Tag Archives: bamboo floor


Last fall, on the first day after Sepi’s tenants moved out of her house, I took out all the carpeting, including the stairs.

Over the next several weeks, I put in the new bamboo flooring in the upstairs living area and we moved furniture in.

Our intention was to do the stairs with the same material but it developed that there was a problem. The bottom four steps of the staircase widened out and had a curved edge. The bamboo nosers sold by the flooring company were not available curved.

Not only that, but using the floor pieces for the riser facing was problematic for the same reason: they couldn’t be bent.

After going around and around with installers from the flooring company, we decided to take another path.

We found a man whose specialty was stairs and he agreed to do the job.

About this time, the water supply on our refrigerator leaked and thus began a nearly two month saga of repairs on our house. The stairs were put on hold during all this.

We moved back into our house – we had been 5 weeks in a local hotel – just before New Years’. Our stair guy came over and went over his plans with us. To match the bamboo with wood that could be more easily worked, Ben suggested that we use white oak, quartersawn. He knew a guy who he said was a master of staining and could match the bamboo color on the white oak.

Then, weeks went by with a word from Ben. When we finally called his work number, we heard a message that said he had gone into the hospital and was not going to be able to work for two more weeks. This happened several more times. He did finally call us back but the time frame for his return to work kept stretching out. It did not seem to occur to him to take a couple of minutes to call his clients and tell them what was going on.

So, long story short, he finally started on April 30th. The work was good, although he made a couple of decisions that I felt were poorly considered. One was that he put on the bamboo noser at the top of the stairs with glue, screws and nails leaving huge divots in the wood. He said Ralph, the stain guy, could fix it. Ralph had to replace it.

The other issue was at the bottom of the stairs where the rounding was. The original curves had been cut rather sloppily. As it was then covered by carpet, it wasn’t such a big problem. When it became bare wood, it was. Ben seemed a bit puzzled when I asked him to fix it. It still isn’t right, but it’s better.

Most of the time, no one will notice it. To be fair to Ben, I think he got a little too caught up in the weeds of matching the original curves to step back and look at the big picture.

So, now Ben is done and Ralph is staining. He started last Monday. At this writing, he’s not done yet. First, he didn’t make it dark enough. Then, he complained that he couldn’t get the proper pigment at the paint supply. I suggested that he look at art supply stores. This proved to be a success. Ralph, at least, has been good about keeping us informed of what he’s doing, even telling us all about his aunt who had to go in the hospital last weekend. Today he went to pick up some more pigment for the putty but the stuff that they brought was wrong (at the flooring supply). Tomorrow they are supposed to have the right stuff.

He has put one coat of finish on it so he says it’s ok to walk on. For three days, we had to enter the house by going up the side and around the back to the kitchen deck. It’s actually worse than it sounds. Of course it was raining.

a dose of reality

I knew I hadn’t posted in a very long time. Tonight I looked back at my last post. I said I figured by the third week of September I could relax and look out the window.

Didn’t happen.

Tonight is Wednesday, six weeks since my marriage and three weeks since my last post. I guess three weeks is my thing nowadays . . .

What happened? Saturday the 1st we got possession of the house after the tenants left. We had agreed the carpet had to go and had bought some bamboo flooring. It was supposed to be delivered that day. The delivery people were supposed to call me the night before and tell me when I could expect them. Didn’t happen. In the morning I started calling the store. No answer. Are they closed for Labor Day?? Eventually Sepi got through to someone on the corporate help line but they couldn’t get through to the store either.

Meanwhile, I pressed ahead with the removal of the old carpet. About 5 o’clock, a truck pulled up with the flooring. They had had to make a delivery in Sacramento, they said. It was ok as now I had some bare floor for them to put it on.

Well, not really bare as we discovered. Staples from 2 iterations of carpet pad were everywhere. Some of the floor leveling was still there and usable but much more had to be done. At first I was trying to leave the baseboard attached to the wall but eventually I realized I was going to have to have it off to put the floor in.

The next day, Sunday, I could barely move. In fact, beginning that day I’ve been beating my body up almost every day. Knees, back, shoulders, hands. Everything hurts. The days I went to work instead of working on the house I had to run conduit in the Davies attic. More kneeling and clambering over things. The wood had to ‘acclimate’ in the house for a week before I could start laying it.

