead, you can have the damaged floor removed and replace it with new flooring by feather the new pieces in with the old pieces. It creates a seamless look upon completion and can save you a ton of money on the overall cost to flip the home. Use the following guide to learn how to make feathering in new flooring a quick and easy job.
Assess the Overall Condition of the Floor
The first thing you need to do is assess the condition of the entire floor. Remove everything from the room and sweep or vacuum the floor. This allows you to see if there is any obvious rot, gauges or splits in the flooring that make it weak or reduces the visual appeal of the flooring. If you notice that an area of the floor is damaged or unsightly, you can replace that area and leave the rest to be sanded and stained later on down the road.
Mark the Boards that Need to be Replaced
The next thing you need to do is get down on your hands and knees and mark every board that needs to be replaced. Since you will be removing the boards, don’t be afraid to use a permanent marker to mark the boards so that you can be sure that the mark won’t wear off when people walk all over it. Make sure the mark is very noticeable so that you don’t miss a board when you are replacing them. It’s easiest to remove an entire section of boards at once than one or two at a time. Many people remove entire sides or chunks of the flooring starting at the wall and moving their way in toward the center of the room.
Determine How Much Wood You Need to Purchase
Take measurements to determine how much square footage you need to cover with the new wood flooring. You want to be sure that you have enough wood on hand to replace all of the damaged piece and a little bit extra just in case you make a mistake along the way. It’s going to be cheaper to purchase a box of wood than buying each plank individually so knowing the square footage you need to cover allows you to know how many boxes of flooring you need to buy. It’s important to measure the width of the pieces of flooring that are already in the room to ensure that the new pieces you purchase are the same width. They won’t be able to blend seamlessly if they are different widths.
Allow the Wood to Acclimate
Before you start installing the wood, it needs to have time to acclimate to the new space. Purchase the wood and set it in the room where it will be installed. Allow it to sit for a few days so that it can expand and contract before it’s installed. The humidity and temperature in the room can affect how much the wood expands and contracts. If you were to install the wood right away, it could buckle or warp once it starts to acclimate and make your wood flooring look horrible.
Score the Pieces that Simply Need to be Trimmed
While you are waiting for the wood to acclimate, you can start to remove the wood flooring that is damaged within the room. You want to score wood pieces that are simply being trimmed and not completely removed. Use a straight edge and utility knife to score the wood wherever you plan to trim it. This provides you with a groove you can put the blade of your multi-tool into so that it doesn’t wobble around as you try to trim the wood. It also makes it easier for you to make a straight line when you cut the wood. You want the line to be as straight as possible so that it doesn’t stand out when the job is complete.
Cut the Boards that Are going to be Completely Removed
The boards that are so badly damaged that they need to be removed completely need to be cut with a circular saw so that they come loose easily. When wooden flooring is installed, the sides are hit with a mallet so that they fit as snugly together as they possibly can. It’s very difficult to remove them if you don’t break them apart because of the pressure that is created between them. Use the circular saw to cut the entire length of the board. You may want to cut it twice just to be sure that the pressure that the pressure that is created between the boards is diminished.
Break the Pieces Apart
Once the cuts have been made, place a chisel inside of the cuts and use a hammer to lightly drive the chisel under the board. The pieces should break free pretty easily so that you can simply pull them up with your hand and throw them aside. To make clean up easier, it’s best to have a heavy-duty trash can nearby that you can throw the old boards in as you go. This decreases the chances of someone stepping on a random flooring nail and saves you from having to pick up the pieces again and again.
Clean the Floor
Once the old flooring is removed, you need to clean the entire floor thoroughly with a vacuum. You want to be sure that all dust, fibers, and debris are removed so that the new boards can be laid as flat as possible when they are installed.
Create a Chalk Line to Follow
After the floor is clean, have someone help you create a chalk line to follow. A chalk line is a line that is made with chalk to create a straight line that you can use to ensure that the flooring is installed in as straight of a row as possible. The chalk will not damage the floor but does need to be lined up as accurately as possible in order to be useful. There is a string that is covered in chalk that needs to be pulled from one side of the room to the other. Place the string on the floor so that it is taut and then pull it up an inch or two away from the floor. When the string snaps back down to the ground, it will make the chalk line.
Check to Make Sure the Chalk Line Is Straight
Once you finish making the chalk line, you need to be sure that it’s straight. You cannot simply rely on your eyes because once the floor is laid, it will be very obvious if it isn’t even. To check the chalk line, use a tape measure to measure from the edge of the wall to the chalk line at either end of the room and at the center of the room. All of the measurements should be very near one another. If they are a millimeter or two off, it shouldn’t be too big of a problem. If they are even a centimeter off, you need to redo the chalk line.
Nail Down the New Wood
Once you have the chalk line placed, start laying the wood starting at the edge of the wall. Place the wood as close to the edge as you can. Use a floor nailer to nail the wood into place. You place the nailer up against the tongue of the wood. This is the part that sticks out of the side of each wood plank. The nail should be driven into the top of the jutted out portion of the wood so that it won’t be visible once the wood is installed. You should put in at least two nails per piece of wood so that you can rest assured that they will stay in place.
Once the first piece is in place, put the next piece of the ground with the tongue side of the wood facing the same way as the first piece. You should see a cut out of the back side of the wood. This is called the groove side. The tongue side of the first piece of wood should slide right into the groove of the second piece of wood. Use a rubber mallet to hit the two pieces together so that they are as snug as they can be. Use the floor nailer to secure the second piece of wood and continue the process until all of the wood is in place.
It’s important to realize that the edge of the floor where the old wood is located will be jagged. Slide a new piece of wood into any of the openings found between the old pieces to seamlessly whether the new wood together with the old wood. While the wood will be two different colors, it will all be uniform once you are done.
Pay Attention While Laying the Flooring
Laying wood flooring can become rather monotonous. It’s important to pay attention while you are laying the wood so that you can tell if it is starting to lay crooked. If this happens, you may have to put in spacers between the boards to help line them back up with the original boards. Spacers should be placed every few boards if they are needed to create the spacing that is needed to keep the boards aligned. The spacers are removed after the next few rows of boards are laid and not obvious at all after everything is finished.
Sand Down the Floor
Once the wood flooring is all installed, you need to sand down all of the floors. Sanding down the floor allows the pore of the wood to open up so that you can apply a stain to them. You have to sand down both the original and new flooring because the original flooring may have a varnish on it that keeps it from picking up the new stain. Sanding it ensures that you can have as even of a stain as possible when the flooring is done.
Clean the Floor Again
Before you can stain the flooring, all of the dust needs to be removed. Use a vacuum to remove everything that you sanded from the floor. If you don’t vacuum, you will have sand in the stain that you add to the floor which can give it a very unprofessional look.
Stain the Floor
When you stain the floor, it’s important to create ample ventilation in the room. Open the windows and wear a ventilating mask to ensure that you don’t breathe in the fumes from the stain the whole time. You want to choose a stain that is darker than the original color of the wood. Stain can be applied by hand with a rag or with a mop for quick and easy application. It’s important to not allow anyone to walk on the floor for at least twenty-four hours so that you can give the stain ample time to dry and the flooring ample time to settle.
When the stain is done drying, the floor should have a completely seamless look to it. Feathering in new wood with the original wood in the home can save a lot of money and make the home look more authentic, which can make it easier to sell in the long run.