Installing Hardwood Floors · 15 January 2022

My hat is off to anybody who does backbreaking work all day long.

I just installed hardwood floors in three rooms of our house. It took a week to do two rooms and a weekend to do the third. They are all about the same size, so it must have been the little bit of experience that made the last one go faster. At any rate, I know the cost of those floors in terms of blood, sweat, and tears. Okay. Maybe not tears.

I never would have thought about it, but being on your hands and knees for ten or eleven days all day long is not an easy thing to do. Especially when you are not used to being in that position for long stretches of time. Laying out the boards and then nailing them in is not for the faint of heart. Even with the right tools, there is lots of sweat that goes into the whole process. Carry the boxes of planks up the stairs to the correct room. Lay out the planks. Measure the end planks. Carry the planks to be cut down the stairs. Cut the planks, then carry them back up the stairs. Go back downstairs to cut a little more off the plank because it was too long the first time. Go back up the stairs. Lay the plank back down. Nail the planks. And then repeat for each row of planks. Oh. And do not forget that the seams of adjacent boards and even boards two apart should not align with each other. That causes enough sweat in and of itself.

The cost in blood is paid just because I do not know how to use sharp objects. Knives and box cutters inevitably cut me. Rather, I inevitably cut myself with those tools. It is not that I am not careful. It is just that I forget the rules of using knives, so I bleed. Plus there is the blood that comes from slivers and nicks from the wood itself. And if you count the blood that shows up under a bruise… Well, you get the picture. I pretty much bleed with any big project.

I did not really have many tears when it came to installing my hardwood floors. I suppose I could say that a tear came to my eye when I was finished because I was amazed at how beautiful they looked. But that would be a lie. No tears for this project.

Beyond the blood, sweat and tears of any project is the satisfaction of a finished job. Which was the best thing about installing hardwood floors. There is beauty in hardwood floors that is something to behold. Plus there is the knowledge that they will not need to be replaced again. Ever. At least not by me. Which is unlike carpet. Carpet needs to be replaced. Even if it is not showing wear after many years.

(Speaking of carpet. Do not think about what is under your carpet. You might get a little sick. Especially if you have lived in the same house with the same carpet for a long time. You might think you are getting rid of all the crumbs and dust and skin cells and other stuff when you vacuum, but you are not. Even if you vacuum every week. Or even every day. The vacuum just does not get those tiny particles that go down through the carpet and through the padding. I ought to know. I swept up and vacuumed all that fine powder when I removed my carpets. I suppose if you do not think about what it is or that it is even there, you will be okay.)

I am thankful that I have Dean, a friend who knows how to install hardwood floors and who allowed me to help him do a different room in our house. I got to be the apprentice on that job. And his tutelage helped me do a pretty good job on my own. My hat is off to him and to others who pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their work. I applaud them, but am glad I do not do their work all the time.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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  1. You did a nice job with your floors! They look lovely.

    And, yes, people who do manual labor deserve so much respect. It’s such a difficult way to make a living.

    Lydia · 17 January 2022, 10:41 ·

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