Questions about hardwood install

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  #1  
Old 02-11-09, 02:19 PM
jhh
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Questions about hardwood install

Hi,
I live about a mile from the ocean in southern GA where it is humid. I have a ranch with raised floor that's about three to four feet from ground to bottom of the joists. I've installed quit a bit of new tile in this house, but not hardwood. There is currently old parquet installed in the foyer, hallway and dining room. I'd like to replace that and possibly a large adjoining living room, although I might just put new carpet in there. My brother and wife live close by and have thin strip oak that is cupping in a number of locations. It doesn't look too bad, but it's noticeable. So, of course; I worry about moisture affecting whatever floor I choose. There were very little thin plastic strips under the house when I moved in. It didn't cover much down there and was not taped together. I've since put more plastic down, but not taped together, not running up the walls and not taped around he support pillars. From what I'm reading here, I need to do a much better job getting a moisture barrier set up. I'm using clear plastic. I see some manufacturers say you need black pastic. What's the advantage between black and clear? Do I need to skip continuation of the clear and go buy black plastic ?
I had read a number of times that engineered hardwood was less susceptible to moisture issues than non. So, I've decided to go with engineered. Here's where I'm stuck...
I also started considering one of the locking products like Bruce lock&fold or Mannington lockngo. Question is; would a locking product be even less susceptible to shinkage and expansion since the whole floor is floating as a unit?
I have some misgivings about the locking floors as I know from experience (tiling) that I have subfloor flatness issues. I ran a six foot level over the parquet and there's some pretty
big bumps presumably over beams and/or joists. So, of course floating floors particularly need to be incredibly flat or noticable bounce and then squeeks will occur. I can maybe handle getting it really flat, but the prospect of doing that doesn't excite me. Experiences with locking?
If locking floor or nailed floor, would I necessarily need to remove all that glue that's holding down the parquet? I also know what a nightmare it can be to try to remove that kind of glue. As long as humps of glue are scraped down reasonably flat, shouldn't I be able to nail a new subfloor or float a locking floor over that without having to get it all off ? I'm also guessing that I could float a locking floor over the parquet if the height isn't an issue?
One other question about Bruce's locking floors vs Mannington and another I looked at. The Bruce is very thin. I think they're about 3/8" vs 1/2" for the others. Would I be better off with the thicker product in case there are some issues with flatness? I was thinking the thicker ones might flex less due to their additional thickness.
Finally, any recommendations on a particular moisture meter for both the subfloor (3/4 t&g) and hardwood that is not too expensive? Anybody know if HD rents them?
Sorry I'm so many questions at once. But, that's where I'm at right now.
Thanks for any help you can offer.
-- Jeff
 
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Old 02-11-09, 07:56 PM
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You'll first need to fix your crawl space properly. Use black 20 mil poly, overlap and tape the seams. discontinue using the clear.

I'm all for the engineered flooring. It is a more stable product by far. I'm a fan of Mannington's flooring, not so much of Bruce's. JMO but they haven't put out a quality product in a decade. If you are going to go with a floating install you will want that floor flat. Flex will weaken the click system and cause squeaks and gaps. The difference in expansion is the floating install will expand/contract as one unit = no gapping within planks. The staple down install will expand/contract as individual boards. You'll have gaps in the winter and they will disappear in the sping/ summer. I personally like the feel of an attached floor vs. the floating. Just personal opinion.

A ligno mini is about $100. It is simple to use and read and you can easily ebay when you're done.
 
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Old 02-12-09, 02:15 AM
jhh
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Thanks Arkon,
Is that meter the kind that has to penetrate the wood with pins? Just wondering about how to measure the hardwood using those types of meters.
just curious; are you a pro or avid DIY?
I just want to run the plastic question by again before I go out and buy the black stuff. Can anyone explain to me what the significant difference is?
 
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Old 02-12-09, 07:24 PM
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It is a pin meter. The pins are about 3/8", maybe a bit smaller. The ligno's are made to press in all the way with the pins running across the grain. You'll want to test the wood floor and the subfloor. These two numbers should be within 4 points of each other with an engineered product usually. Let it acclimate until it gets to this point. It doesn't mater how many days it takes. You should also compare the crawl space joists to your subfloor number. If there is a big difference here you know your crawl space has a lot of humidity that needs to disperse. Make sure you have your vents open.

I am in the wood floor trade.

I couldn't tell you why black over clear. Maybe it blocks light to prohibit plant growth? I've never asked. Maybe the perm ratings are different from the black to the clear.
 
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Old 02-13-09, 02:35 AM
jhh
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Hi Arkon,
I read some reveiws on that meter and it seems pretty good. I understand it puts little pin prick holes in the wood. So, I'm assuming that I'd test the hardwood on the backside, correct?
I also have a separate thread open for a question about what brand of pressure sensitive tape to use, if you have any clues about that. I'm looking for something I can pick up at HD or Lowes if possible.
Thanks again for your help.
-- Jeff
 
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Old 02-13-09, 03:10 AM
jhh
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Found this tape that I see a lot for vapor barriers:
STEGO | 278ST1003 | 4"X180' STEGO TAPE
stego tape $42.30 per 4" x 180' roll. As I suspected; this stuff is expensive. Worth it? Any similar product that I can just buy at Home Depot ?
 
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Old 02-16-09, 09:33 AM
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Although I have receive readings the same both ways when I got my first moisture meter and really didn't know how to use it, the proper way to stick the wood with a pin type moisture meter is not across the grain, but down the grain. So the metter goes in in continueing vessels/cells.
 
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Old 02-17-09, 02:04 AM
jhh
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It's hard to imagine that it matters whether you stick pins in with or against the grain as it's measuring moisture, but could be. Question I have though is whether I can put the pins on the back side of the hardwood so as not to make marks on the finished side?
 
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