Where to start laying solid hardwood. Sketch Attached


Old 07-13-08, 10:01 PM
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Where to start laying solid hardwood. Sketch Attached

I'd like to hear some input from those more experienced than me (everyone at this point) about the best place to start my hardwood floor installation. (Sketch Attached)

Basic Background: I will be installing American Beech in 3-1/4 inch planks (Bellawood from LL), just about 250sqft over 3/4 inch OSB. I just finished sistering up all the floor joists below the install area because of excessive bounce and have almost completely eliminated it.

Problem: Not sure where to start the installation, I was planning to start from the wall/corner marked "A" and work my way out and left towards the garage and basement stair doors (B), using a spline to do the small set back area. I then noticed that the stair bull nose (right under the door to the basement) has grooves in it. My concern is that to start from A and end up at the stair bull nose would require cutting off the tongue of the last plank where it meets the bull nose.

The other option is to start at the stair bull nose (B) and get the T&G connection and then work my way out and right, using a spline to reverse direction to get the set back area where the vent is located (A). My concern here is nailing the boards in the larger room after I reversed direction. I doubt I could nail very many boards because of the wall and would have to nail down quite a few. I would rather have the nails under the door at the top of the basement stairs than a few rows of nailed boards in the other room.

Am I missing another possibly easier option? or am I on the right track? I would appreciate any and all input regarding any aspect of this hardwood install. I will post photos once I'm done.

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Old 07-14-08, 04:22 PM
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First off, you need to determine if walls or ending "areas" are running parallel to each other. Snapping chalk lines and then using basic geometry will tell you the answer to that. ie if you start at the FRONT DOOR area, you need to know if the flooring will be running parallel to the tiled area at the junction of the kitchen. If it is, that is where I would start. Starting at the front door and then continue on right through the closet, up to the carpet and tiled area. Then use a "reversing" strip to finish off the run going in the "other" direction towards the Garage Door (ending with a New Threshold to the Garage, if needed).

The area where there is already a bullnose at the top of the stairs to the basement - you start the butt ends tight up against that bullnose (either cut a groove in the floor butt end with a router and appropriate slot cutter) (router bit). If you do not have a router, you can simply counter sink (2) evenly spaced holes (3/8") and then secure the butt ends into place with 1-1/2" screws, then plug the counter sunk holes with bungs *(should be available at local lumber yard, or a cabinet maker's shop, or you could buy a plug cutter and cut your own with a drill press).

**Do not put the flooring tight up against the tile, use "T" molding at that juncture, leaving 5/8" gap at the tile. Secure the "T" molding to the subfloor with predrilling and nailing or use a finish nailer, carefully! At the carpet, you can buy a metal threshold to make that transition. I assume that you are removing all of your baseboard and you will "undercut" all door jams, that will allow you the best job possible, and will ensure that you can leave 1/2" - 5/8" around the ENTIRE perimeter.

Hope this helps and does not further confuse you. So much easier to explain something like this on the site, but your drawing gave me the info I needed to give you my Professional Opinion.

Greg in Maine
Retired - Hardwood Floor Company Owner
Old 07-14-08, 04:28 PM
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I'd start at the front door and work east and west; that way you know you'll at least start off parallel with the front entrance (assuming that is most visible place on entering).
Old 07-14-08, 08:52 PM
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Guys - thanks for the comments. I never thought about starting from the front door and reversing the strip on both sides. Though not ideal, (more face nailed in the east room) it lets me make sure the two most important transitions are parallel.

I was only planning on undercutting the door frames, but I think I'm going to either undercut the whole trim pereimeter or remove and reinstall the trim. I can't get enough expansion room by leaving the trim up and using a 1/2 in quarter round.

Do you guys prefer either staples or cleats? From what I've read, I'm leaning towards staples for Beech over OSB.
Old 07-16-08, 12:12 PM
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Staples or Cleats over OSB...

OSB... hmmmmm I never installed any of customers floors *(nailed down that is) over OSB. It is just not a subfloor that holds up when nailing down a floor. You will end up with squeaks, flooring movement will be increased. OSB is SAWDUST compacted and GLUED together. The newer version of OSB is Adventech and is far superior to even Plywood. It is sealed and does not split or disenegrate when you nail into it, unlike OSB. Plywood (laminated) will obsorb a tremendous amount of moisture and will de-laminate over time. With the width of the flooring that you are installing, I suggest applying a "squiggly" line of PL-250 underlayment cement (comes in small and large caulking tubes. Do one floor board, nail it down (staples is my preference).

You can quicken the process if lay out the flooring (cut to fit) in front of you for about 6-8 rows. That keeps the process moving and you will not lose much time at all.

You mentioned undercutting the baseboard and then using quarter round molding... no need to undercut the base board if you are using quarter round molding! Don't waste your time!! Just undercut all the door jams, that is going to be time consuming enough!

Retired Floor installer/finisher (Owner / Operator)

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