May the Floors Be With You

Wow. That title is awful and doesn’t even make any sense. (Sorry, George Lucas.) This post is about my subfloor. Sounds boring right? But I hope you’ll stick with me and read it to the end because I deserve serious props for what I’ve accomplished here all by myself and I need you to tell me how impressed you are. Even if you really don’t mean it. Fake compliments are OK. I won’t know the difference. And now here’s a cute picture of Egor (you can see the floor in the background, so it’s relevant) to keep you interested enough to keep reading…

This project was my most difficult one to date. Not because it was complicated, but because plywood is freaking heavy and I’ve got girl muscles. I wasn’t going to attempt this on my own. I knew I needed help, but I didn’t want to impose on anyone. I don’t like asking for help. I’d prefer you sense that I need a hand and show up at my house with your toolbox. That actually rarely happens.

I wish I had some great before pics to show you. Who knew I’d be writing a blog post about my subfloor? (I know that sounds so uninteresting, but please keep reading. I promise it gets exponentially better. And I would never exaggerate just to keep you here.) These are the best pics I could come up with:

Between the 17 layers of linoleum in the kitchen and the beat up oak hardwood and weird plywood landing strip in the living room, I had a Frankenfloor. Underneath all of that was a crappy 1/2 inch plywood subfloor. My plan was to rip up everything but the subfloor and then go over that with 3/4 inch plywood to create an awesome base for new hardwood floors.

For months, in my garage sat fourteen sheets of 4 ft x 8 ft, tongue and groove plywood weighing about 80 lbs each. (That’s 1120 lbs!) As it became clear that no one was going to receive my telepathic signals for help, I got myself psyched to try to do the job alone. (Shut up, Yoda. You can move shit with your mind.) This is what I accomplished on my first day:

What?? That’s right, people. I kicked that floor’s ASS! Look at me, cutting around walls and doors and crap like Bob Freaking Vila! Plywood is my bitch! It was so much easier than I thought it would be!

Yeah, right. In opposite world. This is how it really went:

  1. Drag 80 lb plywood sheet out of garage
  2. Drag 80 lb plywood sheet onto sawhorses
  3. Make cuts
  4. Drag (now much lighter) 76 lb plywood sheet off sawhorses
  5. Drag 76 lb plywood sheet up front walkway
  6. Pause to cry softly
  7. Drag 76 lb plywood sheet up front steps
  8. Drag 76 lb plywood sheet through front door
  9. Spread some glue
  10. Drag 76 lb plywood sheet into place
  11. Beat 76 lb plywood sheet into place with sledge hammer (tongues and grooves are little bitches)
  12. Screw 76 lb plywood sheet down
  13. Repeat 13 more times

Hey, did I mention plywood is f’ing heavy?? It took me about a week to finish the whole floor, but I did it. All. By. Myself. The last piece had to wait until I could hire someone to reroute the radiator through the basement. (Yeah, smarty. I said I did the floor myself. I don’t mess with plumbing.) See how it’s in the way from where the wall used to be?

Ahh. That last piece was so satisfying.

You know, there were some people who would give me this patronizing little smirk when I would talk about the work I was doing at my crappy house. They thought I was some silly little girl, in way over my head, playing with grown up man tools. They didn’t take me seriously. Now, they know better. This floor has earned me respect. Now they know I am no joke! I’m not playing around over here. I have an impact driver and I know how to use it. I am woman! (ROWR!)

My new subfloor is so quiet, it’s ninja certified. Impressed? I told you! In lieu of compliments, please share this post. Yeah, OK. You can compliment me too in the comments below. Want to see more awesomeness? Subscribe!


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  • dbmojo

    HOLY CRAP! Impressive! Yeah, you got serious cred now. That’s some heavy lifting – go have yourself a spa day or something

    Do you have previous knowledge of laying floors, or did you just figure it out?

    • My Crappy House

      Ha I know, right? I do deserve a freaking massage!

      I didn’t have any previous floor experience. I got all the info I needed on the internet and I ran my final plan by my cousin, who is a contractor. He was too busy with his own work to help me, but he did lend me his sledge hammer

  • Denise

    Thanks so much for blogging your adventures. I laughed my arse off reading about your plywood floor creation. I’m like you and take diy quite seriously. Of course it should be “dim” (myself instead of yourself), and yes that pun was intended!

    • My Crappy House

      You know, it’s never occurred to me that it should be DIM. I can’t believe it hasn’t since I’m quite self centered, as (I’m sure you noticed) my blog is all about ME! lol
      I’m glad I’m not alone in my “DIM” adventures! DIM. Kinda sounds… “special”… I might have to stick with DIY anyway…

  • Melissa

    I’m a bit of a late comer to your blog and I may get fired from my job because I can’t stop clicking on ALL your links!!

    Anyway, you really do ROCK!! No doubt doing that floor yourself was a bitch, you had to move everying out of the way!!! Way to show those nay-sayers!!!!

    You should have big girl muscles by now!

    Keep up the fabulous work! Oh and I’m in love with Egor!! He’s adorable!!!

    • My Crappy House

      Thank you! Please don’t get fired! You’re not really a late comer when you consider the scope of my situation. I’ve got years to go before I finish. Welcome to the party

  • allief

    just found your blog through apartment therapy. very cool. i love the subfloors. also, if you ever need to carry plywood again, check out the gorilla gripper board carrier. i’m only 5’0″ tall and it was a lifesaver on the jobsite!

    • My Crappy House

      I hope I don’t ever have to carry plywood again, but I will have to carry sheetrock. I Googled the Gorilla Gripper and it’s very clever! I wish I’d known about it before I did my subfloor. Thanks for the tip!

  • Sharon Turner

    Okay, you’re sitting there expecting all sorts of praise and kudos for completing this awesome job. But, this is so in the past and done. Those floors have been down for ages. What’s really going on is that you’re sitting there now doing squat, and you feel compelled to post something, even though you haven’t done diddly! So, if you’ve hit a wall indoors, go outside and pull some weeds, or plant some flowers, or paint your front door. Just DO SOMETHING! Please give a big hug and kiss to Egor … how he puts up with you, I will never know!

  • Sharon Turner

    The mean plumber? Yes, fuck them all !!

    And, by the way, whenever I think about teens wondering how to make a daily wage when they grow up, I encourage them to become plumbers and/or electricians. They are all so grossly overpaid, and you have to wait forever for one of them to show up!!! Talk about dream jobs …

    • My Crappy House

      Right? They do make a good living. This one was lucky he made it out of my crappy house alive…

      I promise I’m being productive over here. I spent the weekend spackling the garage. Ask Egor. He’s my witness.

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