installing new hardwood floors over plank subfloor


Old 09-12-13, 06:50 AM
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installing new hardwood floors over plank subfloor

Hello all,

First off, thanks to everyone who reads and offers advice, greatly appreciated.

My father and I are doing some DIY renovations on my new home and I have some questions with new hardwood install.

2 of the rooms have hardwood already installed (master bedroom and ancillary common area), We have ripped up the old carpet/vinyl floors from the rest of the first floor to find a plywood underlayment. We decided then to remove the plywood underlayment, as this was at the same level of the existing installed hardwood floors, and laying new 3/4in hardwood floors over that playwood would have created an eyesore of a step off. So we removed the plywood underlayment to reveal the original subfloor, which is 5 1/2 in wide plank. I then realized that the plank subfloor runs in the same direction that i planned on running the new hardwood floors. I did some research and read on other forums that is not desired. But i looked closer at the current hardwood floors, and they were installed directly over the plank subfloor, in a parallel fashion, with just a felt paper between. These floors look fine and seem to be even with no cracking or waving.

Joists are 16" OC

So my main question is, if the previous owner installed the hardwood parallel to the plank subfloor (possibly 60+ years ago), and it seems to have turned out fine, can i do the same?

Another thought would be to lay 1/4 in plywood or luan subfloor on top the planking, and the hardwood over that. there would be a slight leveling issue, but i think with a t molding and some minor adjusting it would be a non issue. I would like to not go any thicker than 1/4in so there is not a significant step off.

attached are pictures of the subfloor planks and the current hardwood that is installed directly ontop of the planks, parallel.

thanks again for reading, sorry for the lengthy post.

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Old 09-12-13, 09:59 AM
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If the existing planks are tongue and groove then I don't see a problem with your install. Take the opportunity to tighten up all the planks with the addition of some 2" to 21/2"exterior deck screws (do not use other types of screws) to help eliminate squeaks down the road. Use 15# felt paper between the layers to help deaden sounds. Do not add 1/4" ply or luan to the planks, minimum 1/2" ply if you add any. The 1/4" is too thin and will adversely effect the holding power of the cleats or staples used for the hardwood.
Old 09-12-13, 06:20 PM
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thanks for the advice. I am fairly confident in running them parallel, since it was already done before with the current hardwood floors.

good call on the deck screws. do i need to be concerned about getting to close to the current nails? it looks like there are 3 nails in each plank on each joist. would adding further decking screws be too much and possibly weaken the wood? would pilot holes be necessary?

would there be any significant benefit to sanding the subfloor planks to try to even them out as much as possible?

thanks again!
Old 09-13-13, 03:36 AM
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How uneven is the sub floor? any waves in the sub floor are apt to produce waves in the new flooring if it's laid in the same direction. I wouldn't bother with pilot holes unless the screw splits the wood.

btw - welcome to the forums James!
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