DIY and crafts · Hometown Ideas · Inspiration

Learning From a Flooring Puzzle

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Usually these floor boards aren’t so vertical…

Last week our basement flooded.

Luckily, the damage was minor and mostly confined to a single room. My Dad acted quickly by removing the affected portion of the interlocking laminate floor boards. Unfortunately, in his haste to save the floor, there was no time to number the pieces he pulled up. A few sheets of plastic and foam protected the flooring from water damage, so we ended up with a bunch of jumbo sized puzzle pieces and a very cold concrete floor.

Dad and I should not be mistaken for carpenters, but we are generally pretty successful puzzle-solvers. So we decided that we would take on the challenge of putting the floor back together, because “there’s really no reason to replace a perfectly good floor”. So on Monday night we headed down to the basement with the agreement that I would write about the task on my blog. I knew the experience would be entertaining.

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This piece HAD to go here… now what else can we remove from the equation?

What started off as a relatively logical and systematic approach involving measuring tapes and neatly organized stacks of various length boards, quickly devolved into a gritty race to the finish line. Where measuring tapes took time and precision, passing over a couple of boards of different lengths for a visual comparison was much more efficient. It was a lesson in adaptation.

We also determined early on that some boards could be removed from the puzzle because of their unique features. Boards that were cut off on both ends had to go in front of the stairs, while boards that were cut to fit into corners were placed in their specific location. We could remove then find the boards that were associated with the specifically tailored pieces and remove them from the equation.

This still left us with a puzzle. It seemed like no matter how we arranged them, the boards just weren’t going to fit. We both left the project more than once to search the house for “misplaced boards”, only to return empty-handed. It didn’t make sense.

That’s when cheating was introduced into the mix.

We discovered a few leftover boards from the original laying of the floor. This gave us the freedom to “trim” the ends off boards that weren’t fitting just so. So we proceeded to find the “best fit” and dealt with the excess. This really sped the process up.

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An inspired team effort.

In the end, we had only cut into one new board and were left with a few leftover pieces. Although the floor is not in it’s original state, it’s better than concrete and can always be improved if need be. Besides, now I have a great memory of the time my Dad and I rebuilt a puzzle of a floor.

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Of course, the kitty oversaw operations from her perch on the stairs.

When faced with obstacles, start by removing the most simple problems and work your way into the heart of the obstacle. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!

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