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Forum topic by JarodMorris posted 09-13-2012 08:51 PM 1456 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JarodMorris

165 posts in 1121 days


09-13-2012 08:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak flooring solid oak hard wood floors

I have a source from a shop where i can buy solid oak wood for about $0.50 per board foot. These are cut offs from the manufacturer’s products. They put them on pallets and sell them. My thought was for $0.50 a board foot, I could prep these and turn them into new flooring for my house. At this price, it would only cost me about $500 – $600 in materials. This does not include the cost of sanding, staining, finishing, etc.

My question is this: Is it possible to take solid oak wood like this and turn it into flooring? Should I finger joint the ends and glue? I’ve seen Rockler’s flooring router bits for about $100 that create T&G for solid wood pieces which makes me think that I’m not actually crazy for thinking this is possible. What about expansion? It is on concrete so I would need a moisture barrier and then padding as well which might turn out to be about the same cost as the wood itself.

Has anyone on here done this? Good idea? Bad Idea? Regrets? Things you wish you knew before starting out? etc. Any help or discussion is appreciated.

Jarod

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".


44 replies so far

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Doss

779 posts in 1010 days


#1 posted 09-13-2012 09:13 PM

Wow. It sounds like you need over 1000 bd ft of flooring (do you mean linear feet or board feet?). I would not like the pleasure of putting a tongue and groove on that (that’s over 2000 ft of T&G if you leave the boards how they are). I also would not enjoy sizing the boards to the same width (if that’s what you plan on doing). It would also not be fun to get them to the same thickness.

What are the dimensions of the wood (board feet is only slightly descriptive as it’s calculated off of 3 measurements L x W x H)?

It’s possible to turn it into flooring of course. It’s just whether it’s worth your time and effort to do so.

Remember, the $500-600 in materials does not include the time it’s going to take you to get it ready to install as flooring.

As far as expansion, it’d be just like any other solid wood floor. You probably need to learn more about installing flooring if you’re wondering what to do. It can go wrong very easily and if you’re sizing and milling the wood yourself, I can only see that compounding the things that can go wrong. On a concrete subfloor, I’d think an engineered product would be a better choice, but that’s just me and I’m not a flooring expert.

I’m not trying to knock your handyman/woodworking skills. I’m just saying it’s a lot of work for very little savings in the end.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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JarodMorris

165 posts in 1121 days


#2 posted 09-13-2012 09:27 PM

The wood is already the same thickness, though even slight differences would be enough to cause issues.

I’m not as worried about the amount of work and time it would take as I am getting in the middle of it and not being able to finish. I realize that an engineered product would not be too much more expensive, I could probably get okay flooring for $1 to $2 per foot. Though when comparing read hardwood to the cost of real hardwood, it’s a huge savings. So I guess it’s a matter of do I want to compare it to just getting new flooring or getting new real hardwood flooring.

Is real hardwood flooring glued together, nailed together, screwed together? Know of any articles/videos on the subject? I’ve done some youtube searching and found interesting things, but most seem to be commercials for whatever company put the video together. That’s not exactly what I’m looking for.

Jarod

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

314 posts in 996 days


#3 posted 09-13-2012 09:31 PM

There are a couple of articles about DIY flooring here. That’s about all I can contribute on the subject.

-- Rex

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Bill White

3581 posts in 2706 days


#4 posted 09-13-2012 09:44 PM

Does your time have no value? With the newer alum. oxide finishes on flooring, ain’t no way I’m spending the time required to fab my own flooring.
I’d rather have a nap. :)
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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crank49

3507 posts in 1716 days


#5 posted 09-13-2012 09:47 PM

How long are the pieces you are talking about?

You said offcuts. That brings to mind a bunch of short stuff, like less than 3 ft.
That would be a nightmare to deal with if that’s the case.

Also, you would need a shaper to mill a house worth of flooring. That would be too much work for all but the biggest badazz router to handle.

There is also the profile required on the back.
Then when it’s installed you still have to sand it and finish it.

I don’t think it is feasable to finish all four sides and prefinish with anything less than industrial type equipment.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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JarodMorris

165 posts in 1121 days


#6 posted 09-13-2012 09:47 PM

Bill,

My time does have value. That’s what I sell on a daily basis to make money; however, my money has value too and there just isn’t as much money to be able to spend $3,000+ on a quality engineered product. Plus, there’s the “I did/made it myself” that is valuable to me too.

jarod

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".

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JarodMorris

165 posts in 1121 days


#7 posted 09-13-2012 09:50 PM

Michael,

What profile are you talking about? I’ve seen people use real wood for flooring, such as pine and those pieces were straight from the lumber yard, though acclimated to the environment where they were going to be installed. I’m not sure I understand what you’re meaning when you talk about the profile required on the back.

Jarod

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

233 posts in 1316 days


#8 posted 09-13-2012 09:59 PM

to compare apples to apples, you can get unfinished 3/4” solid hardwood for around $3/sq ft (usually). If depending on whether your price is per linear ft or board ft, you may not be saving as much as you think.

When you’re talking about engineered flooring, that’s going to be finished, so you’d have to figure out costs to finish your floor (you’ll need to sand it, so sander rental, pads, etc.) plus the finishes. if you stain then seal it’s going to be more. This is before you even get into the cost of your time.

Last, if these are cutoffs, how long are they? A bunch of short segments of flooring is not going to look good across a larger span. I can’t really think of any way that this makes sense to me.

