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Friday, 6 June 2014

Removing Hardwood Floors - The easy (ier) way!

One of the tasks I was not looking forward to in the demo of our existing house was the task of pulling up the approx 650 sq.ft. of hardwood floor.  I had done some of this in the past and it was a bear.  It is murder on your back and takes for ever.

I put about 2-1/2 hours into it yesterday and did about a foot by 40 ft.  Each row was taking 5-7 minutes and based on this rate the whole living and dinning room (only part of the job) was going to take me 19+ hours.  I started again this morning and after a few rows I was second guessing my decision to save the floors. 

My back is already not the best and I knew that I was not going to last doing this the traditional way.  Almost any example you see of pulling a hardwood floor that has been nailed down uses the following tools.

Typical tools used to take up a hardwood floor.

But I had vowed on this project that I would work smarter and not harder.  I decided to 'waste' half an hour going to the lumber store to see if there was any better options.  Boy am I glad I did.  I ended up buying a 6 lb sledge on a 36" handle and a pick/axe.  Now you may be wondering how these two could work together.  They can't untill you modify them.

The beginnings of a beautiful thing.
 But by cutting off the pick, you are left with a lovely flat spot to whack the 'axe' in under the tongue on the flooring.

Finished tools work very well together
This cut the time per row down to under 2 minutes or a savings of apprx. 70%

 
This example took just under 4 minutes.  I was able to hone the method down to around 2 minutes per row.
A panel lifter is also useful but in the end, I just used my modified tool to do everything.

 The following is a time lapse of the entire floor removal.  As you can see, the timing spead up considerably with the new tools in hand.


I found that working on the individual pieces from the middle of the piece was the most effective to lifting it out. Often the grove side joint broke, but these will be easily added back with a router. And considering the increase in speed this method afforded, the extra work to put new ends on some of the boards was well worth it.  I will now look to find a labourer to grind off all of the protruding staples (I believe this will be much faster than trying to pull out with pliers).

Thanks For Stopping by.

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