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DIY Hardwood Flooring: Part 2

[DIY Hardwood Flooring Part 1 starts here…]

This is the part of the story where it sounds like I’m exaggerating – you’re going to be positive I’m exaggerating – but friends, there is no hyperbole here.

Installing hardwood floors using glue? It’s the Mount Everest of DIY projects. You get started, thinking, all I have to do is…

1. Prepare the floor.
2. Start gluing! Yippee!

Because glue is FUN.


In kindergarten, we all used to eat glue. Then in second grade, we spread it on our hands on purpose to peel it off in nice, satisfying sheets of clear, scaly goodness.
Elmer's Glue-All Multipurpose Glue 
Breakfast of Champions!

But hardwood floor glue is not like that.  It has been mooching off Elmer’s reputation.
Urethane wood flooring adhesive for glue-down hardwood floors
Listen to me very closely: you cannot trust it.

Do not expect good times and happy friendships with hardwood floor glue. Do not tell hardwood floor glue all your secrets. Do not leave it alone with your valuables. Do not get into a windowless van and allow hardwood floor glue to take you to a second location. WATCH YOUR BACK.

…and your hands, your arms, your hair and all your clothes. Because once hardwood floor glue looks at you wrong, it’s going to be stuck on you until the end of days.

Most people will assume you have leprosy. This is normal.

Let’s review:

Elmer's glue vs hardwood flooring adhesive
Is that clear?

Okay, back to the installation process. First, you have to prepare the floor, and that’s no small job. Here’s what we were working with:

1. Old blonde hardwoods in the foyer.
Foyer entryway with blonde light wood hardwood floors, tan carpet
2. Grody, stinky old carpet in the rest of the downstairs.
Dining room: brass hardware, old torn wallpaper, beige walls, tan carpet
Scrape that junk out. Pull up the carpets. Enjoy. This process is satisfying and delicious. (Especially if you are not the one who does the hardest, most physically demanding parts. I heart marriage.)

Once your old floors, old glue and carpet tacks are gone, you will realize that you have made large holes in the concrete from where the old carpet tackboards were. Repair the holes and any cracks with concrete patch. This is actually really easy. Took about an hour for our whole downstairs.
Pre-mixed concrete patch tub

My feelings about concrete patch are neutral.

You also have to make sure your slab is level, and use leveling compound if it isn’t. Ours were, so we did a happy little jig and moved on to the next step: installation! Finally!

How am I at the end of this post and just now starting to talk installation? Is it cool if I continue onto another post? Please don’t let this post scare you away from installing hardwoods yourself. Hang with me. Now that you know about hardwood glue, you can protect yourself from its evil ways. Knowledge is power. You can do this.
Update: Check out hardwood floor installation post part 3 here.

Let's connect


  1. Carol@TheDesignPages says:

    Very funny post!! It's my first visit to your blog and I love it. I'll be back to see the final reveal:)

  2. rindercella @ neatheringourfest says:

    too funny! i love the pictures of the elmer's and hardwood glue with the angel and devil decor. can't wait to see how it all turns out!

  3. InteriorGroupie says:

    can't wait to see what the hardwood floor did to deserve the devil horns!

  4. Green Door Girl says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog – your writing is hillarious – evil glue – love it! I am now a follower – I can't wait to see the redone headboard – I want to make one so bad…. I hope it isn't TOO hard!

  5. J and Company says:

    I'm afraid that funny-ness of your writing is forcing me to follow your blog after I gave myself explicit instructions not to follow any more blogs because I have a blog addiction. Just one more won't hurt right? I can stop anytime I really want to…. 🙂

  6. Jessica @ This Blessed Life says:

    Hi! I saw your feature on TDC today and popped over to say hi. I read some of your old posts and you are totally hilarious – I'm now following. 🙂 Oh, and your dining room?! It's fabulous.

  7. Sara @ House Bella says:

    Stopped over from TDC and literally almost got ginger ale out of my nose from laughing so hard. "My feelings about concrete patch are neutral."

    We are picking out our wood floors at this moment, but the engineered we're looking at is running in the $12/square foot (uninstalled) category. Clearly, I'm looking in the wrong places.

  8. Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

    J and J – hi, my name is Kelly, and I also suffer from blog addiction.

    These posts on TDC are just destroying my google reader. I can't stop adding new subscriptions!

  9. Red Door Home says:

    How exciting to be installing hardwood floors – despite the trouble and work! When it is all done I am sure you will be thrilled.

  10. Suzanne W. says:

    Hi Kelly! Found you from TDC and was instantly drawn in when you mentioned 'foreclosure.' Husband and I have been thinking about doing just that and although we've owned several houses due to job moves, we're good with paint, but just not that handy with power tools (still learning though!)

    Anyway, wanted to say hi and to tell you your house is looking great! 🙂

  11. raddesigning says:

    Haha, you're such a hoot (yes, i said hoot… best word to describe my feelings here) Looking forward to seeing how this goes and i can dream of moving out of my apartment and being able to tear up my own carpet 🙂

    You are presh and thanks for rocking my socks off!

  12. hahahaha. I've never read a more entertaining post about glue.



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