Out with the oak and in with the new

It’s time to do more house renovation explosions. Yeah! I actually only say yeah because I know that it doesn’t involve mouse turds galore raining down on our heads (which in turn makes me want to take a bath in bleach). Last week we did two major trips to home improvement stores to get a boatload of supplies for some upcoming projects.

One of the quick projects that we wanted to get done before it got cold was ripping out the wood flooring under the wood stove and installing new subfloor/underlayment. Doing that little job would then allow us to move out the kitchen wall and maybe (be still my beating heart!) add some new drywall to this section of the house.

This is actually the second time that we have had to move the wood stove since we installed it for various home improvement tasks (and it won’t be the last). Thank goodness for my dad’s motorcycle jack is all I can say.

After ripping out trim and cutting off the bottom inch of the wall paneling, Lee then starts the fun job of removing the old wood floor. The oak is in really bad shape so we aren’t trying to save it for reuse. Instead it will go in our firewood pile.

What can I say, our house requires big rubber boots to work in. Okay, not really, but I am very excited for the day that I can walk barefoot in our house. Here I am picking up nails with a really small magnet that is attached to a string. Now why would I do something like that? 1.) My back was sore from bending over. 2.) Our shop vac gets nail hair balls stuck in it’s hose when you try to vacuum them up.

After the mess was all cleaned up it became apparent that at one time there was a water heater explosion from all the stains on the car decking.

Last summer when we had all the work done on our house, part of what was done was some jacking to get the place level. Well, the guys doing it did wonders, but there is only so much you can do with an old house. At least it doesn’t feel like you are skiing downhill anymore in some parts of the house. Since the floor by the stove still wasn’t level, Lee added cut and fit shingles to further level the floor. (Up to 4 layers thick in places.) With that done, we whipped out the the construction adhesive and screws, and the new plywood tongue and groove subfloor was laid down. This will act both as a stronger subfloor and as the smooth underlayment surface for a future wood floor.

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7 Responses to Out with the oak and in with the new

  1. Leigh says:

    Oh gosh. That brings back memories of when we were doing our dining room floor last winter. Kind of nice to sit back and look at somebody else’s photos, LOL.

  2. Ron says:

    It’s looking great, guys. It won’t be long before you’ll have all kinds of nice living space. Ahh, yeah, winter days by the fire, reading or working on puzzles…


  3. Lynn says:

    Yeah, a project is complete!!!!!!!! It looks great. It’s funny how when you tear up a floor you find a past hot water heater accident/emergency. And now you are going to enlarge your kitchen?

  4. totallyTacoma says:


    Just found your site..I am doing sort of the same thing (but off-grid) on a much smaller scale, no blog yet but its really great to see example of things I am doing..found you when I was looking for a chicken waterer for the newish chickens..amazing work so far and I applaud you for your efforts..I am also very envious of the skills that you guys have..I have never done anything construction related but have learned so much over the past 2 years. Still lots to learn but its great to have a reference like you guys! Keep up the good work and I am sure to be back to watch your progress!


  5. Benita says:

    And I thought putting a hard wood floor down was hard! Great idea about the magnet and string. I’ll bet it does save on the back. I’ll have to remember that trick.

  6. lee says:

    Leigh – Your wood floor looked great when you got it done. We look forward to that moment!

    Ron – I’m going to enjoy the fire a lot more when I don’t have to keep it running 20 hours a day to stay warm. That’s the goal. However, having not used the stove in a few months, I’m definitely getting in the mood for it again.

    Lynn – Yeah, our house continues to be full of surprises! I thought of another explanation for the stains. Some of the paneling has shown signs of a fire when we took them down and the area where the woodstove was placed (and an old stove once lived) was blackened. If there ever was a small fire, then the stains could be from water and soot as it was put out. It would have to have been a very small fire. We didn’t find smoke damage on any of the original lathe and plaster walls.

    The kitchen wall is only moving out by two feet. Our living/kitchen area is poorly set up for a dinner table, so we are enlarging the kitchen slightly (so that the spacing on the diagonally placed woodstove is even) and then adding a built-in dining booth to the kitchen. We like booths and the informal-ness of it.

    totallyTacoma – Thanks, but we really don’t have any skills! Everything we’ve done we’ve learned from books. We never take the phrase “professional installation required” seriously, I read a lot to prepare for the possibilities, and at some point Robin pushes me and we actually get some work done! ­čÖé Great to hear you are working on something similar. Smaller scale would definitely be nice. The house is a little big for just the two of us (1800 sq.ft.), and more space is more remodeling. Some day I’d like to have an even smaller place, simpler construction, perhaps off grid. Keep us posted if you get a blog. Off grid technology is very interesting to me. I have plans for our power system so we will be able to “optionally off-grid” ourselves at some point.

    Benita – Robin was making fun of me because it was such a small magnet, but it’s very strong. She was doing her crippled-person-impression after helping me pick up all the wood debris, so when it got to the vacuuming and nail collecting another solution was required.

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