Install hardwood floor with penny spacing/Air

Old 07-13-08, 01:53 PM
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Install hardwood floor with penny spacing/Air

I hear stories that hardwood floor expands and contracts due to dry/hot and cold/moist air. The old contractor that I knew said he used a penny as a spacing for installing strip plank hardwood floor. (This is for my small study room.) Can someone help me to explain this? Is this right? And, what if I am using engineering Brizilian Cherry Wood 3/4 inch thick? Any suggestions and remmendation to books or dvds.
Old 07-14-08, 03:38 PM
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Measuring the moisture content of your subfloor and the moisture content of your flooring (you do not want a difference of more than 3%)... To do this you need to have a moisture meter. Then if you allow the flooring to acclimate to the Relative Humidity in the room and the moisture content in the subfloor, and you remove the baseboard, or install 1/4 round molding (allowing you to leave a 1/2" - 5/8" gap around the ENTIRE perimeter)... and if you are using true engineered flooring... you will not have a problem with Expansion and Contraction.

The old school trick of using a penny to maintain gaps between boards, goes back to installing wide plank boards in the days of pine board subfloors with wet basements...etc. I do not recommend it at all!!!

If you also dehumidify in the Summer and Humidify in the Winter (keeping your Relative humidity at around 40-50% you will protect your investment. Go to a local electronic store (Radio shack or the like) and buy a $10-$20 instrument called a hygrometer and you will be able to MONITOR the Relative Humidity (RH). Keep in mind that you can not change the relative humidity without changing the temperature, so buy an instrument that also tells you the temperature.

Greg in Maine
Retired - Hardwood Floor Company Owner
Old 07-14-08, 05:19 PM
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Read and follow manufacturer's instructions in order not to void warranty. Most manufacturers have installation instructions on their websites. There should also be instructions in each box of flooring.

Each manufacturer of engineered wood flooring tends to have its own specific instructions re: subfloor prep, acclimation, and installation. Engineered wood offers greater dimensional stability than solid hardwood flooring. Thus, expansion and contraction is not as great.

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