Monthly Archives: December 2014

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Once, when I was a skinny-legged elementary school student with a vendetta against carpets, I kidnapped the oriental rugs from our downstairs living room and dragged them up two flights of stairs to the attic. Adult-me is a little mystified by this intense dislike of carpets, and even more mystified that I cared enough to be spurred into action. Lugging heavy carpets up the stairs is not a good time. 

But then again, adult-me just spent days finishing the floor Kyle installed in our previously carpeted back room. Which also fails to qualify as a good time. So some things don’t change.

We decided to install new mixed-width pine flooring over the old pine flooring upstairs and over the plywood subfloor downstairs, because, given the delicacy of new pine, eventually it’ll look a whole lot like the beat up floors we wanted to salvage. Also, pine flooring is cheap, and we have another house (*cough*Old House*cough) that is actively trying to bankrupt us.



But the thing is, cheap isn’t cheap, if you assume your time is money. Unless you’re talking about spray painting old light fixtures, which is the winningest win of Renovation Land. Luckily for me, I assume my time is worth nothing. Or maybe, like, a penny an hour. So here’s how much pine floors cost:

Pine from the excellent local lumberyard: approximately $1 per square foot, so approximately $150 for the back room

5 hours spent researching whether pine floors should be tongue and groove, shiplap, or square edge:  $.05

5 hours researching the best way to install said pine floors—cut nails, screws, or glue?: $.05

12 hours screwing down floors in the back room: $0 (Kyle’s time–free!)

1 hour fruitlessly attempting to cut plugs from the pine boards: $0 (Kyle’s time—free!)

3 hours gluing in Amazon-purchased plugs into the holes: $.03

1 hour of deep, dark despair when every plug pops out during attempts to cut them: $.01


2 hours cutting the plugs once the nifty little plug cutter arrived: $.02

1 hour spent figuring out how to MacGyver the handheld sander to the shopvac (thank you, random person who uploaded a tutorial on using a laundry detergent cap for exactly that purpose): $.01


2 hours sanding and cleaning up all the sanding: $.02

2 hours researching distressing wood floors, which included watching videos of men beat floors with chains and reading lengthy explanation of how distressing is an art best attempted only by experts, before deciding to simply beat the floor with a sock full of nails: $.01

Replacement cost for socks destroyed by the distressing process: $10

15 (feels like closer to a million) hours researching the best way to finish pine flooring, ordering samples of finish, and feeling very conflicted: $.15

Fiddes Hardwax oil for finishing: $300 for enough to finish the whole project, so approximately $45 for the amount used in the back room

2 hours laying on the first coat of Fiddes tinted hardwax oil: $.02



1 hour putting on the clear topcoat of hardwax oil: $.01



New quarter round to trim the new floors, caulk, and a new caulk gun: $35

4 hours installing and caulking the new quarter round, most of it spent trying to figure out the nail gun/compression unit combo, or as Godiva and I think of it, the Scary Thing that Makes Big Noises: $.04


So putting floors down in the back room cost only $240.42.  And about 56 hours of our lives that we will never get back again.

But—but!—I love that new floor. And in that 56 hours there was also: two dystopian audiobooks, which made my life seem kind of awesome, and learning that, actually, I am perfectly capable of using scary tools all by myself, and watching the transformation of the wood as the finishing coats went on. Which is to say that, in the middle of all the drudgery and sawdust, there was pleasure and satisfaction, too.  

This is a good thing to remind yourself of. Especially when you still have an entire upstairs that needs floors.