Category Archives: Flooring

Of long awaited tung oil and many white paints…

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I have heard really good things about finishing pine floors with tung oil, and last Tuesday I pranced to the hardware store in search. For those of you who think of a big, reeking pot of tongues (me) or a cow licking the floors (my mom) tung oil comes from the nut of the tung tree, I guess they grow in China. So I found a shiny yellow quart labeled ‘Tung Oil Finish’ by Minwax, which I bought and promptly returned home to get started. I hate waiting.

It surprised me that the label didn’t mention anything specific about the contents or tung oil and after a quick internet search on the product, I was crushed to find that there’s so much thinner and varnish mixed in that very little, if any, tung oil is actually in there. Further research backed the quality of pure tung oil, and the more I read, the more I realized what was coming; I was going to have to order this stuff online, and I was going to have to wait.

It shouldn’t be such a deterrent. I’ve waited for plenty of far off things during the build, but this one hit me right in the middle of my flooring mojo. The reasonable, get-it-right-the-first-time part of me beat the impatient part that figures it’ll probably work out, and I bought a gallon of %100 tung oil for only a little more than two quarts of the other stuff cost.

6 painful days later, it arrived at the door and I was finally able to begin. I ran at that box so fast, can’t imagine why the FedEx guy didn’t seem to share my excitement for a gallon of floor oil 😀 I lightly diluted it with mineral spirits, as indicated by the label, made me up a big ole’ bucket and went on my way. It went down beautifully with a rag and brought out the grain in the most lovely colour. I had nearly planned on staining the floor before oiling, but eventually changed my mind after really looking at it during my week in limbo.

I also painted the wood around the loft triangles. I’ve wanted to make them white for a while now to emphasize light up there, and I love what it did for the space. But holy my goodness there are a lot of variations of white! I went to the store with the intention of buying plain paint and was assaulted with at least 100 different shades. Our hardware store really isn’t even that big.

I am aware, however, that when faced with decisions like this I can take several years to reach a verdict, so I limited my exposure and went with the first thing that caught my eye. It’s a rich, creamy sort of white and 2 coats on primer did the trick, sanding between each. It happens to be called ‘Finer Things’, which makes Little Yellow feel fancy 😀

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Pine flooring down…

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Little Yellow has a floor! It’s haphazard with no particular order and 2 different kinds of nails from one half to the other (I ran out), but I don’t care. I love it and it’s the most beautiful floor I’ve ever made :D.

My neighbor got me started over the weekend, with galvanized nails and a bucket of sticky floor glue, and before I knew it I was plowing away on my own. Finding the right nails for the big scary gun proved much more difficult than I’d thought, and as I was already a bit concerned about the possibility of splitting the soft pine wood, I went the old fashioned route and hand nailed. It was quite a lot of fun, and I only smashed the shit out of my finger once. Still, after the first board I became instantly grateful for the small stature of my house. I don’t think my will power would have survived anything over 300 square feet.

Picking just the right board for each section took me the most time…I spend way too much thinking about these things. It did get done though, in two afternoons of concerted effort. The process involved spreading thin-ish beads of glue down the back side of each board with a notched putty knife called a dowel (if I recall correctly) before nailing onto my very vacuumed subfloor. I pre-drilled holes in the butted ends at slight angles so as to avoid splitting, which appears to have worked.

There’s something about looking down and seeing a floor, like in a proper house, that is really REALLY exciting. I leaped to sweep it as soon as the last board was down. I swept, and then I took my shoes off and walked across for the first time. I’m not going to lie, there was some skipping/spinning going on over here, and this floor took it brilliantly. Sanding, possibly staining and definitely oiling soon!

Of shelving and pine floors…

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These last few weeks have been a bit mad, and progress has taken a back seat for a while to life and visiting family. Still, I have been working on and off on my storage/shelf/closet and am getting closer to having the hitch end interior walls insulated and paneled.

The storage unit will consist of two contained side closets for clothes or the like and open shelves in the middle that are accessible from the kitchen. I originally had 2 x 2 lumber all ready to go with plans for covering the framing in wall paneling, but I couldn’t make my mind believe that it would turn out very well so I did me some shelf research and changed the whole plan.

Instead, I said screw it to the extra weight and got five, 1 x 12 x 8 pine boards because I just love the way it looks. Most of the time I don’t really know what the heck I’m doing, but know what I wanted to achieve and made the closest thing my abilities could muster. It’s a bit wonky, but it’s probably only me that will notice and think I’m pretty much over the ‘perfect’ thing. Just as well I’m planning on putting non breakable things on these shelves though, most of them have slight, nicely alternating asymmetrical tilts… I should get the middles ones better now I’ve gotten the learning curve.

My flooring arrived yesterday! I say arrived, and by that I meant that I somehow fit it all into my car and drove up the hill a bit slower than usual so as not to upset its precarious balance. It is 3/4″ x 5 1/8″ unfinished white pine tongue and groove boards at 6′ lengths from Lumber Liquidators, great stuff from what I can see so far. I ordered it over a month ago but pine flooring is apparently not in very high demand so it had to get milled and shipped from far off wherever. Don’t think they were too jolly about my needing such a small amount either.

I chose pine for several reasons, and it fit my list of flooring criteria brilliantly. Firstly, I didn’t want a shiny, prefinished floor that I’m afraid to walk on. They’re beautiful, but I’m not big on how the inevitable scratches look white and I don’t like the idea of the lacquer stuff they put on there to begin with. Secondly, I wanted something as light as I could possibly get my hands on. A friend lent me a 3′ piece of 1/2″ bamboo flooring that is really lovely, and weighs easily as much as one of the 6′ pine. Thirdly, I really wanted to get something that didn’t cost me my teeth, and at $1.19 a square foot, it beat out anything I’d previously considered.

My parent’s house has a pine floor and I LOVE it. It’s scratched up like nobody’s business and covered in dents and marks after 20 years of footsteps and dropping things, and I just think it’s beautiful. I suppose you could call it ‘rustic’. Installation will be more of a faff because I’ll have to finish it myself, but I believe it will be worth it in the long run.

In any case, I am going to visit friends on a whirlwind trip to the east coast for two weeks tomorrow. It’s not a very smart decision progress wise and it’s certainly not one of the better financial decision I’ve ever made, but I’m young and allowed to do irresponsibly adventurous things, right? I hope you all have a wonderful April 🙂 Away I go!

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