Jay's Floor - 3 of 8 - I'm A Real Square

The entry to the living room abuts the hallway hardwood floor, which was installed when the house was built 10 1/2 years ago.  That being true, the first course has to be very squarely laid against what is there.  If it is not square, the new does not abut properly to the old, AND, very importantly, when I get to the far wall of the dining room the last piece of flooring will have to be ripped at an odd angle to fit.  That will not look good.  If the quarter round at the bottom of the floor molding is not parallel to the new floor the job looks unprofessional.

There are two advantages to starting square to the entry:

1.  The flooring will draw the eye into the living room.

2.  The planks will be perpendicular to the floor joists below.  If I select the wood carefully, each plank will have at least one brad into a joist.  That will make for a stronger, and probably quieter, floor.

At 3.25" wide, I figure there will be 133 planks, or courses, between the living room wall and the far dining room wall.  So, if the first course is not square at the beginning, it will be way out of square at the end.

How do you start with a very square edge?

I checked the yellow pages, under "Square," and called the number.  Someone named Pythagoras showed up.  A nice fellow, but oddly he only speaks Greek.

He was very likable, despite the thick glasses and pillow under his shirt.

After much arm flailing and hard to understand words, I got him a pencil and paper.

He loved the pencil! But he drew a box, then another, and then another.

I labeled them and he didn't like that.  He understood the A and the B, but not the C.  So how did I know there was no C in Greek?  Anyway, he was showing me that I can square the first plank with a careful measurement.  This is exactly how decks are squared against the house.  Carpenter's use this technique all the time.

After he left, I began to square the first piece.  You have to play with it for a while.  But, sooner than you think, you will get something that looks as good as mine does! 

There!! Nailed it!

Well, you can see that nothing is nailed yet, but obviously this will be one square floor!

I worked at it for a while and was proud with the final result.

A few courses later and veeeoola! 

I think it worked out.

So, the moral of the story is:  When you are feeling pressure and hype over a project, remember to --



When I wrote that out for Pythagoras he didn't like it either.  It seems there is no x or y in Greek.

That's OK.  I didn't understand much of what he said either. 


That, my friends, is the old and the VERY SQUARE new.

And Pythagoras?  I let him keep the pencil.

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!