3/4" hardwood floor installation questions


  #1  
Old 11-18-03, 08:08 AM
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3/4" hardwood floor installation questions

My house is about seven years old. The master bedroom is roughly 250 sqft. Currently there is carpet in the room. I would like to install hardwood floors in this room. This will be my first time installing hardwood floors.

I have some questions. After I rip up the carpet and checked the subfloor i measure 3" from both corners of my starting wall and string a line. What if my starting wall has a 1/8" of a difference? Wont my flooring as Im laying it eventually bind? How do I test myself? Do I remeasure after a couple of rows and make sure the measurement = each other from both corners of the starting wall?

Should I always test this after a set number of rows?

Should I buy a air floor nailer or just get the manual one?

On the side do I maintain a 3/4" gap away from the wall also?

This is it for now

THANKS in advance!
 
  #2  
Old 11-18-03, 03:12 PM
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Re: 3/4" hardwood floor installation questions

Originally posted by caster
My house is about seven years old. The master bedroom is roughly 250 sqft. Currently there is carpet in the room. I would like to install hardwood floors in this room. This will be my first time installing hardwood floors.


I have some questions. After I rip up the carpet and checked the subfloor i measure 3" from both corners of my starting wall and string a line. What if my starting wall has a 1/8" of a difference? Wont my flooring as Im laying it eventually bind? How do I test myself? Do I remeasure after a couple of rows and make sure the measurement = each other from both corners of the starting wall?
Not sure I know what you mean here but if the wall is "bowed" 1/8" it shouldn't matter since you have to have an expansion gap between your strips and the wall. Check your product for the exact requirement or you may void your warranty. The gap can be covered with the base or quarter round if you are not removing your base. If this doesn't answer your question please clarify. Also, your starting point should be a "balanced" string line. This averages the out of square of your room so you don't end up with large tapers at the end of the install.

Should I always test this after a set number of rows?
Please clarify.

Should I buy a air floor nailer or just get the manual one?
Only if you already have a compressor.

On the side do I maintain a 3/4" gap away from the wall also?
Generally yes but follow man specs. Is this prefinished?

This is it for now

THANKS in advance!
 
  #3  
Old 11-18-03, 04:44 PM
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sorry I wasnt clear.

Yes its prefinished 2.25 wide 3/4" thick Harris-Tarkett most likely.

What I was trying to get at with the wall being bowed. How do I make sure that my wall is 100% straight? The first course from my understand is very important. How can I double check that the first course is exactly 3" from the wall and 100 % straight?!

What i was getting at " should i always test this after a set number of rows" is should I remeasure after the 3rd row and make sure it is 7.5 away from the wall (first row ends at 3", 2nd at 5.25" and 3rd at 7.5)?

Can you please explain a "balanced" string line?!

I hope i clarified my concerns
 
  #4  
Old 11-19-03, 12:05 AM
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There's more than one way to approach this but the most common is as follows:

1. Measure room at corners across the strip direction (strips must run across joists). If difference is greater than say 1", this would mean when you place the last strip it would be tapered 1" and this would be very noticeable. So to minimize this effect, you need to balance it by snapping a chalk line at say 10 feet + 1/2" at the long end, and 10 feet even at the short end. This way you will only end up with 1/2" of taper across the length of your room which will be less noticeable. If the room is more than an inch or so out of parallel you may have to do something different. The chalk line should be placed a convenient distance from the starting wall, say 2 feet or so. If the wall is bowed, you have to make sure you maintain your expansion gap at all points along the wall. This may put you too far out to overlap the strip with shoe molding. Then you would have to remove the base to increase the distance available for the expansion gap, replacing the base above the floor.

2. Now find the longest, straightest pieces of strip for the starting course. You may have to hunt through your entire stock to find good pieces. If you can''t fing good pieces, you could start out 3 or so courses from the wall like you mentioned with a temporary plywood strip backing screwed or nailed to the subfloor so the strips can be forced straight.

