Redwood subfloor - suitable to finish?


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Old 12-26-10, 05:58 PM
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Redwood subfloor - suitable to finish?

I'm thinking about sanding/finishing a never finished, previously carpeted, 50 year old, redwood subfloor made of 2"x6" T&G planks supported by 4x10 beams 5' on center. Has anyone done this? Would you? Or, would you install plywood on top of the redwood and install new flooring above plywood?

Structurally, the floor is in good shape. Some of the gaps between boards are tight, some are 1/4" wide - I'm considering resin as a filler. Any suggestion on filling the gaps?
 
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Old 12-27-10, 06:04 AM
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You probably won't find a prettier floor if done right. I built a log home back in the 80's and the flooring was 2x8 T&G railroad box car flooring (salvage). It was heart pine! After installation, I had to over drill the bolt holes left from the attachment points and glue in dowels flush with the floor. Once finished, I had the greatest looking floor.
Your problem may be the cracks. If you can successfully epoxy or otherwise fill them, you may be on to something. You will need to apply a good finish, as the redwood may not be as traffic friendly as oak.
 
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Old 12-27-10, 10:28 AM
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Thanks for your response.

How would you handle the nail heads? Since this was never intended to be the finished surface I have to deal with 2 nail heads at the end of each board, nails are 4" long. Should I just hammer them down as far as they will go?
 
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Old 12-27-10, 10:31 AM
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How big are the nail heads?
The nail heads pretty much need to be countersunk before refinishing. Depending on the size of the head - wood filler or colored putty for small nail heads, dowels cut off and sanded for larger heads
 
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Old 12-27-10, 11:45 AM
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Nail heads are 3/8" The only idea I have - assuming the nails go straight down into the beam below - is to counter sink them by using a 3/4" hole saw, drill around the nail head into the wood 1/4", remove wood from under the nail head, hammer nail down, cut walnut plug from 3/4" dowel, glue in place, sand plug down to floor surface.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 12-27-10, 12:09 PM
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Ouch, that sounds like an awful way to proceed

Can't just put a 3/8" punch on them and hammer them countersunk?
 
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Old 12-27-10, 02:56 PM
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I agree. My idea would be a bad way to proceed. Didn't have any other ideas. It is labor intensive, possible loss of structural integrity and, it might not work as many nails are at an angle, some too close to the ends or too close together.

I'll try the 3/8" punch. Are you suggesting gluing 3/8 plugs above the nail heads if they "sink" into the wood?
 
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Old 12-27-10, 03:14 PM
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As Mark said, putty for small holes, plugs for large ones

3/8" is large in my mind but others might disagree
 
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Old 12-27-10, 03:25 PM
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Ya, I'd go with a 3/8" plug and use wood filler [or putty] if need be around the edge of the plug. A stainable wood filler would be applied after the plug has been sanded smooth, prior to the final sanding before stain/poly. Colored putty is best used after the stain [if used] and 1st coat of poly.
 
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Old 12-28-10, 06:39 AM
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Depending on how rustic you want it to be, you can go without the plugs. Countersink them so they won't catch on your socks. Go to an auto parts store and get some Derusto. It is a spray or liquid that, when applied to iron, will cause the metal to turn black. This basically makes the nail heads to look andonized. Then, once your finish is applied, you will have an accent on each board. They won't rust anymore, since you removed the air by your finish. Trying to hide them may be a pure task.
 
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Old 12-28-10, 01:08 PM
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I've noticed a lot of flex in the T&G redwood planks because of the beam span (5') I also have gaps between the planks that will need to be filled. I thought pouring resin into the space might work but it will probably pop when weight is applied to the floor. Is their a product (caulking?) that is flexible and will retain a finish?
 
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Old 12-28-10, 01:14 PM
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Can you put blocking underneath to reduce the flexing?
 
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Old 12-28-10, 08:57 PM
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Can not install blocking or additional beams under floor because the T&G floor is also the T&G ceiling of a bedroom below. All of the rooms in my house are open beam with T&G ceilings.
 
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Old 12-29-10, 07:07 AM
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Understand. I had my log home built that way, but had no flex to speak of. Maybe you could install sub beams at 90 degrees to the existing beams, and stain them the same way as the existing beams for cross support.
 
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Old 12-29-10, 10:06 PM
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I can't install anything below the floor - the budget doesn't allow it. I'm considering using "backer rod" in the wide gaps between boards and filling with paintable/stainable caulking.

Caulking won't take the place of a proper floor support but, if it looks good when finished, I'll live with flex in parts of the floor. Folks at GE said they have a few products that should work, some with 25% flexibility, some with 200% flexibility.

The caulking products I'm considering:

Liquid nails subfloor $3.17.
Loctite PL polyurethane for windows doors siding made by Henkel $5.00.
Poly seamseal made by Henkel $4.00.
OSI window door siding Quad made by Henkel. Has colors: brown, black 5.50.
GE Max3500 price TBD

Has anyone used the above products? If so, will it stick to the wood and flex when necessary?
 
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Old 07-18-11, 03:53 PM
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Update - floor is almost done - looks great. Re the nailheads - they were set below floor surface with a 3/8" punch, rust removed with Dremel tool, 2 part epoxy filled the nail hole level with the floor. Regarding the gaps between the T&G boards - after experimenting on scrap wood with 7-8 caulking products the filler I used was PC7. Product is slightly flexible and dries very hard. It is also very expensive but, nothing else would work. This redwood floor was never meant to be exposed - only time will tell if it will hold up to foot traffic
 
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Old 07-18-11, 05:10 PM
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