Wednesday, July 6, 2022

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Installed My Floor

Dear Captain Staple Gun,

I don’t know who you are, but since my house was built in the early 2000s, I am assuming you are in your mid to late 30s now. You might still work in construction if you managed to get yourself under control. If you did not calm down, I doubt you were able to hold down any sort of real job and are probably reading this from your parent’s basement.

I’m writing you today because I’m in the process of installing laminate flooring in our master bathroom, with which, you are familiar. You, after all, were there about twenty years ago installing the extra sheet of plywood onto the subfloor in the tiny little three-foot by five-foot toilet room.

Your boss, I’m sure, explained to you that the three-eighths plywood was necessary to raise the floor in that room up ever so slightly so the light beige linoleum would match the height of the dark beige carpet in the main bathroom.

In case you were wondering, the key words that identify the need for our new laminate flooring project are ”beige,” “linoleum,” and “bathroom carpet.”

I just want to start by saying thank you. Thank you for not gluing it down. Since the laminate floor will be continuous throughout the bathroom, I needed to pull out your small sheet of riser plywood so the subfloor would all be the same height. I was already on my knees when I discovered it, so I stopped and prayed that it was not glued down.

I’m not sure if you happen to remember which member of your construction crew installed our original hardwood floors downstairs, but if you do, I’d love it if you would do me a favor and set fire to their house.

We had this same laminate flooring installed in the entire downstairs area of our house a few years back, and I decided I would remove the old hardwood floors myself. After all, they were only in the kitchen and foyer. I thought, how hard could it be?

I’ll answer that for you. They were glued down with some substance the Pentagon would love to know about. You could have vaporized all of Placer county with a targeted nuclear strike centered on my home and those floors would have remained securely attached to the concrete slab, somewhere hundreds of miles away.

I had to cut through the hardwood with a Skilsaw, making a cut perpendicular to the board lengths every three inches, and chip the floor off with a giant long-handled scraper. It took our entire family of five a whole week to get the floor out of two rooms. I honestly wished I’d had access to nuclear weapons at the time. I still have a lingering case of PTSD about the whole thing.

So, yes, thank you for not gluing the plywood down, knowing you had access to whatever the hell that stuff was. That being said, this is where my thanks to you stops.

Instead of glue, you used the pneumatic staple gun that shoots two-inch construction staples. Good choice. I would have used that too. And if I was installing the small little piece of plywood to the small little floor of the small little toilet room, I would have used anywhere from twenty to thirty staples total. But that’s because I tend to overdo it a little on my fastener count. I want to know that it’s going to stay nailed down.

Not you, though. No sir. You, my friend, are on an entirely different level. I hammered my prybar under that sheet of plywood and got stopped cold by your first row of staples across the doorway. You had over thirty staples in that first row alone. The door is only twenty-eight inches wide, so you were doing better than one staple per inch. Impressive.

Speaking of staples per inch, or in the regular construction world, inches per staple, it would have been cool if you had some sort of plan or consistency to your work. But you didn’t. In some areas I encountered staples grouped so close together they were actually touching each other. In other places I may have gone a full two inches before I came upon another one of your little projectiles.

There was one spot in the middle where you had a six-inch line of staples so close together it looked like a zipper. A removal project that should have taken me about ten minutes to complete ended up taking me hours. Hours on my hands and knees in a tiny little room doesn’t really work for me anymore. I’m old now. And in more pain now because of your insane rampant stapling.

I just have to ask. What the hell were you doing? Were you hiding from the boss but needed to sound like you were still working? Were you hiding from the crazy hardwood gluer guy? Can’t blame you there. Was it the end of the day and you wanted to milk that project as long as possible so you didn’t have to start something else? I just have to know!

Were you getting paid by the staple instead of by the hour? That would explain why my fifteen-square-foot floor was honestly more staples than actual wood. I’m amazed it didn’t all cave in from the sheer weight of the steel.

Or was it your first day on the job and/or the first time you ever used a nail gun? If that was the case, then I guess I’m glad you had fun at least. And I hope you haven’t lost that childlike enthusiasm for life. I just never want you to do anything like that again.


I have to go take more Advil now.

Settle down,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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