Josh Hansman, an installer at Cincinnati Floor and Window Coverings, had long wanted to install hardwood flooring in his home’s linoleum-covered kitchen, but he was committed to using wood salvaged from one of his jobs for the material.
“It took several years to find the right materials, but one day, the opportunity finally presented itself,” explains Hansman. “I was asked to tear out 2,000 square feet of 4” hickory from a residence. The homeowner wanted something in a different width and in a different style, as she was no longer partial to her existing floor. Because my kitchen is only around 400 square feet, I was pretty certain that I could salvage at least that much wood.”
The ¾” solid, prefinished, hand-scraped hickory floor was still in good condition,
but Hansman was not too concerned with the condition because he knew he would be sanding it after he installed it into his home.
“I had the wood I had been waiting for, and with it, I decided that I was going to do a basketweave floor,” he says. “To do so, I first cut the wood into two different sizes. One was a 3 x 3-inch square, and the other was a 4 x 10-inch rectangle.”
Hansman ended up hand-cutting more than 1,000 boards of each to complete the project. He then routered each individual piece of wood all the way around so that he could put slip-tongue in.
“It took longer to cut the wood than it did to install it. I had been to a lot of NWFA classes, so I was familiar with setting up table saw sleds, jigs, and templates to help the process go as smoothly as possible,” says Hansman. “My advice to anyone doing something like this is to set up a system where you’re doing the same thing over and over again. It then becomes a routine. That said, it is helpful to stop every 50-100 pieces and verify that your jig is not moving on you.”
After the pieces were cut, Hansman’s next step was addressing his home’s subfloor, which was less than ideal.
“As my house was built in the 1950s, there were a lot of dips and swells in my subfloor that had to be addressed before I started putting the floor down,” he explains. “I ended up getting a leveling laser to lay out a field onto the floor, then used ¼” plywood, stacked up so that the floor was filled in correctly. This was one of the most-challenging parts of the installation.”
With the subflooring addressed, Hansman proceeded to glue down the floor using Bona products. He then began the process of sanding the floor to prepare it for refinishing. Sanding was a challenge because it was a hand-scraped, aluminum oxide prefinished floor. To sand through that finish required using coarse grits, finished off with a Bona Power Drive to get it smooth.
Josh Hansman’s daughter stands on her father’s newly installed kitchen floor. Hansman had long wanted to install hardwood flooring in his home’s linoleum-covered kitchen and ended up hand-cutting more than 1,000 boards of salvaged hickory to complete the basketweave floor project.
“I was able to pull off what I think is a fantastic looking floor using great material and many of the skills I had learned by attending NWFA schools.”
— Josh Hansman
“After sanding, I was ready to finish the floor, and to do that, I first sprayed the entire floor with an iron acetate solution. Because hickory does not have a lot of tannins in it, it does not react like other floors. It did almost nothing,” explains Hansman. “Using a template and an airbrush, I loaded it with a heavy brew of tea, which does have a lot of tannins. Doing this, I was able to strategically place a shadow effect onto the floor.”
To finalize the floor, Hansman stained it using a coat of white and another of grey Bona NordicSeal, followed by a water-based polyurethane.
“The floor turned out even better than I expected, and I am glad that I stood my ground and waited for the right flooring to come along for this project,” he says. “I was able to pull off what I think is a fantastic looking floor using great material and many of the skills I had learned by attending NWFA schools. To be able to put all of that together on a floor that I walk on every morning is something special.”