Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Part of our process of planning a green house is to find good, used materials that would otherwise be headed for a dumpster.

The first room we tackled - newest oak floor, put in with nail gun nails.
First we had to remove the carpeting, of course.
Since we hadn't thought to bring kneeling pads,
pieces of the carpet worked well for that.

My friend Ginny and her daughter came with me to a teardown auction on a Saturday in mid-May to see some oak floors that were being auctioned. (It was Ginny's idea.) I won three rooms' worth at 50 cents a square foot. Which was the beginning of a much bigger undertaking than I had imagined.

My friend Ginny removing baseboards to get at the edge of the flooring.

We worked all that day pulling out oak flooring and by the end of the day had gotten only one room and about 20 percent of another completed. And by completed, I mean the boards pulled up, carried out of the house several boards at a time, loaded into our cars, and taken home to my garage in multiple trips. But not the nails removed or the debris in the tongue and grooves cleaned up.

One of the rooms with older oak flooring (probably 1920's), mostly completed.

But my friend, who has energy and determination like you wouldn't believe, was back on site early the next morning working on her own. I showed up mid-day and we continued work for the rest of the day, but still had not finished the third room. She and her daughter went back the next weekend and finished pulling up the flooring and removing it, and now my garage and her garage are full of oak flooring.

Some of the older flooring.

She has been very diligent about putting in some hours every week pulling nails out of what's in her garage. And she gets even more kudos, because she has a one car garage, and so her car has had to live outside for the last few months.

Some of the newer oak flooring.

I, on the other hand, kept putting off starting work on what's in my garage. We have a two car garage with just one car, so it hasn't been much of a sacrifice to have that space taken up by a big pile of boards with nails.

G came out and helped for a while, cleaning the tongue and grooves.

I finally started work a couple of weeks ago. Now that I've gotten into it, it's not so bad.

A board ready for treatment.

Step one: Pound nails back out the way they went in. Try not to bend them or it makes it more difficult.

Nail pounded partway out - ready to pull out with claw hammer.

Step two: Pull nails to remove.

Nice collection, don't you think? I'm keeping them in a cut down plastic milk carton.
My neighbor asked me what I was doing.
"Removing nails from old oak flooring, " said I.
Said he, "Oh, you don't need to go to all that trouble.
I've got a whole box of new nails if you want."

Everybody's a comedian.

Step three: Wire brush and/or scrape both edges of the flooring to remove old dirt.

Wire brush/scraper, which G found for me in his collection of tools.

One of the newer pieces of flooring with a nail-gun nail.
This adds an extra step,
as the L-shaped head on this flat nail
has to be turned with a pair of pliers
so that the claw hammer can grip it to pull out.

Step four: Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.


  1. what amazing friends you have! i am in awe.
    your floor is going to be amazing.

  2. OK,it makes me tired just thinking about all the work. Good for you and especially friend Ginny!

  3. So much work! I admire your determination. Can't wait to see the end result...


    I would rank her very high on the list of amazingly generous people! She sounds great.


Thank you!