Installing wide board floors

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  #1  
Old 08-16-08, 10:04 AM
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Installing wide board floors

I'm planning to build a custom home in SC, and found this great forum. I have lots of questions. I plan on having random width rustic floors, made of red oak from our property. I'm going to have it sawed, dried, and milled, then face nail it with forged nails. I plan to groove the backside, to minimize cupping, and maybe use glue in addition to nails. It will be over a plywood sub-floor above a basement. One question is that I am thinking about using steel floor joists. I can screw the sub-floor to them, but what about the floor boards? Should I first screw a 2X flat to the joist, then sub-floor, then flooring? I also don't know if I should T&G the planking or not. I don't mind minor cupping and gaps- that's part of the charm, but I want a fairly even and solid floor. I grew up in a 200 y/o house with floors like this, so I know it can be done- just looking for pointers. Thanks!
Jay
 
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  #2  
Old 08-17-08, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
... I plan on having random width rustic floors, made of red oak from our property... One question is that I am thinking about using steel floor joists. I can screw the sub-floor to them, but what about the floor boards? Should I first screw a 2X flat to the joist, then sub-floor, then flooring? I also don't know if I should T&G the planking or not. I don't mind minor cupping and gaps- that's part of the charm, but I want a fairly even and solid floor. I grew up in a 200 y/o house with floors like this, so I know it can be done- just looking for pointers. Thanks!
Jay
Jay,

I would definetly Tung and Groove the flooring (Leading Edges, not the but ends). That way you can staple the flooring down as you lay it, THEN go back and Face Nail with the antique nails. I would also suggest that you have the mill you are going to use, put the expansion/contraction grooves into the bottom of the flooring. As far as using Construction Adhesive under the boards... That is the way that I always did my wide plank/random width floors. Having installed many Carlisle Floors, I followed their directions (for the most part) when installing their antique grade Flooring. Never had any problems years later, so the technique works well (Using PL-200 or PL-400 OSI Construction Adhesive under the flooring prior to stapling or face nailing the floor).

If you install a 3/4" sub-floor (I would use ADVANTECH sub flooring) and then 3/4" flooring that gives you about 1-1/4"depth to nail the flooring with your antique nails without penetrating through the bottom of the sub-floor. This 1-1/4" allows you to set the nails below the face of the flooring as well. Just go with 1-1/4 nails. On the Butt ends, depending on the width, you will want to at a minimum install 2 nails 3/4" from the butt end and 1/4" in from the outside edge. The wider boards you will want to run 3 nails on the butt ends in this same manner - just center the third nail.

Make sure you take all the precautions prior to bringing in the flooring (measure the moisture content of the sub-floor, measure the Relative Humidity in the house...take necessary action (if needed)! Don't bring the plank flooring into the house until ALL wet work is complete! Wet work is all painting, (except touch up and perhaps the baseboard trim), tile work complete (including grouting), and if you are installing A/C - make sure that it is up and running to normal capacity!!! You want the house to acclimated to a normal living enviroment (Relative Humidity/Temperature) BEFORE you start to think about acclimating the flooring to the house!! The plank flooring, when brought in, needs to be stickered (small 1/4"x3" strips set between each stack of flooring), this allows for air to get under each stack and acclimate the flooring properly.

One more thing - make sure you use a reputable mill! You do not want the flooring to be dried out TOO quickly! That is what causes the checks and cracking!

After the flooring is installed 100%, let it be for 10-14 days, then sand it prepping it for finish to be applied. I would use (2) coats of Waterlox Tung Oil Sealer/Finish (tinted with 2 oz of Min Wax Golden Oak Stain per gallon of Tung Oil - On the first coat ONLY). This tinting will bring all of the character out of the antique flooring and will give you the look of a 100 year old floor, patina wise (color)! After the two coats of Waterlox Tung Oil Sealer/finish is applied - follow up with (2) coats of Waterlox Tung Oil Satin. This will also enhance the look you are after. The floor will look like it was hand rubbed with wax - just like they did 100 years ago!

Here are some links for you:

http://www.waterlox.com

http://www.osisealants.com/Products....ction-adhesive

Good luck and feel free to email me directly at [email protected] or simply send me a private message through this forum. I am retired now, due to a work related injury and get great satisfaction out of helping someone like you that is installing a quality antique grade flooring. I have been on many product advisory commitees, well - "I have been there and done that".

Greg
Retired Hardwood Floor installer/refinisher
Maine
 
  #3  
Old 08-17-08, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for the detailed response! That's a lot of good information. So you're saying I should just nail to the subfloor, and not worry about the joists? Then I don't have to worry about what the joists are made of, or which way they run. A few other questions- what's the widest planking I should try to install? Will I have to drill for the nails, or should I? I know most hardwood floors are sanded after laying them, but won't that affect the nail heads? I doubt I can actually set them below grade in oak. I plan to use Tremont nails for the face nailing- I have a sampler ordered so I can decide which particular nail I like.
 