We bought some flooring from lumber liquidators a couple years ago, so I get emails & catalogs from them all the time. They always have some sort of special purchase item that you can get really reasonable – like solid prefinished hardwood for $3/sq ft, etc.

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waho6o9

5279 posts in 1322 days


#9 posted 09-13-2012 10:01 PM

There’s a couple of groves on the bottom of solid oak flooring plus
the perimeter detail.

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JarodMorris

165 posts in 1121 days


#10 posted 09-13-2012 10:12 PM

jerkylips,

It is $0.50 per board ft, NOT linear ft. I’m not sure if I’d like the short segments either. I’m just throwing an idea out there to see if I can come up with enough reasons NOT to do it before even worrying about other stuff with the project.

I’ve looked at the lumber liquidators. We have one near where I live and I was not that impressed. I’m sure their stuff is just fine but I’ve seen engineered flooring with padding on the pieces for prices better than at LL. The price of the stuff I’m thinking of was about $2.50 / bd ft. I helped my friend install that flooring and that store accepted returns for full value. LL charges a 20% restocking fee on whatever you want to try to return. I’m guessing that is normal for the industry, but I don’t like it. (Though I won’t hold my breath for it to change.)

The more I think about it, the less likely I am to do this. The sanding, finishing, staining, etc. I have 4 kids so I definitely don’t want to expose them to those fumes but it’s not like they can move out for a week or 2 while I finish the flooring up. A pre-finish is a good idea but impractical to actually do it. I may go ahead and get 100 bd ft of it and glue up pieces for doors or such in my shop. It’s beautiful wood and I want to use it on something but flooring just isn’t worth the time and hassle. Plus, even if I did get it down, the care that has to be done to real hardwood floors every few years makes it a hassle. And frankly, this house just isn’t worth all of that hassle. We have 5 houses for sale within a few blocks of our house (a foreclosure next door that’s been for sale 14+ months) and I am worried that when we go to sell the house in a year or 2 that the value will be down to where our equity is gone, new flooring or not.

Thank you to all that responded. It’s great to learn new stuff.

jarod

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1221 days


#11 posted 09-13-2012 10:18 PM

Yes, you can and you should. Currently I am in the process of laying down solid wood floor for a customer, they could not afford hard wood so I am doing pine. (yeah I agree that prefabricated crap does not even come close to real wood floors). I purchased the flooring bits from Toolstoday, they work great, the thickness of my floor is 5/8” so I bought the bits for up to 3/4” floor. If you have a router table and someone to help you pass you the cuts, it does not take that long, I made about 1000 sqf in a day and a half. I am betting that with oak you will need to re sharpen the blades after a 1000sqf or so, with pine I have made 2000 sqf and they are still good.

I would advise you to first make all the wood to the same thickness or you will have a heck of a time fitting the slats when you lay them down. If you make all the wood to the same thickness you will always have the T&G at the same position in the middle of the slat. I did nto bother to make T&G on the ends, just butt joints. No glue, I tie down the floor with screws and platic dowels every 4 or 5th row with staples in the in between rows. Buy a good concrete bit, I use a 1/4” bit with 2” screws, drill a hole through the wood into the concrete, place the screw on the plastic dowel and hammer it through the hole until you hear a difference in pitch, that means the dowel has reached the bottom of the hole, then screw to tighten. Obviously you will have to make plugs to finish the floor.

Expansion is not a big deal, but make sure you put a barrier between the concrete and the wood. I used that sort of white bubble plastic they use for laying down rugs, it gives the floor some cushion and it works great as a barrier. PM if you have any questions.

As for the naysayers, I will put my solid wood floors against your engineered floor any time, 9 times out of 10, customers will choose solid wood floors when put side by side.

PS, I forgot to explain expansion. This is not a big deal with the barrier, my experience has been that when you have an enclosed space the humidity of the floor with barrier is pretty constant. For safety I left a half inch separation from the walls, but I have yet to see a change in the floor.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1556 posts in 1260 days


#12 posted 09-13-2012 10:25 PM

I once got a pallet of solid oak “offcuts”. It was all 20-26 inches. Makes great jewelry boxes, lousy flooring. With that kind of length, I think I would pass. And, to be honest, a lot of it was number two, which means it may or may not be feasible to use. They cut off these ends for a reason.
My inclination would be to pass.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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Doss

779 posts in 1010 days


#13 posted 09-13-2012 10:26 PM

Expansion is not a big deal

Says who? I have seen floors buckle down here in less than a year where it essentially ejected one board’s width of flooring.

Like waho6o9 showed, I forgot about the detail under each board.

Again, do not discount what your time is worth. A lot of people say, I have all the time in the world so I’m in no rush. There are also a lot of people with projects that never get finished. I’m thinking they are the same people.

JGM0658, engineered flooring does have its uses where solid hardwood is not recommended. It’s not just for saving money. I also have to say I have seen many engineered wood floors that look way better than solid wood. After all, some engineered floors have solid hardwood on top for the first 1/16-1/4”... there is no reason why it would look any different besides the finish and even that can be the same.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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JarodMorris

165 posts in 1121 days


#14 posted 09-13-2012 10:30 PM

These ends are cut off because the truck beds are only so long and the rest is not needed. Of course if one end is better than the other, the worst end is chosen for the cutoff, but i’ve used this wood already to make a vanity in my bathroom and it’s great quality wood.

Jarod

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1221 days


#15 posted 09-13-2012 10:31 PM

you’ll need to put down a wood subfloor on top to give you something to fasten it to

No, you fasten directly into the concrete.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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