Barn siding can be re-purposed for many projects, and one of the most popular is solid wood flooring. This is a difficult and labor intensive endeavor, requiring familiarity with carpentry, manufacturing and wood flooring systems. The rewards can be substantial, however, because many older barns are constructed of rare heart pine or other expensive woods that are otherwise costly to purchase.
Things You'll Need
- Table saw
- Radial arm saw
- Shaper or router table
- Cats claw
- Finish nailer
- Flooring nailer
Removal and Preparation
Remove the siding from the barn using a hammer, pry-bar and cats claw as required. Sort and stack the wood according to condition. Some of the material may be rotted or damaged making it unsuitable for milling.
Using the cats claw or hammer, remove all nails from the boards. These can catch in the saw blades during milling and become dangerous projectiles.
Use the radial arm saw to square the ends of the boards and cut out the bad sections of wood.
Milling and Installation
Set up the planer to your desired flooring thickness, and make several passes on both sides of the boards gradually reducing the thickness. Planing both sides of the wood will flatten the boards and make them more suitable for flooring.
Set up your table saw to cut the width or widths that you want for the flooring. Many people choose a random floor pattern made out of boards 3, 5 and 7 inches wide, but you can also cut them all the same width if you like.
Run the boards through a shaper or router to place opposing tongues and grooves on all four sides of the wood. This creates the interlocking system to fit the flooring together when installed.
Let the floor acclimate onsite for as long as possible. The wood has been exposed to the elements for some time, so it may be very wet or dry depending on local conditions. This will give it a chance to acclimate as needed before beginning the installation.
Start the installation on the longest, straightest outside wall by top nailing the first row down into the subfloor.
Continue by installing the bulk of the floor using the regular flooring nailer. When you come to the opposing wall, once again top nail the wood to get up close to the wall where the flooring gun won't fit.
Choose the color and sheen you want and then sand, stain and finish the new flooring to your taste.
Tips & Warnings
- Milling old wood can be dangerous, so always use hand, eye and hearing protection
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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