  #4  
Old 08-18-08, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
Thanks for the detailed response! That's a lot of good information. So you're saying I should just nail to the subfloor, and not worry about the joists? Then I don't have to worry about what the joists are made of, or which way they run. A few other questions- what's the widest planking I should try to install? Will I have to drill for the nails, or should I? I know most hardwood floors are sanded after laying them, but won't that affect the nail heads? I doubt I can actually set them below grade in oak. I plan to use Tremont nails for the face nailing- I have a sampler ordered so I can decide which particular nail I like.
You have quite a task in front of you, depending on how many sq ft you are installing...

**Check with various mills for your milling project, and ask to see samples of their finished product as well as references to people who installed similiar oak floors that the mill had milled up for.

Let me answer your questions:
1) - You want to install the flooring PERPENDICULAR to the direction the floor joists are running (NOT with them in the same direction). With steel floor joists you will have limited movement, but in a new house everything moves, no matter what!
2) - Like I said in my previous post - Have the flooring tung and grooved at the mill, use a pneumatic flooring stapler, staple the floor down spacing the staples 4-6" from the butt ends and then every 6-8" along the board. This holds the floor in place.
3) - It sounds as though you are going to use "DECORATIVE" nails. These nails do NOT get set BELOW the surface, they just get hammered even with the board face. WITH THIS IN MIND...

1-install the floor with the above method, then

2- Then snap your lines for your Face Nails. I usually snap lines every 24". But for the BUTT ends use my previous post for butt end nail spacing. Using scrap pieces of flooring (one piece cut to 3/4" length for each different width board). Lay out you nailing pattern on these blocks *these will be your templates to make marking the flooring faster and CONSISTENT!

3 - PreDrill at your marks you made on the floor, Use a drill BIT that is one size SMALLER than the nails you are using.

4-sand the floor and get it ready for the first coat, *Vacuum the floor with a soft felt pad head - not a rotorary brush. You can buy a cheap hardwood floor vacuum made by Bissle that you can keep for cleaning the floor for years to come. **Make sure you get all the dust out of the Pre-Drilled holes!! You may have to use a nail to loosen up the dust in the nail holes! This vacuuming step is EXTREMELY important to a dust free finish application!!!

5- Using Waterlox Tung Oil Sealer mixed with 2oz Minwax Golden Oak per gallon of Sealer (remember you will get about 500-550 sq ft coverage on the first coat) APPLY the first coat (using mixture previously stated),

6- Wait a full 24-36 hours and then apply the SECOND coat of Waterlox Tung Sealer (no stain). **Be carefull NOT to leave puddles along the perimeter of the room(s) - this goes for all coats of Waterlox Tung Oil that you apply!*

7-Wearing SOCKS (NO shoes!), bring a soft OLD towel folded in half for setting your Hammer and Nails on (just a hand full of nails at a time - you do not want to drag a 50# box across the floor!!) - you are now ready to install/hammer in the decorative nails. The fastest way is to PLACE the nail into the predrilled holes - ie... place all nails in the first board all the way down the board... If you are wearing Knee pads make sure that they are not hard plastic type, but rather the soft gel type and are free and clean of ALL DIRT ect! What works better is a Gardening Pad from Walmart! Just keep checking it to make sure that there is NO dirt as you go along. Ok... enough with the analism 101! Now CAREFULLY with good aim, hammer down the nails you placed, but do NOT HIT the board as you go, you have sanded and applied two coats and you do not want to dent the boards all up with the hammer head! These are decorative nails and are to be ONLY nailed just slighlty within the top of the board, in other words - you do not need to make them totally flush, slightly raised (3/16" above the surface).

8- Wearing clean socks, vacuum the floor again, make sure you get the dust throughout the room(s) as well as the dust on the floors! Using a soft towel slighly dampened with Mineral Spirits you now want to do what is called "tacking" the floor. This removes all the FINE dust. Rinse this out frequently if it is gathering allot of dust. Wear a charcoal respirator when doing this. Keep all windows shut tight except for about 2" open at the top. If you have an A/C, run it FIRST BEFORE vacuuming, then let the dust settle and then vacuum.

9- Using Waterlox Satin Finish you are now ready to apply the 3rd coat! Stir the Satin can thouroghly (lifting the satin agents from the bottom - these will be clumps of a white substance... you want to stir and stir some more, until all of the satin agents are mixed and clumps are GONE. Turn the A/C back on. You can ROLL this coat on (as with ALL other previous coats with a 3/8 nap roller). **Cut in the outside edges with a 4" china bristle brush or a 4" foam brush. You may need smaller brushes to get in tight in other areas. Push finish into corners or tight areas, then lightly feather it back out into the field.