3. Decide where the first course will be with respect to the chalk line and to maintain your expansion gap. This is the course closest to the starting wall. The starting wall should also be the most visible part of the room since it will be a full strip. Measure the distance from the chalkline. This is the distance that your first course will be from the chalkline.

4. Face nail the first course(tongue out) at the same distance from the chalkline (measure with tape) as determined above. You may be able to hide the face nail under molding depending how close you can nail to the wall. Make sure the boards do not move as you nail and double check distances from the chalkline as you go. Also blind nail the tongue. Blind nail the next courses until you can use your flooring nailer. Offset ends at least 3" from row to row.

If you have tile borders or fireplaces etc. this can complicate matters as you may have to take these into account when determining your baseline to avoid wedged pieces.

Also check nofma.org to see if your underlayment meets requirements and the nailing schedule.


To answer your other q's - you don't care if the wall is straight since you are not using it as reference, only the ends of the wall. f course if the wall is seriously bowed this can create problems with the appearance or expansion gap. Measure the room width at several points to determine this.

You shouldn't need to retest the distance from chalk line if the first course is dead on.
 

Last edited by AlexH; 11-19-03 at 12:17 AM.
  #5  
Old 11-19-03, 05:28 AM
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ALEXH thanks for that great response.

Just one thing in concern to #1. My room looks like the image below. See how I dont have a square room to measure diagonals. Is there any other way to approach this situation. Whats bothering me the most is if the starting wall is bowed. I dont think it is, but I really want the floor to look straight!

EDIT: after reviewing this msg the picture below doesnt look correct. Ive imported it into a microsoft doc and place it in a dir. please view <link removed>
_______________________
| This wall is the startin |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| ______________ D
| |
|_BD___|


D=main door to room
BD=bathroom door
 

Last edited by caster; 11-21-03 at 06:31 PM.
  #6  
Old 11-19-03, 10:24 AM
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In reality every install is different - it's almost never textbook.

First of all, you might want to start on the opposite wall. This is because it is probably the focal point, meaning the part you see when you enter the room. So it, along with the strips at the bathroom should probably be done first so it has the best appearance (ie. no skinny ripped strips).

What I would do, and you need to think this through yourself, is measure the room out of square to the left of the bathroom door, like it's a smaller room on it's own. Create a balanced start line based on this about a foot or 2 from that wall but run the line all the way to wall where the other door is.

I'm assuming that there will be a reducer at the bathroom to tile or lino. Even if the edge of tile or lino is not straight with respect to the ref line it does not matter since the reducer will overlap the tile or lino and can be tilted slightly with respect to the edge of tile. In fact, I would probably start this install at the bathroom to insure I had a full strip next to the reducer. Otherwise it will look really funny if you end up will a sliver of strip. Then you will probably need to rip all the pieces along the short wall which may be somewhat difficult if you don't have a table saw. Also rack out the pieces up to the short wall to see if you end having to rip a very skinny piece which is difficult. Then what is done sometimes is some of the pieces in front of the bathroom reducer could be ripped slightly (and then a slip tongue put in) to "pull in" the strips as you get nearer the short wall. But still use the ref line based on the short wall for all pieces.

Remember that all we are trying to do here is reducing the size of any tapers as much as possible for the best appearance. At the same time we have to take into account fixed elements like tile, fireplaces etc. It can be a balancing act.

So to summarize (and please think this through because I could be confused) -

1. Make ref line as above.
2. Place reducer on tile using ref line and adjusting placement to avoid really skinny strip at short wall if possible (hopefully this is clear as it would save you a lot of trouble).
3. Place strips from reducer, moving into rest of room. Unfortunately you will probably have rips on both sides of the room unless you plan the placement of the reducer strip very carefully as above, then you would only have rips on the far side.


One thing I just thought of is that because the reducer is fairly short, you may not be able to avoid some error magnification with respect to the ref line when you reach the main part of the room which would be a disaster(ie. trying to parallel something very short with a long line is error prone). So you may actually want to start at the short wall(left of the BD), but be aware of how your reducer ends up at the tile or lino with full strips. In retrospect this is probably the best approach but I'll leave the post the way it is so you can see the thought process here.
 
 

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