Well, we’ve been busy bees over the last 7 months making major improvements in both health and home! I’ll skip the boring health stuff (feel free to ask questions if you’d like) and get right to the fun stuff — the house stuff! If you follow us on Instagram, you may have noticed that we were comparing two wood flooring choices about 10 weeks ago. It’s the last thing I expected us to be doing, however, it was my idea.
One morning, while avoiding getting out of bed and taking the bathroom break that my bladder was begging for, I stumbled upon a pin on removing and replacing tile flooring. While I’ve loved having tile flooring throughout our first level, I’ve hated the actual tile and the constant fight to keep it looking clean. Our tile featured orange undertones and a matte finish that made it a magnet for dirt and grime. Despite trying a multitude of different mops, experiments, and having the floor professionally cleaned, Michael and I both hated it. We talked about replacing it eventually, so I figured knowing how other DIYers handled removing and replacing tile flooring was worth the few extra minutes wrapped in my warm sheets. I should tell you that if Michael knew what these “few extra minutes” might lead to, he probably would have come in and flipped the mattress to prevent what happened next. What happened next was stumbling upon a related pin about a luxury vinyl flooring product that can be installed over existing floors. What?!
NuCore luxury vinyl is a snap together installation that can be installed over a variety of surfaces, including existing tile, without any underlayment. It’s 100% waterproof, has the look of real wood, comes in a diversity of colors, and can be installed immediately with no acclimation time needed!
I know, right? I searched NuCore (after a quick run to the bathroom) to make sure this was legit. It certainly sounded too good to be true. However, it was true. All of it. I told Michael about it and we were at Floor & Decor within days looking at it for ourselves. Hence this Instagram photo:
We’ve always been smitten with dark wood floors, but I must admit that the grey undertones and distressing of the saddle oak planks were certainly tempting. We bought one plank of the saddle oak color and one plank of the cocoa oak color. (Yes! You can do that!) Once we got them home, it was clear that the cocoa oak was the winner. The saddle oak, while beautiful, was just a little too rustic for us.
After making that decision, Michael headed back to Floor & Decor to return the saddle oak plank and purchase 60 boxes of the cocoa oak. (We estimated that our bottom floor was around 1300 sq. feet, thus leading us to need 60 boxes. However, we ended up returning about 10 boxes.)
The week after Christmas is when we started installing the floor. Honestly, I decided to try out laying the floor in the dining room one weekend before we had actually planned to install it. We ended up having to pull all of that floor up because you truly need to start with a level line on one end of your house, not in the middle of said house like I was attempting to do. When we did actually start, we started in the half bathroom and I held my breath as we removed the baseboard that we had to custom fit to the lovely pipe that sticks out past the drywall. Speaking of baseboards, we quickly found out the baseboards everywhere else on the first floor were sunken below the tile. The previous owners had the tile installed and apparently, the installers removed whatever was on the floor without removing the baseboards. This means that we couldn’t just pry the baseboards from the walls. No, we had to pry and physically break the baseboards using a mallet and a crowbar with a sharp end. I’d hammer a butter knife behind the top portion of the baseboard to pry it from the wall, then hammer the sharp end of the crowbar into the baseboard and then use it as leverage to lift the baseboard up over the tile.
I actually got a pretty gnarly bruise on my hand from the excessive amount hammering I had to do.
Along with removing the baseboards we also had to remove the pedestal on the sink and the toilet from the bathroom, our shoe cabinet, the washer & dryer, the stove, the fridge, and the dishwasher. (We moved the fridge to the dining room and only slid the stove and the dishwasher out when we got to that section of the kitchen.) We also had to take apart the couch and move everything out of the living room.
All in all, it took us almost two weeks to get the majority of everything done. Rather than go into explaining what would be very difficult to explain, I’ll just give you this link. This video is the best one we found at explaining the proper way to install and lock the seams. It’s not the same flooring brand that we used, but I’m certain that the only difference is in name. The tools he uses are all necessary! The tapping block, the bar, the rubber mallet were all used by us multiple times on every single plank.
In the next post, we’ll share all the after photos in conjunction with a few befores, talk about how the floor is holding up, and what tasks we still need to finish to get this project checked off our list! Here’s a sneak peek of the afters: