Beetle-Kill Ponderosa Pine Flooring Installation: Pining for the Floors

Ponderosa Pine Flooring Installation

With the dashboard project done  (well, mostly – see the video series here)I can now move on to the next step in this crazy journey and that is the blue-stained, beetle-kill, ponderosa pine flooring installation. We got this flooring months ago at a small local lumber mill near our home base in KY (check out our visit ).

It’s all 8-inch wide tongue and groove flooring with this really amazing pattern from the beetle running all through the grain. Once we lay a finish on it, the beetle staining will REALLY pop.


ponderosa pine flooring installationWhen we started on the ponderosa pine flooring installation, we needed to make sure that we planned to not seal the hatches that are necessary to have access to for maintenance and repair. Though, we also wanted to make sure that it didn’t look like we had ANY hatches. So there was a ton of planning involved to accomplish this.

Once we decided on our board length, which turned out to be 5′, 7′ and 9′ boards, we decided that creating a layout with scale pieces would be a far better solution than cutting and moving the full-size pine. So we cut a bunch of small pieces of scrap down to create a mini-version of our materials stack. We then took those mini boards and began arranging them in as visually appealing a manner as we could.

ponderosa pine flooring installationOnce we had some semblance of a plan in place, it was time to start the actual work. Anytime you lay down hardwood floor over a sub-floor, you’ll need to add a vapor/slip barrier to prevent dust from working it’s way through to the subfloor, reduce moisture seeping into the finish floor and keep everything from becoming the squeaky irritation that plank flooring sometimes develops into. We used red rosin paper for that in our ponderosa pine flooring installation.

Red rosin paper, as well as brown rosin paper, is a 100% recycled heavy duty felt paper used in construction such as underlayment under flooring and siding. The name comes from the rosin used in the paper, the process of sizing it to add the rosin, and its use by builders. This process is also what makes this paper “somewhat” moisture resistant. Most home improvement centers will carry it and it’s not overly pricey. Plus, the red kinda looks really cool all laid out.

TIP: If you haven’t drawn out your floorplan layout yet, this is a great time to do it to see if everything fits. Don’t worry, you’ll cover it with your flooring!

Now that the rosin paper is down we can get to the actual ponderosa pine flooring installation itself. We cut down all of our boards into their appropriate starting lengths and begin dry fitting the first rows according to our diagram.

Once we are satisfied that everything is falling into place where it’s supposed to, we start driving screws. Most installations of tongue and groove flooring are installed using flooring nails but we want to ensure that there will be no movement caused by driving. We’re using a trim head screw as well to get a smaller final hole in the tongue.

ponderosa pine flooring installationWhen we lay it all down, we make sure that you can’t tell that the hatches even exist. This process of strategic breaks in the wood made what should have been a 1-day project, extend into 2 long days. It was worth it! The final result is you can’t tell that there is anything amiss with the floor unless you know where to look. With a little modification, I was even able to use the original venting grates for the air returns and hide them under little removable panels.

The final thing to do in our ponderosa pine flooring installation is to use a router with a straight trim bit to cut the shape for the step from the drivers landing to the main living space so it matches the profile exactly.

That’s it, ponderosa pine flooring installation done. Take a break, get a coffee and marvel in your work!

Now we just have to apply a finish of Auro natural hard wax (which we’ll talk about in another video) and we have a great looking, unique, organic and hard-wearing floor.

Check out the video of the entire installation process below and don’t forget to stop by our channel as well as all our social media!

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