10 - Let the third coat dry for 24-36 hours. MAKE sure it is FULLY dry! If there is dust specs in the finish, a LIGHT sanding (by hand with 220 grit paper) then vacuum and tack the entire floor with a clean/soft/slightly damemed with mineral spirits when done. Let the mineral spirits disapate (dry off) then roll on the FINAL coat of Satin Waterlox! *Remember to stir the can(s) as I stated before, this is SO IMPORTANT!!!!! Turn the A/C back on AFTER the final coat is applied. You do not want the finish to "Flash Dry" on this final coat.


11- You can walk on this after 36 hours (Clean socks only)... You can work on the floor after 72 hours, carefully installing the baseboard. You may want to place pink rosin paper down in traffic areas or areas you will be working in, but DO NOT TAPE THE ROSIN PAPER DOWN! NOT EVEN WITH BLUE PAINTERS TAPE!! If you do, you WILL have a nightmare on your hands, as the glue on the tape WILL react with the finish.

12- No rugs should be installed for 30 days after the FINAL coat was applied. You want the finish to have 30 days to "Off-Gas" fully. Furniture can be moved in (place felt tap in pads under ALL chair legs as well as table legs ect..

13- Maintenance is simply done by vacuuming and then with a hardwood floor cleaning kit (see link below for an EXAMPLE of one).

http://www.bonakemi.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=63

14- Scratches can be touched up simply without sanding, just wipe area clean with a water dampened soft cloth and re-coat with properly stirred Waterlox Satin. Feather out all edges, dont leave puddles!!

Wow, just wrote a book... I hope other read this and that it will help, especially with the level of detail. Perhaps I should publish a book or something!!

Oh - in regards to the width of boards? On random width boards (you are using Red Oak which is a very hard wood and will be hard to install tightly up against each other. you can get it tight by using a wedge method *Screw down a scrap piece of hardwood flooring (about 3" wide x 3' long) about 2-3" away from the board that you are having difficulty in getting tight to the previous row. Then using a 4" board taper cut down to 1" (will look like a wedge) drive the wedge down against the screwed down scrap flooing and the board that you need to get tight. Then staple the board into place in several areas to hold it in place. It may not hold completely tight, but you said you don't mind gaps and such! SO I WOULD GO WITH A 4", 7", 10" RANDOM WIDTH BOARDS. THE WIDER THE BOARD, THE HARDER IT WILL BE TO INSTALL. ALSO THE LONGER THE BOARD, THE MORE LIKELY IT IS TO BE BOWED. Prior to starting your installation, you may want to "cull" (pick out and set aside) any boards that are damaged, twisted or bowed. You can use them for closets, or eventually when you get to the outside or inconspicuous areas, cut the boards down to smaller usuable boards.

Good luck and let me know how you make out.

Greg -Retired Hardwood Flooring Installer/Refinisher
Maine
 
  #5  
Old 08-18-08, 01:27 PM
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Greg- Thanks again for the added info! I'll have to print this all out to remember it. I've done some floor work, and a lot of furniture finishing, so I understand the principles involved. It sounds as though the face nails are mostly going to be decorative, which is fine by me. The house is 1200 sq ft, and I plan to do wood floors on most of it. I'm undecided about the bathrooms. I don't want the floor too perfect, as we'll have dogs and maybe grandchildren running through, and this will be a 'semi-farm', so I can't get too worked up about scratches. I've always laid floors perpendicular to the joists- I thought that was for nailing purposes. I have to make a 90 degree direction change from my living room to my dining room, but the dividing line between the two is on angle. I was thinking about cutting my flooring along the angle, lay a single diagonal board, then start the new direction.
 
  #6  
Old 08-19-08, 07:51 AM
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Placing a "flush threshold" (the board you are going to use to separate the dining room and living room) is just the way I would do it. Use a scrap piece of flooring to find the angle you need to butt into this board, and then start your flooring off of this board. ie - do not start at the opposite end, but rather start with your angle cut into the "flush threshold" and then head towards the opposite end.

Good luck, sounds like you will have it under control, but if not shoot me a private message or email me at [email protected]

Greg
Newcastle, Maine
 
  #7  
Old 09-03-08, 08:36 AM
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Wide plank flooring installation

Hey Greg:

Sounds like you have it under control, and you've gotten lots of tips and advice. I was just looking at the site for Kellogg Hardwoods, up in Connecticut, and they are a good shop for wide plank floors. They have a few pointers on installation -- maybe there will be something there that will help you out. The page is here: wide plank floors installation.

Good luck with the job!

Han
 
  #8  
Old 09-03-08, 01:58 PM
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Too funny- Kellogg Hardwoods is in Bethel CT, the town I was born in! They had some good additional info- thanks!
 
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