Once all of our loft flooring was created, test fit, and treated, we were ready to install (finally!). As with every step, there were a few extra steps because our flooring is finished on both sides. I think most of those tips are pretty well covered in other Tiny House resources, so I won’t go into too much of that here. We began by gluing and finish nailing our nosing down on both lofts.
We then laid the main loft, thinking that any leftover materials would be more useful in the small loft if needed. We placed the groove side of the first board against the wall and working across from there. At this point, I was grateful that we did choose to add the chamfer, as it allowed us to easily angle the next piece right into place. We used a short piece that had the groove run in it so that we could “persuade” the next piece into place:
We chose to rent a flooring nailer to expedite the process and assure all the nails landed in the proper place. It comes with a pretty cool large rubber mallet, which kind of made me feel like a cartoon character. 🙂
Because it’s designed to be hit from above, it was a little awkward getting started from the ladders, but got easier as we got going. I’d never used one before- it was pretty easy to locate properly and most of the nails landed properly. Occasionally we would need to remove a nail with the needlenose pliers – wasn’t always the easiest thing, as the nailer fires special flooring nails (called a “cleat nail“) that are purposefully difficult to pull out. Fortunately it only happened a couple of times. If a nail didn’t seat completely below the surface of the wood, we would finish them with a nail set to make sure it was flush enough to allow the next piece to nestle in snugly.
As you can see, we were also very careful to protect the flooring before it was finished to avoid any dents or scratches. Towels covered the surfaces, tools were placed gently, and socks only on the bare wood.
Our last edge was a bit of a learning curve. As our persuasion piece we had been using no longer fit, we found new ways to assure the pieces were snug without marring the tongues. We tried to use our clamps with narrower grooved pieces to try to squeeze the last piece into place, but they weren’t really achieving what we needed. The leverage of the wooden handled mallet turned out to be perfect for us. We ripped the last piece down, allowing some extra room for maneuvering. It was still a bit challenging to get the tongue and groove to fit properly. Once we had committed to laying the piece, there is not really a way to take it back out without destroying it, so be extra sure of that test fit 🙂
Now we had a floor we had spent a fair amount of effort laying in a house with no roof. Of course we have plans to rectify this, but the Las Vegas sun doesn’t take breaks when we’d like it. You may notice that we finished laying the large loft in the wee hours of the night. We returned the next day to finish, so to protect the flooring in the few hours in between, we covered it with towels and weighed them down. After all of the lofts were up, we were able to reassemble our pvc makeshift ceiling with our tarp. Man, are we getting tired of that tarp.
Next up: framing our upper walls!