Installing Flooring – Jatoba Hardwood

Anytime you decide to do something on your own plan to spend some time getting acquainted with the project. Rent a movie you’d think it would like. Cook it a favorite dish. Maybe take it on a Sunday drive.

With Jatoba flooring this might be difficult. But the least you can do is let it sit around your house for about a week. Let it get used to the place where it will be spending the remainder of its life. It’s not only courteous, it’s also necessary to let Brazilian cherry jatoba wood acclimate to the indoor environment.

Not Hard But Not a Snap

This is one of those projects that you can’t work around all the items sitting on the floor. You could, but you’re just being stubborn. That’s why you want to take all the furniture, the floor trim and the baseboards out to another area of the house.

You may find that there are nail heads that are projecting out of the surface of the floor. You’re going to want to countersink them. Once done, take the rosin paper and back up to one end to the wall. You’ll want to go in the direction at a 90-degree angle to the floor joists. Staple it as you go along. Let the paper overlap 3-or-4 inches. And make sure you pencil-in where the floor joists are as you go along.

Here’s where you need to be totally exact: To ensure that the first row of jatoba is straight, you’re going to need to use a chalk line. Measure twice to be completely sure that it’s as perfect as you can get it. Begin by laying the first row, keeping the edge ½-inch from the wall. Note: the wood should be bottom-side up. Keep going row-after-row. Be forewarned, this is merely a practice run.

Making it Stick

Go back to the first plank and begin slathering on the glue. Do this to that one anchor board. Give it a chance to dry. Turning every board over, schlep them into place. Remember, lay them in such a way that you stagger the edges.

Take out your drill and grind holes where the baseboards and trim will conceal the head of the nail. Use 1½-inch finishing nails. At the tongue of the main floorboard, drill holes at a 45-degree angle, hammer ‘em in place and countersink the heads.

Puzzle all the planks together. When you get to the last row, you’ll want to likewise keep the edge ½-inch from the wall. Unless you’re really lucky, you’ll end up measuring and cutting the wood before you put the final piece in place. If you don’t have to do this, stop the project immediately, rush out to the gas station and buy a lottery ticket before you continue.

Let’s assume that the jatoba is prefinished. That being the case, you’re done.

Unfinished? Scrutinize the floor, taking inventory of any nail heads that need to be countersunk. Get a broom and sweep-up anything that’s cluttering the surface.

You’re going to need to rent a drum sander with 120-grit sandpaper. Be careful not to stop once the machine gets rolling or you’ll end up with your own private Crater Lake. Wear a respirator and goggles. If there are any places the device misses, use some elbow grease and DIY. Suck the dust into the vacuum. Change the grit to 180. Repeat. Finally, crank the sandpaper to 220-grit.

Once again, get rid of all the sawdust, first with a vac, then with a tact cloth. It will need to sparkle before you apply whatever finish you’ve chosen.

Once completely dried, move all the stuff back into the room. Check the lottery ticket. You may already be a winner.

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