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Copper Inlaid Floor


Plate 1. Straps holding floor boards together.


Floating Strand Bamboo Floor


I picked up some nice strand bamboo flooring off of Criag's List. First time I'd worked with strand. Seems very durable and looks nice.

However, I had assumed it could be floated. Later I found out it had to be nailed or glued. I refuse to glue flooring down and can't nail into the concrete slab. Floating over concrete is the only way to go in my book. For my cost of $1 per sq ft I have some margin to be creative.

Floating bamboo floors I'd done before were glued in the tongue and groove joints and blue masking tape used to hold them together while the glue dries. All I really needed to do is replace the tape with something permanent like copper strapping. Took me a couple of weeks to think of this but now it seems a pretty simple idea.

floor
Plate 2. Jigs and dado.

The first step was like a normal floating floor, glue tongue and groove joints and masking tape to hold in place.

Next, to eliminate a tripping hazard, I cut a dado with a router for the copper strip. I made a couple of jigs to fit a router bushing and screwed the jig to the floor in the dado path.

strap
Plate 3.

Once again I flattened old ¾" copper water pipe for the straps. It it takes a bit of hammering to get long pieces straight, but not too hard.

The room is just over 12' and I didn't have any pipes that long so I did butt joints making sure the joint was mid plank. These aren't just decoration, they're holding the floor together. I could have soldered pipes together with a fitting and then flattened, but I wanted as flat a surface as possible.

Screws are countersunk. I would have liked to have used slotted brass screws but I needed a bunch and I already had a large supply brass plated oval head in Phillips in exactly the length I needed so I went with them. If the Phillips heads really get to bugging me I can fill the X with black crayon.

Combining Floor Material

In Plate 2 you can see two different flooring material. On the right side is Brazilian Cherry, where the dado seems white.

The chances of buying the exact amount you need on craigslist is near zero. Less than full room size lots are more common than large lots. Combining lots is a way to keep these small lots out of the landfill. You can try to match different wood as I did here or create a pattern as I did in the living room.

I've never had the joints of different floor material align without additonal milling. They also vary in thickness. The Brazilian Cherry in this case was thinner so I put 1/16" luan down first and glued the Brazilian Cherry on top.

The only way it makes any sense to pay for the extra labor is to buy at a reasonable cost. Generally I'm looking for $4 sq ft retail type flooring and pay $1 sq ft. So in this room I saved about $500, but spent almost two days extra getting it to work. I'd call that a wash.

My point is I don't think buying cheap on craigslist actually saves money. What it does do is force you into creative solutions which can result in something great. I think these inlaid copper straps add interest and a richness to the room. I never would have considered this had I just gone down to Lumber Liquidators.