When I started to lay it out, I immediately discovered that the long wall was not perfectly straight. I got hung up on worrying about some fractions of inches in a couple of spots. I thought maybe I should start on the other side of the room. I laid planks down across the room to see where the came out. I called the guy at the store who had said he would come over and give me some pointers. Now he’s too busy . . . All the videos I had watched showed the planks being cut with a chop saw so I went out and rented one. The rental place didn’t help me get the saw blade on so I broke it turning the mounting bolt the wrong way. No manual was supplied.

I thrashed around like this for two days. Finally, one of Sepi’s friends, a contractor, came by and offered to loan me a small power hand saw. He said to not worry about the accuracy of the cuts as they were going to be under the baseboards. He also told me to not stress over a few gaps. He also said he thought it was a ‘4 or 5 day’ job. I had thought one or two! The next morning, Chris E came over. She reminded me that, ‘Perfect is the enemy of the good,’ and suggested I get going.

So I did.

I got the big room and the front bedroom mostly done by Friday the 14th. I had originally wanted to have the whole thing finished by the 11th or 12th leaving plenty of time to finish packing my apartment and move carefully. Nope. It was another Saturday blitz.

Jack and Julian had already helped with the carpet staples. They were ready for the big move but Julian hurt his shoulder. Jack’s friend Dante came through for the morning along with the the Solano family van. Because the floor wasn’t done, we hadn’t been able to touch Sepi’s stuff in the garage because there was nowhere to put her things. I had to be very creative about where I put my things. We had some – mostly civil – discussions about what memorabilia were appropriate to keep. I promised I would review everything critically but for now I had to move it. People who had said they would come and get my old bed didn’t show up. Sepi and I had both thought we could get done by early afternoon. We closed out the apartment at 9 pm by putting the bed by the dumpster with a free sign on it. I sent messages to everyone who had expressed interest to come and get it. Some things that in other circumstances would have gone to Goodwill went into the dumpster. My car was full and it was dark and I wasn’t going to make another trip.

Sunday we just vegged. We talked at one point about going to a movie but neither of us really wanted to leave the house. Monday I had to go back to work and Monday night was jazz band. Yesterday some things happened at work and I had to stay a couple hours overtime unexpectedly. I collapsed into bed about 9. Tonight, Sepi’s contractor friend agreed to loan me his pin stapler so I could start putting baseboards back on. I got the bedroom about 90% done. I got the bookcase in from the deck and hung the closet doors. The is not as high as the carpet was so the old baseboard shows some of my board ends. I’m not sure now how I will deal with that.

Actually, I decided to let it ride until daylight and write this post. I have some pictures but I can’t remember where I put them. Another time.


3 weeks

3 weeks ago today I got married. Looking back in my calendar I see a few holes in my schedule but it doesn’t feel like there were any. I had some days where I had to go to work at night but none absolutely empty. I’ve been trying to go to physical therapy appointments in some of the holes but they were starting to depress me. I’ve lost weight (down to 198 this morning!) but I been a complete failure at doing the stretching and exercises the therapists have recommended.

So Monday I cancelled the two remaining appointments. One was for later in the day. I told the office that if they had to bill me to just go ahead; I didn’t feel that talking to a therapist about exercises I wasn’t doing was worthwhile.

But now I had a day to recoup a little. I still had jazz band in the evening. Today was the other appointment. I had a lunch scheduled with an old friend in Daly City and cancelling the PT appointment meant I didn’t have to get up early and drive to San Mateo, then turn around and get up to Daly City by noon. It was always do-able but it meant rushing around. I need to cut back on rushing around!

There were other days free in the last two weeks but this is the maintenance period at Davies and JJ needs experienced people to work on the projects there. It’s part of the reason we chose to not go away on honeymoon, but I didn’t expect to be hauled in every day. The money is nice . . .

I have two more days of maintenance and then Saturday is the first orchestra rehearsal. I asked for that day off because it is the first day we have access to the upstairs at Sepi’s. The tenants will be gone as of Friday night. There won’t be much actual moving of stuff right away because we are replacing the carpet with bamboo flooring in the living room and bedrooms. Cleaning and painting will be our primary activities for a couple of days after removing the old carpet. The bamboo has to sit in the space where it will be used to ‘acclimate’, so it looks like there will be a lull for several days.

At Davies it’s only the opening Gala on Wednesday. Next door, the Opera is opening on Friday.

Once the floor is done – I am hoping it goes smoothly; it’s DIY time – serious moving starts. I’ll be leaving my apartment of 8 years. I’ve been giving away things I won’t need. The couch went Monday.

Hopefully by the third week of September I can settle into the furniture and look out the window for a while.