The Foyer Floor Gets Weirder
So far this week we have spent every evening with sneakers on and earplugs in, ripping out more plywood. (Well, mostly Jason did, because we only have one chisel and he’s better with it than I am. I still had to wear earplugs though.) Early in the week we found a surprise we weren’t expecting.
Yep, the hardwoods don’t actually extend into the foyer like we had originally hoped. They stop right at the side edge of the stairs. The downside: we’re going to have to lay new hardwoods in the foyer. The upside: now we could rip right into the remaining plywood without having to worry about preserving what’s underneath. A little while after we discovered this, I heard an awful crunching noise and saw a big shadow move in the foyer. Jason had managed to get a full sheet of plywood up in one piece, nails and all still attached. Awesome.
He said that having two pry bars really helped him, and because he didn’t care about messing up what was underneath, he was able to shove the pry bars around as roughly as necessary and loosen the whole board in one piece. Since then, all the plywood has come up in relatively big pieces, and now we just have one small bit in the closet and in front of the bathroom to get up.
But we’ve run into another problem. There’s a thin layer (maybe 1/8″ — really thin) of fiberboard underneath the plywood, which is flush with the height of the edge of the original hardwoods. Under the fiberboard it looked like there was more plywood, so we assumed that whoever installed the tile had built up the height from the subfloor so that the tile would be at the correct height. However, we lifted up some of the fiberboard and found, not plywood, but subfloor. So basically, the subfloor in the foyer is only 1/8″ lower than the hardwoods that start at the stairs — essentially flush with each other. The subfloor under the hardwoods must have been built lower, so if we wanted to have a flush, seamless floor from living room to foyer (and eventually, from foyer to family room), we’d have to lower the subfloor in the foyer. Which, umm, no. Way beyond our abilities or our scope for this project, so it’s not happening.
Originally we thought we were screwed — how were we going to work with all these different floor heights? It was going to look ridiculous. But apparently the people who make wood floors have thought of everything, including the potential for uneven flooring, because they make things called “reducer strips” for just such an occasion.
via – Sorry for the watermark, this was the best image I could find!
The photo shows them in a contrasting color to demonstrate what they are, but they come in colors to match your flooring, so they don’t stick out like a sore thumb like that.
This isn’t my favorite solution, to be honest, but I’m just glad that there’s a solution to this problem at all. Before discovering these things I was having visions of haphazard flooring and that telltale jerry-rigged “DIY” look, and was feeling like we had gotten ourselves in way over our heads and probably should just go back to renting forever so we wouldn’t have to worry about this kind of crap. (I’m dramatic like that.) But once I found out about reducers, I calmed down and realized that we probably weren’t the first people ever to deal with this, and compared to what could have gone wrong with this project, this was a relatively minor “problem”. Plus, there was some damage done to the original hardwoods at the foot of the stairs from removing the plywood, so we’ll probably end up putting a small rug there anyway. If the rug is thick enough, the transition to the higher floor in the foyer will be barely noticeable.
Our local Lumber Liquidators is only open until 7 PM, so with our work schedules we won’t be able to get there until Saturday. We stopped by quickly the other night and picked up two samples, so on Saturday morning we’ll check them out in daylight against our existing floors (the other thing about our work schedules is that, during this time of year, we literally are not home for any period of daylight — how sad is that?) and once we pick the best match, we’ll head back to the store and order them. This project is so close to being done I can almost taste it. I. Cannot. Wait.