Josh Hansman, owner of 50 Grit Flooring in Goshen, Ohio, recently embarked on a unique flooring project that was a return visit to a house he had helped transform three years prior by installing a solid white oak herringbone in the family room.
“The homeowner loved the flooring downstairs so much he decided he wanted hardwood in his carpeted upstairs hallway,” says Hansman. “The area spanned more than 350 square feet, featuring two overlooks – one overseeing the foyer and the other looking directly down on the herringbone in the family room.”
Hansman was thrilled about the opportunity to add more hardwood to the home, but the hallway presented some challenges he’d need to overcome. First, approximately 50 feet of existing railing with an attached baseplate nosing would need to be integrated seamlessly with the new flooring.
“In addition to integrating the new floor with the existing baseplate, the railing had three curves in various sections, which required the boards to be scribed meticulously along the curves to fit snugly and flush against the base,” says Hansman. “This meant we’d need to scribe-cut each flooring piece individually.”
The installation was further complicated by varying widths of parallel walls at each end of the hallway. This would require careful manipulation to achieve the illusion of a perfectly centered floor.
“There was a wall on the left side on one end, and a wall on the right side on the other end, and even though they were parallel, they were different widths, so we had to manipulate the layout to make it look like the floor was centered,” says Hansman. “The lines have to be straight because their main bedroom sits at the end of the long hallway. When they wake up, the floor would be the first thing they see every morning.”
To bring the homeowner’s herringbone vision to life, Josh and his team first milled the 4’ x 16’ solid white oak hardwood flooring at his shop.
“The real challenge began once the wood arrived on-site. We needed to cut each piece individually on the job to match not only the curved wall, but also the curved baseplate nosing that sat underneath the balusters,” says Hansman. “Normally, such intricate work would be done outdoors, but given the second-floor location and the substantial back-and-forth required, a solution was in order.”
Josh and his team opted to purchase a portable bandsaw specifically for this project. The bandsaw then was stationed in the upstairs hallway, and connected to a vacuum for efficient dust control. This setup allowed them to cut the boards on-site, saving time and effort.
“Using the bandsaw, and later our sanding equipment, dust control also emerged as a major concern due to the openness of the overlook. Traditional methods of hanging plastic sheeting for dust containment proved impractical,” says Hansman. “To address this challenge, we employed a dust containment system with the bandsaw and with our Bona Power Drive, ensuring a clean work environment.”
The Power Drive also was ideal for practicality’s sake, given the pattern and the size of the work environment. “With the herringbone floor going in so many different directions, a planetary was the way to go, plus being a small space on the second floor, it was not worth carrying up the big machine,” explains Hansman.
“A notable feature of this project was the abundance of balusters, each requiring hand scraping in between,” says Hansman. “The baseplate nosings presented yet another refinishing challenge, necessitating the use of ladders and walkboards to achieve a consistent finish on the underside of the nosing.”
After the demanding sanding and preparation phase, an antique brown finish was applied to match the downstairs flooring. The result was nothing short of breathtaking, a testament to Josh Hansman and his team’s dedication to their craft.