Questions about fastening, cleat length, subfloor construction..

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Old 02-01-13, 10:41 AM
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Questions about fastening, cleat length, subfloor construction..

A bit of background:

I am installing 3/4" x 5" maple over roughly 900 SF of the first floor of my 1950s home. The joist/subfloor construction consists of 2x10 joists @ 16" centers topped by 1x8 planks running perpendicular (not diagonal) to the joists. About 350 SF of the area is topped with 15# felt and 3/4" x 2-1/4" oak running parallel to the planks. The other 550 SF is covered by 15# felt, 5/8" plywood (whether it's T&G or not is unknown at this point), and either carpet or sheet linoleum (with 1/4" luan atop the 5/8" ply).

My plan is to remove the existing carpet and sheet linoleum down to the 5/8" plywood. The 3/4" oak will be removed and replaced with 5/8" CDX to match the height in the other areas.

Now for the questions:

It may not be the preferred method, but please confirm that my subfloor construction is sufficient in this situation. If not, disregard the following questions.

When installing the 5/8" plywood over the 1x8 planks, should I fasten the sheets to the joists or the planks? I've read conflicting methods on this forum and elsewhere. Also, would ring shank nails be acceptable in place of screws? What size/length?

When fastening the hardwood planks, should I fasten those to the joists or not? If so, will 2" cleats be sufficient to reach the joists? For those keeping score at home, that's 2-1/8" of material. I understand that the cleats will be nailed through the tongue, thus negating some of that material, but they're still being driven at an angle.

I live in the Chicago area, the temp is well below freezing right now. I assume humidity is fairly low. What are your recommendations to accommodate for those factors. Washer rows? Humidifiers? Wait till Spring?

Thanks in advance for any and all help. The floors are shipping as we speak, so I hope to get started on this project in a couple weeks.
 
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Old 02-01-13, 03:45 PM
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I would not use CDX. Others may not have a problem with it, but I don't like the voids. I prefer BC or a subflooring grade of OSB if you can find it in 5/8"
Your fasteners should be off the joists into the existing planks. I would screw down the planks first, then screw the next layer down. Ring shank nails are good. Screws are better, and how many times do you want to do this?

You will want to use 2" cleats and at 6 to 8" intervals. I purposely avoid joists if I can (but you won't be able to see them) since there are screws in it from your original subflooring. It will be the number of cleats and their angle, not their overall length that will hold them in place.

Unless you are covering a really large basketball court sized floor, I don't think you will benefit by washer rows, but I don't know what your humidity does in the summer. Your interior is heated and cooled, I expect, so having the flooring in the house for at least 72 hours will acclimate it to what it will be forever.

Hope I covered it all. Others will chime in here, so check back with us.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 06:09 AM
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The manufacturer said 5/8" CDX was the minimum, I can certainly step that up to a better grade. Do you recommend I butt the sheets up together or leave a small gap, say 1/8"?

"Ring shank nails are good. Screws are better, and how many times do you want to do this?"

Is that your way of saying "use screws"? I was only looking to save some time, if using ring shank nails will result in a poor installation I will use screws. In either case, I'm probably looking at 1-1/4" fasteners, right?
 
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Old 02-02-13, 06:44 AM
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Yes, I'd leave a gap and go with better than the minimum. I'd say at least 1 1/4" fasteners. Yeah, I was trying to say "use screws". If time were a consequence or if you were a builder trying to get the job done in a hurry and would never see the place again, then the quickest manner would be ring shanked nails. Screws will almost ensure no squeaking floor.
 
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Old 02-05-13, 07:57 PM
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One more question, if someone could please indulge me. My flooring arrived today. I've got a bit of work to do before I actually start laying the hardwood down, so I decided to store it in my basement for the time being. The boxes are stacked 6 high on 2x4s. The basement is mostly unfinished (concrete floors/foundation walls are painted), but it is temperature controlled. I just don't have the room for it scattered upstairs unless I want to risk putting almost 2,800+ lbs of material in one room. What are the chances of the hardwood swelling/cupping down there? I have found no evidence of moisture in the basement during the 6 months I've lived here.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 03:55 AM
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If it is conditioned to match the upstairs closely, you should have no problem. However, you will need to allow it to acclimate to the upstairs environment for 72 hours before you install it to be safe.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 07:41 AM
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Subfloor surprise

I'm just about ready to start installing my new maple flooring, but I've found that my subfloor construction is not what I anticipated. The existing 3/4" oak planks (which are being removed) and 5/8" plywood are installed on 3/4" sleepers running parallel to (possibly directly atop, can't confirm until I remove more of the oak) the 2x10 joists. All other conditions I described previously are the same.

My question is this: should I leave the sleepers in place and install the new 5/8" plywood over to match existing, or should I pull up existing 5/8" ply, remove the sleepers throughout, and (re)install the 5/8" ply over the entire area.

I can't think of a reason why it would be necessary to remove the sleepers, and it would definitely add another afternoon of work for me, but I thought it might be helpful to get some other opinions.

If I leave the sleepers in place, what size cleat should I use? I have already purchased a box of 2" cleats, but I'm concerned that those will blow through the 5/8". I've read that could cause them to lose some holding power and increase the possibility of squeaking floors.

Thank you in advance for your help.
 
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Old 03-19-13, 02:00 PM
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I went ahead and started installing the new 5/8" plywood directly on the furring strips, which are resting atop the joists. I'm still unsure about what size cleats to use. As I stated before, I planned to use 2" cleats. It seems to me that they'll blow through the 5/8" plywood and partially penetrate the 1x8 planks. Is that a concern?
 
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Old 03-19-13, 02:23 PM
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You'll want to cleat at 6- 8" intervals whether there are any sleepers or not, and yes 2" cleats will blow past the plywood, but it's normal.
 
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Old 04-01-13, 10:49 AM
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For a number of reasons (the house is at about 25% humidity due to near-constant heating, plenty of other work underway), I have not started laying down my hardwood floor yet. I've recently come up with a couple questions about the new finished floor height that I am hoping someone here can clarify.

1) There is a return air grille located at the base of a wall in every room the new flooring will be installed. I was planning on blanking the bottom 3/4" off with a piece of sheet metal and/or foil tape. Is that the preferred method of dealing with return air grilles in this situation? I haven't been able to find any answers on that.

2) My house is a 1.5 story Cape Cod. The staircase to the second floor is made up of oak stringers/treads/risers. I don't think there is any other structure hidden underneath (I assumed there would be framing & plywood). I had planned to cut the first riser like you would a door jamb and slip the floor underneath, but now that doesn't seem to be an option if it would undermine the structure of the staircase. How would a pro deal with the staircase?

3) The existing risers are 7-1/2". I plan to add 3/4" to both the first and second level, making for a couple potentially unsafe (against code?) steps. The first step would have a 6-3/4" rise and the top step would have an 8-1/4" rise. Would it be acceptable to remove all the treads and add 3/4" plywood to each one to keep the riser heights consistent?

Thanks in advance for any and all help.
 
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