Installing our own wood gives us a direct market to the homeowner and full retail prices. Earning $10/square foot for our salvaged timber gives us a good income for every step of the process. We have eliminated every middleman and broker and kept all the money at home! And hearing the homeowners cry out with glee - "Its AWESOME, Totally AWESOME" …. "I LOVE IT!" is pretty cool too! Installing our own wood makes us much better woodshop workers, sawmillers, timber harvesters, and forest managers. Keeping everything to the simplest method possible is important when you do a variety of jobs.
When I built my own aspen log home, I was amazed how simple it was to install the flooring. Just basic woodworking skills are needed, and a few tools.
Getting started is the challenging part. Determining the best straight line to start on makes the rest of the job simpler. A string, a square, and a tape measure help me pick the starting line. Often we'll start in the middle of a big room and go both ways, though small rooms usually are laid from one wall to the other.
We assume the wood will not move over time and install flush against other floors or cabinets. Along the walls , we will leave ¼" space, but that is more for efficiency rather than the old thought to leave room for movement. Baseboard covers this space. We use a plastic felling wedge from our logging toolbox to push the boards together where the ends meet a wall, and as the final edge is installed against a wall.
Some people ask for tar paper or moisture barrier under the wood. This is kind of silly, as we will quickly poke a thousand holes in it. Normally, I go with my wood directly on the subfloor and nail it down with a powernailer using 2" serated cleats. 1,000 nails will hold down about 200 square feet. In a big room, two of us can lay down 300 to 500 square feet in a day. Small rooms, hallways, transitions, and closets go much slower. Every room is different, but wood is easy to work with.
Once the wood is nailed down, we sand it smooth with a flooring sander. Swedish manufactured water base polyurethane varnish completes the job. Each step gets easier and more profitable.
Every person is a potential customer for my wood products. We simply keep telling our story and business just flows in. Every installed floor becomes another showroom and the happy homeowner joins my volunteer sales staff.
Traditional builders and architects and flooring stores are not my market - I go direct to the homeowner. I have the advantage when dealing with the customer, but the professionals are already set in their ways and less receptive to something new. Market price in Madison WI is about $10/square foot. Rough sawn is actually higher. The more unique, the higher the price!
For anyone who wants to follow this business model, the market is totally unlimited. Don't try to compete with big industry, offer a better local alternative. Keep is simple, follow the complete system, and have fun!