Salvaging and restoring hardwood flooring saves the wood from ending up in a landfill by giving it another life in your home. Buying recycled wood flooring is one way to prevent the use of new materials in your new or existing home (See References 1). Recycled wood flooring is generally salvaged from homes or businesses, repurposed into new wood flooring planks and sold in batches. You can install the planks in any room of the house, providing you have the right tools.
Calculate the square footage of the room to determine the amount of recycled wood planks you will need.
Remove the baseboards between the wall and the floor with a pry bar. Remove any outlet covers with a screwdriver. Place the baseboards and outlet covers in another room.
Feel the subfloor with your hands, checking for humps. Mark any uneven places with a piece of chalk. Gently sand down any uneven areas with a belt sander until you have a completely even subfloor. Use a broom to sweep away any shavings, dust or debris.
Install the builder's felt over the subfloor. Lay strips of builder's felt over the subfloor starting in the far corner of the room. Staple down the end of each strip with a hammer tacker. Repeat until you cover the entire subfloor.
Place 1/2 inch spacers along the edge of the longest wall. Place 1/2 inch spacers along the edge of the wall adjacent to the longest wall.
Insert the grooved edge of a piece of flooring into the open edge of the spacer. Use a mallet to gently hammer the flooring plank into the spacer. Insert a nail through each end of the plank with a nail gun to secure the plank into place. Repeat for the entire length of wall.
Start a new row by placing the grooved edge of a wood plank against the tongue edge of a plank in the first row, starting at either end of the wall. Repeat for the remaining length of the row. Gently use the mallet to fit the second row snugly in place against the first row. Fasten each plank into place using the nail gun. Repeat for the remaining rows until the flooring covers the entire room.
Place the mitered trim pieces that were included with the wood floor planks over any exposed edges on your floor. Nail each end of the mitered trim pieces down using a nail gun.
Gently pry the spacers away from the walls. Nail the baseboards back into place using the nail gun, and reattach the outlet covers using the screwdriver.
Items you will need
- Measuring tape
- Belt sander
- Builder's felt
- Hammer tacker
- Nail gun
- Seattle Public Utilities: Building Material Salvage and Recycling
- San Jose University Department of Engineering: Working Inside
- Northwest Used Building Materials Network: Salvaged Wood Flooring
- Ronald Doughtery, Professional Carpenter, 504-327-9578
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images